Steven Rubio has a good post up today which, among other things, shares his distaste for "Hair," which at the time of its release was billed as "The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical." He writes:
I objected to the concept behind Hair long before I ever saw it. (Since I haven’t seen it to this day, I guess I still object.) Broadway had no business co-opting rock and roll … how dare they? (There’s a certain irony here … my favorite, Bruce Springsteen, especially in his early days, was as much West Side Story as he was Gary U.S. Bonds.) When my friends went to see the San Francisco production, I stayed home … I probably smoked pot and listened to “underground” radio or something equally revolutionary. In my mind, Hair was Bye Bye Birdie with nudity.
Of course, he's absolutely right...but my experience with Hair was much different. My parents saw the San Francisco production, perhaps even the one he speaks of, and ran to the nearest Tower Records posthaste to pick up the soundtrack. I was 8 years old, and I listened to that record more than any other with the possible exception of The Beatles' "Yesterday and Today," and thought it was the greatest thing since sliced bread. Hey, what did I know? I was 8 years old. I had no idea what the lyrics to "Sodomy" meant, and I can't imagine that my mom and dad were listening too closely, because they never said "no" when I asked if we could listen to the album.
And when the Fifth Dimension's version of "Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In" came out, I was really hooked. I listened to KROY on AM-radio all the time back then, and "Aquarius" was one of three songs I distinctly remember waiting for, for hours on end - the other two being "Green River" by Creedence, and "Honky Tonk Women" by The Stones (see? I wasn't a total loss).
Even now, I enjoy listening to Hair, as a camp classic. But back then, you better believe that I thought it was real.