QUESTION: Music in Madison, WI during the 1960s

question / pregunta: 

I'm a library student at the UW-Madison, and I am trying to find local Madison music from the 1960s. It's for a project where we are trying to use "alternative" sources to recreate what life would have been like for students on campus during that decade, with all the political activity, anti-Vietnam war protests, campus bombings, draft dodging, student socialist groups, etc that was going on at the time. I thought music would be a great "alternative" source relative to traditional library materials, only I can't seem to find any music now! I do not want mainstream music, but rather local (to WI but preferably Madison) musicians, regardless of genre but activist in nature.
Can you please help??


You should check out the underground press collection at the Wisconsin Historical Society. You will find relevant materials in both the library catalog and the archives catalog if you search for the term "underground press" and then limit your results to, say 1960 to 1975. You'll find the links to the catalogs on this page. The periodicals librarian at the Society, James Danky, is very knowledgeable about the underground press and would likely be of great help to you in your project.

You might also see what sort of archive the UW-M student newspaper, The Daily Cardinal has.

Please let us know if this is not the kind of information you were looking for. Thanks!

A freindly source has suggested the item below, which I found is available in the UM-W music library, for a guide to underground 60's rock in Wisconsin. You might cross-reference this with what you find in some of the other sources to determine which bands could be considered activist. Then, armed with some names, you can head to your local used record stores, salvation army and/or other thrift shops, etc., in search of records.

The booklet:
Author: Tourville, Tom W.
Title: "They couldn't tame us" : the Wisconsin 60's rock discography / Tom W. Tourville.
Edition: 1st ed.
Publisher: Fairmont, Minn. : Midwest Publications, c1992.
Description: iii, 96 p. : ill. ; 28 cm.

Location: Music Library Wis. Music Archives-Ask Staff for Assistance
Catalog: UW Madison
Call Number: ML156.4 R6 T68 1992
Copy Number: 1
Status: Not Checked Out

Sorry to not have included this before, but there is another book in the music library at UW-M that might be of interest.

Author: Myers, Gary E.
Title: Do you hear that beat : Wisconsin pop/rock in the 50's and 60's / Gary E. Myers.
Publisher: Downey, CA : Hummingbird, c1994.
Description: 385 p. : ill. ; 26 cm.
Notes: Includes bibliographical references and index.

ISBN: 0964307391 (pbk.)
OCLC: (OCoLC)32070945

Acc. No.: ATA9920UW
Location: Music Library Wis. Music Archives-Ask Staff for Assistance
Catalog: UW Madison
Call Number: ML3534 M98 1994

This is what a record collector friend of mine had to say (to my mind he is a reputable source!):

"Madison doesn't seem to have had much of a music counterculture, which is somewhat surprising because Milwaukee had a very active underground music scene. there's a guy named dick campbell who put out a major label album called "sings where it's at" that's supposed to be dylanesque but i don't know if it's protest music per se - anyway, it sounds like he's from wisconsin, but the record was recorded in chicago so i don't know if he was operating out of chicago or not. he died a few years back.

"there's also a record by a madison wisconsin singer-songwriter named john villemonte called "people like you" but i don't know how activist it is in nature (and it's from 1976, which suggests that it's more introspective than political in nature, as much post-watergate folk material is). that said, he still seems to be around, so he might be a good resource for finding out more information about the late 60's / early 70's scene."

Addendum to the above answer: John Villemonte's website is and his email address is [email protected]

Dick Campbell

Dick Campbell was a Wisconsin native having spent his formative and early music years there. He had several Wisconsin based labels and most of his early songs were written and recorded there. Here is a link to his website with tons of info on him as well as a few other links with info. Hope this helps. - click on "Remembering Gary".

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