"Ain't got no class,/ Ain't got no mother,/ Ain't got no father,/ Ain't got no culture." The generation that let down its Hair in 1968 and sang those lyrics gave birth to forms that still shape popular music, literature, film and television. Laugh-In begot Saturday Night Live. Julia paved the way for The Cosby Show. 2001: A Space Odyssey has metamorphosed into Star Wars. Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix spawned Heavy Metal. Big Bird wanders down Sesame Street, still a hippie innocent, a naive, ever hopeful thing with feathers.

Hair alone, on Broadway and through its many "tribes," or traveling companies,...

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