Let Your Freak Flag Unfurl

David Crosby referred to long hair as being a freak flag in his song, ‘Almost Cut My Hair’.  A freak flag is worn by a person who exhibits unrestrained, unorthodox or unconventional in thinking, behavior, manners, or who espouses radical, nonconformist or dissenting views and opinions that are outside the mainstream.  The expression freak flag comes from the days of the hippies way back in the late 1960s, when men wore their hair long.  The hippies sometimes humorously referred to themselves as freaks, because they saw themselves as very different from mainstream culture.  They had long hair and wore unusual clothing and they enjoyed acting wild.

We are all weird in our own special ways and in the late 60’s and early 70’s, I was a hippie and I was not ashamed of my long hair, even though my Dad did not like it much.  A freak flag is something that would set you apart from others and this could be done with long hair or wearing bell bottom jeans or wearing love beads.  You did not have to do five hits of acid and climb up a flag pole naked to let your freak flag unfurl.

One song that always made me think about hippies was Signs by Five Man Electrical Band.

And the sign said “Long-haired freaky people need not apply”
So I tucked my hair up under my hat and I went in to ask him why
He said “You look like a fine upstanding young man, I think you’ll do”
So I took off my hat, I said “Imagine that. Huh! Me workin’ for you!”
Whoa-oh-oh

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign
Blockin’ out the scenery, breakin’ my mind
Do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the sign?

And the sign said anybody caught trespassin’ would be shot on sight
So I jumped on the fence and-a yelled at the house
“Hey! What gives you the right?”
“To put up a fence to keep me out or to keep mother nature in”
“If God was here he’d tell you to your face, man, you’re some kinda sinner”

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign
Blockin’ out the scenery, breakin’ my mind
Do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the sign?

Now, hey you, mister, can’t you read?
You’ve got to have a shirt and tie to get a seat
You can’t even watch, no you can’t eat
You ain’t supposed to be here
The sign said you got to have a membership card to get inside
Ugh!

And the sign said, “Everybody welcome.
Come in, kneel down and pray”
But when they passed around the plate at the end of it all
I didn’t have a penny to pay
So I got me a pen and a paper and I made up my own little sign
I said, “Thank you, Lord, for thinkin’ ’bout me.  I’m alive and doin’ fine”
Wooo!

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign
Blockin’ out the scenery, breakin’ my mind
Do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the sign?
Sign, sign, everywhere a sign
Sign
Sign, sign

6 thoughts on “Let Your Freak Flag Unfurl

  1. After I graduated from college I was in the army reserve. After returning from basic training, I became a “weekend warrior,” spending one weekend a month on active duty. This was in the early 70s and I grew my hair quite long. But in order to complete my once-monthly active duty stint, I bought a short men’s wig and would stuff my long hair beneath the wig and report for duty. Thus, I can relate to the lyric that reads, “So I tucked my hair up under my hat….”

    Liked by 1 person

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