Feelin’ Groovy: The Summer of ‘69

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By Stratton Wilson

1969 was a year packed full of history of all varieties, so why not study what made that year so great? Well, that’s the idea of Feelin’ Groovy, Chris Golden’s winterim class. The class touches on the many historical aspects of 1969, such as the Apollo 11 moon landing, popular films, and songs straight from the top 40 during the time.

The class is centered around discussions, with Golden mixing secondary sources with his first-hand accounts from the year. These conversations are focused on connections to the modern-day. For example, in a discussion about songwriters and musicians during the late 60’s, the class began comparing the songwriting process in the 60’s to that of today. The class found some differences but discovered many similarities between the structures of the music business. Music, however, is not the only topic of discussion.  The film “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” according to class member Rhodes Reddick, “shows many similar plot twists or events that you could still see in the movie theater today.”

Golden also uses these connections to teach essential life lessons. He works these into discussions, such as the personal lives of musicians, as in Marvin Gaye, famous not only for his songwriting but also his drug abuse. This conversation shifted from music to life goals, with the main point being: “The two great tragedies in life are getting what you want and not getting what you want.” The way the discussions are guided in the short time the period elapses is a fascinating way to combine history with life skills and lessons.

The reason the conversations in this class are so rich is not only due to the interesting subjects but the interest in the topics that Golden possesses. This is apparent not only in the knowledge he holds but even in the way his room is decorated. His room is full of memorabilia such as vintage vinyl records, such as a 1967 copy of Jimi Hendrix’ “Axis: Bold As Love,” as well as posters of the Rolling Stones, The Beatles, and The Grateful Dead, just to name a few.

History aside, if there is one lesson to learn from this class it is always to have passion. This goes for anything in life, like the musicians who worked their way to the Top 40 hits, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin when they chose to go to the moon, like Paul Newman when he auditioned for “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” and like Golden has for the year 1969.