1967: The Year Rock ‘n’ Roll Became Rock

Written by Jay Jay French

To all my readers;

I will be taking the summer off but this last article was truly a labor of love for me. I want to thank Bill & Paul for giving me this outlet to tell stories that I hope you all found entertaining. I will be back in September!

And now…..
With all the hoopla surrounding the 50th anniversary of the release of Sgt. Pepper it wouldn’t surprise me that, if you weren’t alive and a teenager at that time, one would think that its release was the sole reason 1967 was so important.

Yes, Sgt. Pepper is and will remain the 800 lb. gorilla that year, but there were so many incredible releases (many of these releases began the careers of some of the most important artists in rock) that this deserves an overview to crystallize the earth- shattering music of many of our lives.

I also want to add that a couple of other ‘minor’ things happened that year:
1967 was the year that television really went from black & white to color (think Revolver with its black and white cover in 1966 and Sgt. Pepper in brilliant Technicolor in 1967) and we, as a listening audience, made the move from the mono sound of AM radio to the stereo sound of FM radio.

This really was the year that Rock n Roll matured into what is considered the “Rock Era”.

These occurrences do not happen in a vacuum. They seemingly happen together in giant sociologically connected waves that take us, mostly unaware of their actual significance, without really knowing that it all is happening at the same time.

The following mind-blowing list of releases do not need my thumbnail reviews or comments. Those who lived it just need a little prodding to aid in one’s appreciation and to help you all stand back and let the brain cells (that still remain) remind you how freaking lucky we were to actually live (and love) this stuff in ‘Real Time’ (and why our kids hate us!)

Oh yeah….one more very interesting fact about the astonishing changing music business of 1967:

The biggest selling act of the year (both here and the UK ) was not the Beatles. In fact, although Sgt. Pepper held down the number one position in the US for 15 weeks, there was another band who held the number one position for almost all of the remaining (30 out of the remaining 37) weeks-and they did it with not one, not two, not three but a staggering 4 albums at number one for the 1967!

And that band was…the envelope please…

The Monkees!!

Ok… now back to the serious stuff….

I still own all of the following albums. They mattered that much to me!
So now, let us look at what the rock gods gave us, along with Sgt. Pepper that year with actual release dates (or months):

January 4th: The Doors: The Doors (debut album).
January 20th: The Rolling Stones: Between the Buttons. The first of 2 releases in 1967.
February: The Jefferson Airplane: Surrealistic Pillow.
February 6th: The Byrds: Younger Than Yesterday.
March 12th: The Jimi Hendrix Experience: Are You Experienced.
March: The Grateful Dead: The Grateful Dead (debut album).
March 10th: Cat Stevens: Matthew & Son (debut album).
May 11th: Country Joe & the Fish: Electric Music For the Mind & Body ( debut album).
June 2nd: The Beatles: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The first of 2 releases in 1967.
June 6th: Moby Grape: Moby Grape (debut album).
August 5th: The Pink Floyd: Piper At the Gates of Dawn (debut album).
August 28th: Stevie Wonder: I Was Made To Love Her.
September: Procol Harum: Whiter Shade of Pale (debut album).
September: Chuck Berry: Live at Fillmore Auditorium (with The Steve Miller Blues Band).
September 15th: The Kinks: Something Else.
November: Love: Forever Changes.
November 2nd: Cream: Disraeli Gears.
November 18th: The Buffalo Springfield: Buffalo Springfield Again.
November 27th: The Beatles: Magical Mystery Tour. 2nd release this year.
December 8th: The Rolling Stones: Their Satanic Majesties Request. 2nd release this year.
December 8th: Traffic: Dear Mr. Fantasy (debut album).
December 15th: The Who: The Who Sell Out.
December 27th: Bob Dylan: John Wesley Harding.

The Beatles, Stones, Who, Dylan, Cream, Hendrix, Stevie Wonder, The Doors, Pink Floyd, The Dead, The Airplane, Cat Stevens, Traffic…….
The mind boggles…
They came, they stayed, they grew, they became the soundtrack of our lives.
There really is nothing left to say except…Have a great summer!

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