Monday, 8 March 2010

The Year of 1969

Being an Obsessive means that I have all my albums neatly catalogued (in an Access database, actually) so that I can pore over them at will. Every so often, I have a trip back through time and look at what I bought in each year of my long and distinguished career as a music buyer and time and again I stop at 1971 which, to me, contains many of my all-time favourite albums.

If I was asked which was my preferred year in rock history I would probably go for 1971 but this is based entirely on personal discovery as 1971 was the year that I discovered ‘album’ music as opposed to singles and was also a time when my disposable income rose sufficiently for the purchase of albums. Not surprising then that this year means a lot to me.

However, from a more objective perspective, I have always marvelled at the year 1969. The end of the sixties was politically and socially a bit of a ‘messy’ time being a transition between the exuberant 60s and the dour 70s. Nevertheless, in musical terms it is a fascinating year reflecting the changes taking place around it. Just have a look at a small sample of the albums that were released that year:-

Captain Beefheart – Trout Mask Replica
Crosby Stills and Nash
Johnny Cash at San Quentin
Beatles – Abbey Road
The Who – Tommy
Rolling Stones – Let it Bleed
Dusty Springfield – Dusty in Memphis
Led Zeppelin & Led Zeppelin 2
The Temptations – Cloud Nine
Isaac Hayes – Hot Buttered Soul
King Crimson – In the Court of the Crimson King
Fairport Convention – Liege and Lief
The Stooges
Pink Floyd – Ummagumma

What a potent mixture this lot is. Some of them are masterclasses from established bands (Beatles, Stones, Who, Dusty), but many are from relative newcomers who point the way for all sorts of genres that would not blossom fully for many years (Led Zeppelin – Heavy Metal. Isaac Hayes, Temptations – Soul. King Crimson, Pink Floyd – Progressive. Stooges - Punk). There is also a massive diversity from the avant-garde (Captain Beefheart) to folk (Fairport Convention) and from bright shiny supergroups (Crosby Stills and Nash) to the dark underbelly of social conscience (Johnny Cash). It is an intriguing cocktail – and one that fizzed enticingly at ‘Woodstock’ and then bubbled over alarmingly at ‘Altamont’ as the decade closed.

All this and man walked on the moon using the processing power of a mobile phone. Amazing!


Charlie said...

I agree. 1969 may be the best year in rock history. The deeper I dig into the more I realize it.

musicobsessive said...

Hi Charlie - you're right. The more you look into this extraordinary year, the more it reveals. It also sits on my '7 year cycle' theory thus:
1955 Rock 'n' Roll
1962 The Beatles beat boom
1969 Portent of things to come (prog, heavy metal etc)
1976 Punk
1983 Electro-pop
And so it must be important!

drewzepmeister said...

I love the majority of the music created in 1969. The funny thing about it is that I was only three years old at the time!

musicobsessive said...

Hi Drew - I was a bit older but still only into the 'singles' market at that time. My album epiphany came a year or so later and I started to backtrack into the sixties.

YourZ said...

As I was only 6 years old, I don't remember too much of the music. But I do remember man walking on the moon - my mother made me a fancy dress costume complete with plastic visor.


musicobsessive said...

YourZ - lol! Any pictures? We were all herded into the school hall to watch it on a small black & white TV - technology eh? Who needs it!