Song Of The Day 5/29/2013: The Youngbloods - "Hippie From Olema"

Answer Songs Week: I was inspired by yesterday's SOTD -- they're just so inspirational, you know? -- to fill out a week full of songs that were written in response to other songs, or to the behavior and/or statements of famous musicians. That seem fair? Fantastic. The Youngbloods were the band fronted by Jesse Colin Young, and their biggest -- well, only -- hit was "Get Together" (which was lovingly covered by Nirvana, ha ha). Their 1971 song "Hippie From Olema" was an earnest response to country star Merle Haggard's "Okie From Muskogee," a bit of Nashville journalism that took umbrage at the long hair, drug use, authority challenging and sexual pluralism of the "hippies out in San Francisco."

There's a lot of evidence to suggest Haggard didn't mean "Okie" as harshly as it might have sounded, not the least being his later plea for environmental improvement and peace, "Rainbow Stew." Nevertheless, Young just as good-naturedly offered up "Hippie From Olema" as a rejoinder, clearing up some misconceptions about hippies in the process ("We bathe often, therefore we don't smell") and stating that they willingly "take in strangers, even if they're Haggard." Zing! Can't find what Hag's reaction to this song was, but I suspect it was easygoing.

By the way, Olema is in Marin County, California, a little down the road from Point Reyes Station. It is unincorporated. So it's perfect for squatting hippies.

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