If you’ve ever heard a hippie show, this is one of them: the sometimes pensive, sometimes ludicrous lyrics, the voice fluctuations, the experimenting with the instruments. The tragic part of the title doesn’t only affect Mama Cass, the jester, or John Denver, the pilot, but also the decades that followed plus their ups-and-downs. So, the image was rather of a grave where there used to be a bell, but somebody snatched it, than of a medieval clown without props.
Accordingly, the Mamas & the Papas, John Denver and the like are invaluable to the progress, as are the absurd Shocking Blue and the alcoholic Doors. The Lemon Twigs and the Shacks are other nice surprises with retro roots, while MGMT and Andy Shauf offer that “comic” relief, as in “comic books”.