OK, yes, I’ve been a non-blogger: We’re on our fourth day of 100+ degrees and the attic is toasty. More importantly, I am drawing to a close of an epic project, this week on the writing of the last four weeks of music1967.com.
When it is all finished, this project will be well over 100,000 words, even more than my forthcoming book Japan from Anime to Zen. I’ve never tackled a project this big, or one that has taken this long, or stayed focused for this long – and some weeks, I just don’t have the bandwidth to blog on top of it. Soon.
Today, however, I do have a new week of 1967 to post: Week 22 of 1967 started on Sunday, May 28 and ran to Saturday, June 3. And boy, was it a doozy. It was the week, of course, of the release of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, the album that defined the year and utterly changed how music was perceived.
Some young artists were paying close attention, even as they released new creations themselves: Pink Floyd were about to release their second single, John’s Children was hitting the charts with their new singer, who’d changed his name from Mark Feld to Marc Bolan, and a 20-year-old David Bowie was finally seeing his first album released – the same day as Sgt. Pepper’s.
I also take this chance to address the appearance, on record and for sale, of a new tool that would come to dominate popular music: The Moog synthesizer would be displayed and demonstrated at the upcoming music festival in Monterey, California.
So…dive in. This was a big week! As are they all, really: I’m posting one week of my history of 1967 every week this year, and there are still 30 to go!!! Some of the weeks that have already posted include…
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 Five: January 29-February 4 takes us to Los Angeles, where recording artists from The Beach Boys to Frank Zappa to Frank Sinatra (and Antonio Carlos Jobim) take advantage of the heavyweight skills of the world’s best studio musicians, creating a wide variety of amazing music.
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.
Or jump to Week 17: April 23-29, which takes us to a place few American music fans were thinking about at the time: Jamaica. Just five years independent, the Caribbean nation was a hotbed of new music, influenced by American soul and influencing British mods – and a struggle for survival.
Catch up with a new week in 1967 every week through 2020 at music1967.com.