Before There Were Hippies, There Were Beatniks

Beatniks were anti-materialistic, soul searching people, open to drugs and a bohemian lifestyle.

Before there were Hippies, there were Beatniks. Beatniks were followers of the Beat Generation – influential poets and authors through the late 1940s to the early ’60s.

Jack Kerouac came up with the “beat generation” concept – the underground, anti-conformist youth gathering in New York that he was a part of. He also related the term to the Biblical beatitudes and the hipster phrase of being “beaten down”. Though at first Beatniks had a prophet-like connotation, the term came to signify a stereotype of people that, as Joyce Johnson (a Beat writer) said: “sold books, sold black turtleneck sweaters and bongos, berets and dark glasses, sold a way of life that seemed like dangerous fun—thus to be either condemned or imitated.”

They were anti-materialistic, soul searching people, open to drugs and a bohemian lifestyle. They hung out in smoky coffeehouses, listened to jazz and blues, were usually proficient in art or poetry, liked to dress in all-black, and had an air of mysteriousness about them. They highly influenced culture of the decades following – Bob Dylan, the Beatles, and Pink Floyd took on Beatnik characteristics and morphed in to free-thinking hippies. Allen Ginsberg led the way for the conversion.

Nico and Andy Warhol
From right to left are: British artist Stuart Sutcliffe, who was an original Beatle in 1960-61, his German fiance, photographer Astrid Kirchherr, and German artist Klaus Voorman, who were Beatle’s friends. This photo was taken in Germany and so the prices are in German Marks. The name Beatles is a play on words using The “Beat” Generation, and Buddy Holly’s “Crickets” as inspiration.

h/t Vintage Everyday