The dominant theme of the year, despite the fresh wind blowing through the Federal Republic of Germany with the election of Social Democrat Willy Brandt as Chancellor, and despite oppressive news from Vietnam and Ireland, is the landing of the Apollo 11 crew on the moon. On earth the longings of the hippies burst in Altamont at the latest, rock as "Way Of Life" has lost its innocence. On the other hand, rock music is just really taking off, the Krauts are springing up, jazzers are discovering rock, King Crimson is the prog that Zeppelin is circling - new visions for the seventies.
In the spring of 1970, a visibly shocked Mick Jagger was sitting in the editing room in front of a small monitor, visibly struggling for words, and finally ejected one sentence: "It was terrible! The occasion was the work on the film "Gimme Shelter", which documents the US tour of the Rolling Stones in November/December 1969. Right in the middle of it was the scene that shook Jagger so much: At the "Altamont Speedway Free Festival", which was supposed to be a kind of counterpart to Woodstock four months earlier at the end of the tour on 6 December in front of around 300,000 fans, a black concert visitor, 18-year-old Meredith Hunter, was stabbed to death in front of the stage by the Hells Angels, who had been used as binders. Two fans died after car accidents (with hit and run), another drowned in an LSD intoxication in a drainage ditch. Suddenly there
was nothing left of the feeling of freedom, of leaving the world of adults, of love and peace, which the Canadian band Steppenwolf had sung about the German singer Joachim Fritz Krauledat alias John Kay in "Born To Be Wild". The piece, first released as a single in 1968 and then on the group's debut LP, belongs to the soundtrack of "Easy Rider". The film was the official contribution of the USA to Cannes in 1969 and - like the events in Altamont - left resigned and disillusioned viewers behind: the protagonists Billy (Dennis Hopper) and Wyatt (Peter Fonda) are killed by philistines out of pure hatred for long-haired drop-outs during a motorcycle tour from New Orleans to Los Angeles. Even though Bob Dylan and The Band are not represented for legal reasons, the music to the film is a document of music history: The Jimi Hendrix Experience, the Byrds, Electric Prunes and Steppenwolf - whose anti-drug song "The Pusher" starts right at the beginning - provide the appropriate background for the story, which begins so optimistically but ends tragically.
Like Altamont! The Stones had welcomed the idea for this "Woodstock West", inspired by Jefferson Airplane and Grateful Dead. Their US tour, which began with a warm-up concert on November 7, the first since 1966, is considered by critics to be "the first mythical rock'n'roll tour in history" (Robert Christgau) and "trend-setting for a whole era" (Dave Marsh), but media representatives and fans simultaneously accused the band of high entrance fees. So the Stones were just right to propose a free festival. That Altamont would, so to speak, provide the requiem for the funeral of all hippie dreams and draw a line under the social utopias and alternative life models of US youth, nobody suspected.