It’s Wednesday, which means it’s time for another weekly installment of my week-by-week history of the music of 1967, music1967.com.
This week, Week 16, finds us in London, where The Beatles are putting the finishing touches on the album they’d been working on since November: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band would be the defining album of 1967, perhaps even of the 1960s, but no one knew that in April, still more than a month before the long-delayed album’s release.
The Beatles were but the biggest of a host of bands vying for the top of the pops, with pop acts like Donovan, The Kinks and Small Faces vying with newcomers like Jimi Hendrix and Jeff Beck for their place on the Top 40.
Then there was a new group, English by birth, but long relegated to a string of failed hit singles in Australia, who were finally going to get their break in the U.K. And this same week, an ambitious young man was about to release yet another flop single this week – his eighth.
But by the next decade, each of these relentlessly failing acts would be two of the biggest artists the world has seen.
One week of music1967.com will appear every week, during the corresponding week of 2020.
Prior weeks have included:
Week Two: January 8-14, focuses on London, where Jimi Hendrix’s first single is rising on the charts and England’s big-name guitarists – Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page and Pete Townshend – are struggling to get a grip on this new force.
Week Four: January 22-28 finds us in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, where a veteran R&B and gospel singer who has struggled to find her place in the charts sits down at a piano and plays “the unknown chord.”
Week Eight: February 19-26 finds us in Nashville, as well as “Nashville West,” aka Bakersfield, California. Here a bumper crop of new artists is rising like summer corn: Merle Haggard, Dolly Parton, Tammy Wynette and others join country stalwarts like Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson.
Week 11: March 12-18 takes us to New York City, where a pair of new bands that have come to dominate the dance (and drug) scenes of their respective towns see the release of their debut albums: The Velvet Underground and Nico and Grateful Dead.
Catch up with a new week in 1967 every week through 2020 at music1967.com.