A friend sent us a link to the latest retreading of the influence of occult theory and practice on 60/70’s rock music. No surprises here. The usual suspects are trotted out – The Beatles, Rolling Stone, Led Zeppelin, etc. The usual connections and accusations are made. And is often is the case with these things — the essay starts out with its strongest case the Beatles’s interest in such matters and goes downhill from there. The most notable part of this piece is a fairly even handed bit of biography of Aleister Crowley; it’s not flattering but acknowledges his many strengths and achievements while pointing out his numerous character flaws. If you’ve read books like Gary Lachman’s “Turn Off Your Mind” or Peter Berbegal’s “Season of the Witch” this article will be old news from stem to stern. But if not — while it’s certainly not definitive, doesn’t dig very deep and eventually winds up including the most tenuous of occult references, it’s a reasonable starting point for noting the influence the occult DID have on rock music. It would appear finally that outside of Jimmy Page (and methinks Paul McCartney) that most of the artists profiled were merely paying occultism lip-service at a time when it was ultra-fashionable. I do wish these surveys actually did the research to actually make their case, or disprove it authoritatively. This is light weekend reading.
(P.S. Paul McCartney would be a good subject to pursue and show a substantial connection — he’s still dropping references to “Magic with a ‘k'” when talking to Rolling Stone.)