I’ve had this on my mind and in my ears a lot, lately. It got added to a compilation CD, it got added to my mp3 player, it even turned up on a recent Sounds of the Sixties.
This song comes from late 1969. It’s a part of those hazy days when I first started to absorb music: it was in the top 10, although it had peaked and was slipping down, but it was still on the radio. It’s been an integral reminder of that time of early discovery ever since.
It’s also probably one of the most hippy-dippy songs I’ve ever heard. It’s from the musical, Hair which was still very big and controversial business then. It’s a lightweight sound, an open-hearted, overconfident compilation of all the hippy cliches, about natural beauty, about living with the earth instead of against it, of wide-eyed wonder triumphing against anything remotely concrete. Good morning starshine, the Earth says hello. You twinkle above us, we twinkle below.
It’s naive, unrealistic, silly and twee. And that’s the whole point. Because it’s a glorious rush of optimism, straight from a time when we, naively, thought that things were getting better, and that they would continue to do so. It’s more poignant than ever now, because it’s unsullied by doubt, fear or the terror of the bastards who rule us, whose only thought is to divide us, to take advantage, to think me not us.
‘Good morning starshine’ still believes that it’s good and it’s getting better and it’s never going to stop. It can sing ‘glippy gloop glooby, nibby nabby nooby, la la la la low’ without fear of ridicule and believe in it. It’s an uprush, of light and heart and spirit, and for three minutes it doesn’t matter that you have to close your eyes, it has the power of a time machine, it takes you there.
And it reminds you that we made the most colossal of all mistakes by leaving in the first place.
Can you hear me?