In the late 1960s, Blake’s words and ideas permeated the culture broadly and profoundly. Some musicians, such as Jim Morrison of The Doors, were inspired by Blake’s poems and adapted his texts for their lyrics, while others conjured abstract themes in Blake, such as innocence and love, that were associated with the ethos of the counterculture.
“William Blake is a poet and artist who needs to be heard as well as read and seen,” notes Stephen Eisenman, curator of William Blake and the Age of Aquarius. “Blake sang his own Songs of Innocence and Experience and inspired hundreds of later musicians in every genre.”
It is only fitting, then, that to accompany the exhibition the curators of William Blake and the Age of Aquarius compiled a short playlist of poets and rockers who were inspired by Blake including Allen Ginsberg, The Doors, Jimi Hendrix, Patti Smith and Bob Dylan. The songs on the list capture the breadth of Blake’s influence on the music of the 1960s and 1970s. Visitors to the exhibition are invited to scan the code using “Search” in their spotify app and listen to the curator’s playlist on headphones as they walk through the exhibition. The Spotify playlist is also available on mobile phone and desktop so that you can take the sounds of William Blake and the Age of Aquarius with you long after you leave the exhibition.