Protestors carried placards saying “Peace on the Strip.” They weren’t referring to conflict between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, they were protesting a 10 p.m. curfew on teens and the closure of the Pandora’s Box coffee house on the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles. The ’65-’66 Sunset Strip “Curfew” or “Hippie” Riots were the most famous white riots of the sixties. Well, those were certainly simpler times, weren’t they?!
The liner notes to volume 8 of the Pebbles garage rock comp say that:
The Sunset Strip Riots started in 1965 and picked up again the following summer, peaking in November as swarms of teens descended on the main drag to assert thier sceneliness, arousing the ire of local business and, inevitably, the LAPD. Curfews were imposed, kids were rousted without pity, and musical protests were heard around the world, thanks to Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth” and The Standells’ “Riot on Sunset Strip” [see #162]. An unknown named Terry Randall waxed one of the best.
310) Terry Randall — “S.O.S.”
“S.O.S.” was the A-side of his only single (‘66). It was quite cool. Colin Mason says that:
Terry Randall is a bit of a mystery, although this killer protest 45 about the riots on Sunset Strip during November 1966 is a well known tune among garage hipsters. . . . [I]t’s got a swingin’ garage beat that I dig the most and there’s some great ‘cop’ put down lyrics.https://yellowpapersuns.com/2010/05/28/50-terry-randall-s-o-s/
I guess that makes me a garage hipster!
“The Sunset Strip. Red lights . . . . Lots of cars, lots of kicks. Bellbottoms, long hair. Groovy music everywhere. We’ve got as much right to be here as anyone, or we should. Close my ears to the angry voices rambling. . . . Trying hard not to see what I’ve been seeing. They want us to go — we’re not leaving. Don’t they realize, can’t they see, we’re just being what we’ve got a right to be. It’s our constitutional guarantee. Rights we thought we had we find we’re losing. Right to use the same street they’re all using. Crazy, cause they think we dress funny or because we don’t spend enough money. Don’t they realize, can’t they see, we’re just being what we’ve got a right to be. We’ve got a constitutional guarantee. ‘Well, I heard nothing.’ ‘What did we hear?’ ‘Get up against that wall.’ ‘Don’t give me no backtalk.’ ‘Get a haircut.’ ‘Let me see your ID kid.’ ‘Ok, move along.’ ‘It’s curfew time.'”
The following clips have some cool footage of the Sunset Strip and the riots:
This one is apparently narrated by Leonard Nimoy! —
This one is a Guns & Roses production. Well, Axl and company did start out on the Strip (in the ’80s)! —
Here is some drive-by footage of Sunset Boulevard in ’67 — back when “drive-by” simply meant driving by!