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The Magic of Hair: An Interview with James Rado

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Patrick Pacheco and James Rado (Photo by Merle Frimark)

For most of us, once the “Age of Aquarius” began, it never ended. Certainly, it never did once the theatrical phenomenon known as Hair debuted and its message of peace, love, and the show’s unforgettable tunes– “Easy to Be Hard,” “I Got Life,” “Good Morning Starshine,” “Aquarius,” and, of course, the title tune –spread across the world and firmly took root.

One of the men we have to thank for “letting the sunshine in” is James Rado, who, along with co-creator Gerome Ragni, wrote the book and lyrics for the world’s first “hippie” musical.  The late Galt MacDermot composed the music.

Hair — Original album cover (1968)

Earlier this year, the 1968 Broadway cast recording of Hair  was added to the Library of Congress’s National Recording Registry, and Mr. Rado kindly sat down with arts journalist Patrick Pacheco in New York, to talk about the journey and legacy of that wonderful, beautiful musical Hair.

The three creators (l to r): Ragni, MacDermot, and Rado

The interview can be heard at the link below.  Special thanks to Michael Kerker and ASCAP for hosting this recording.

Interview with James Rado




  1. Thank you! I had burning questions about the creation of the music and songs of “Hair”, and the first thing I found on the Internet (I did search for interviews with Rado and Ragni) answered precisely everything I wanted to know! The biggest question was how the lyrics, which I heard were not altered by Galt MacDermott in any way, became such perfect pop songs. I already knew that they didn’t sit together in the same room, that the lyrics were completed and just handed over to Galt. Such a perfect song like the title song, with a historically masterful hook like “Flow it/Show it/Lonnng as I can grow it/My hair” how did that occur with such perfection? And Rado’s explanation here of how he was a songwriter and wrote rhythmically explains it all. Plus the quote of Galt saying how easy it was to put music to the lyrics. I realize now that it was truly a.collaboration because James was writing in pop and rock song rhythm, so he was a true part of the music that emerged. All that was exactly what I wanted to know. Little disappointed that he didn’t pick The Cowsills record as his favorite, but so thrilled that you asked the question! All the right questions. Thank you and bravo!

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