Over fifty years ago, an all-female rock band based out of San Francisco played to "Summer of Love" crowds. The popularity of Ace of Cups grew quickly and, thanks to a good manager, they were soon on the same bill as Steppenwolf, Big Brother and the Holding Company, Country Joe and the Fish, The Band, Jefferson Airplane, and other popular acts at that time.
In fact, the weekend after Monterey Pop Festival, they opened for Jimi Hendrix at a concert in Golden Gate Park.
Despite their early success, the dynamics of the band changed when the women started having children. Never signed to a record label, they simply didn't have the resources to continue playing music together like their brother bands did.
This short documentary by KQED Arts shares their story:
The Ace of Cups didn't set out to be an all-girl band. The group's original five members — Mary Gannon, Marla Hunt, Denise Kaufman, Mary Ellen Simpson and Diane Vitalich — came together guided by the communal spirit that blanketed Summer of Love-era San Francisco. Up to that point, most all-female bands had worn matching outfits and played cover songs. But with original songs that reflected their circumstances, the Ace of Cups played with groups like The Band, Jefferson Airplane, and even Jimi Hendrix, an avowed fan.
Despite their impact in San Francisco, in the intervening years the Ace of Cups were relegated to footnote status, all but written out of history books.
Until now, that is.
Four out of the original five band members, all in their seventies, have come back together to record new and old music together. Their first album will be released by High Moon Records in Spring 2018.