The concept of Generations has always struck me as sort of a fuzzy construction. It serves a purpose, of course, and people usually know what you’re talking about if you mention “Baby Boomers” or “The Greatest Generation”. But take a look at the list below and tell me, if you didn’t see the birthdays, which generation would you identify the following people with?
Timothy Leary October 22, 1920
Jack Kerouac March 12, 1922
Chuck Berry October 18, 1926
James Dean February 8, 1931
Elvis Presley January 8, 1935
John Lennon October 9, 1940
Bob Dylan May 24, 1941
Jerry Garcia August 1, 1942
Annette Funicello October 22, 1942
Jimi Hendrix November 27, 1942
Michael Nesmith December 30, 1942
Pete Townshend May 19, 1945
Henry Winkler October 30, 1945
Jack Kerouac and Timothy Leary are members of the “Greatest Generation”, sometimes called the WWII Generation, and the rest of them aren’t technically baby boomers at all, but members of what is sometime called the “Silent Generation” of in some cases, the “Beat Generation”. Even Pete Townshend, author of “My Generation” missed the “Official” baby boomer first year cutoff of 1946.
When the 50’s “beatniks” evolved into “hippies” in the late 60’s, only the very youngest of them would have been baby boomers. I’d wager the people who were truly hippies were pretty much split down the middle between boomers and beat generation members.
I’ve often said that the 70’s were really the 60’s for most people. The whole “freak” thing almost became the norm. Seemingly everyone listened to FM radio, the Dead were almost mainstream and pot use was open and notorious. Ears almost completely disappeared as visible appendages. Guys who were straight as arrows in high school in the 60’s were now ending most sentences with “man”, owned at least one Indian print bedspread (usually used as a ceiling decoration) and several black light posters.