Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Out Demons Out!


1969: The Beginning of the End of the Beginning of the End of ...

Michael Mooney wrote:

The “official” year in music goes something like this:

Elvis hits his “comeback” stride with the Memphis Sessions, Led Zep I is released, Beatles play on the roof of Apple Records, Tommy is released, John and Yoko conduct their “bed-in”, Brian Jones dies, Woodstock happens, Abbey Road is released, John gives back his MBE, Altamont happens, Sixties end.

I believe the Sixties ended between April 4 and June 6, 1968. By the following year, the music charts were in transition- awash in sickly nostalgia, half-baked social commentary, frustration, wishful thinking and Creedence. What blended seamlessly in 1967 appears factionalized by ’69. Here’s the Billboard Top 40 singles for 1969:

1. Aquarius—Fifth Dimension
2. Sugar, Sugar—Archies
3. I Can't Get Next To You—Temptations
4. Honky Tonk Women—Rolling Stones
5. Build Me Up Buttercup—Foundations
6. Dizzy—Tommy Roe
7. Hot Fun In The Summertime—Sly and The Family Stone
8. I'll Never Fall In Love Again—Tom Jones
9. Everyday People—Sly and The Family Stone
10. Get Together—Youngbloods
11. One—Three Dog Night
12. Crystal Blue Persuasion—Tommy James and The Shondells
13. Hair—Cowsills
14. Too Busy Thinking About My Baby—Marvin Gaye
15. Love Theme From Romeo And Juliet—Henry Mancini and His Orchestra
16. Crimson And Clover—Tommy James and The Shondells
17. Grazin' In The Grass—Friends Of Distinction
18. Suspicious Minds—Elvis Presley
19. Proud Mary—Creedence Clearwater Revival
20. What Does It Take (To Win Your Love)—Jr. Walker and The All Stars
21. It's Your Thing—Isley Brothers
22. Sweet Caroline—Neil Diamond
23. Jean—Oliver
24. Bad Moon Rising—Creedence Clearwater Revival
25. Get Back—The Beatles
26. In The Year 2525—Zager and Evans
27. Spinning Wheel—Blood, Sweat and Tears
28. Baby, I Love You—Andy Kim
29. Going In Circles—Friends Of Distinction
30. Hurt So Bad—Lettermen
31. Green River—Creedence Clearwater Revival
32. My Cherie Amour—Stevie Wonder
33. Easy To Be Hard—Three Dog Night
34. Baby It's You—Smith
35. In The Ghetto—Elvis Presley
36. A Boy Named Sue- Johnny Cash
37. Baby, Baby Don't Cry- Smokey Robinson and The Miracles
38. Only The Strong Survive- Jerry Butler
39. Time Of The Season- Zombies
40. Wedding Bell Blues- Fifth Dimension

Not bad, considering The Man was out to bust our music, but a helluva lot worse than, say, 1966. There is some well crafted Pop (Fifth Dimension, Friends Of Distinction, Tommy James, Lettermen, Zombies), Rock (Stones, Creedence) and Soul- including the initial stirrings of Funk (Isleys, Jerry Butler, Sly, Temps) mixed in with the Bubblegum (Andy Kim, Tommy Roe, Archies) and Pap (Oliver, Zager & Evans.) Still, it didn’t have to be this way. In the world of The Secret Museum, an alternate playlist of top 40 radio, circa 1969, would consist of something like this (listed alphabetically):

Acid Gallery- Dance ‘Round The Maypole
The Association- Goodbye Columbus
David Axelrod- A Little Girl Lost
Kevin Ayers- Girl On A Swing
Edgar Broughton Band- Out Demons Out
Dr. Strangely Strange- Frosty Mornings
Brigitte Bardot- Je Voudrais Perdre La Mémoire
Captain Beefheart- Old Fart At Play
Bubble Puppy- Hot Smoke & Sassafras
Can- Outside My Door
Dave Clark Five- Maze Of Love
Cowsills- Love American Style
Gal Costa- Meu Nom E Gal
Fleetwood Mac- The Green Manalishi
Free- Woman
Free Design- 2002- A Hit Song
Serge Gainsbourg- 69 Année Érotique
Gandalf- Can You Travel In The Dark Alone
Bobbie Gentry- Seasons Come, Seasons Go
Iron Butterfly- Filled with Fear
The Kinks- King Kong
Love- Always See Your Face
MC5- Ramblin’ Rose
Mott The Hoople- Rock & Roll Queen
The Move- Curly
Nazz- Take The Hand
New Colony Six- Come And Give Your Love To Me
Roger Nichols & The Small Circle Of Friends- The Drifter
The Open Mind- Magic Potion
Os Mutantes- Dia 36
Pink Floyd- Daybreak
The Pretty Things- what’s Good For The Goose
Procol Harum- A Salty Dog
Terry Reid- Superlungs My Supergirl
Catherine Ribeiro- La Solitude
The Stooges- 1969
The Troggs- Evil Woman
Turquoise- Mindless Child Of Motherhood
Caetano Veloso- Irene
Wendy and Bonnie- The Paisley Windowpane

Some of these artists were winding down their careers by 1969; some were just getting started. Half didn’t even release any singles that year. All, however, put out fine LPs in 1969 and are worthy of a listen, at the very least to see how they rate against The Archies. Jim and I shall be revealing the Unheard Music of 1969 on Saturday, June 20 at Taosound Tape & CD. If it’s anything like the last couple of weeks, where we learned a thing or two from local Rock Lifers (including the likes of Clement, Greenberg, MacLean, Reid, Romero, Torres and Yaravitz), this week’s session could be a scorcher.
-Michael Mooney

Jim Webb wrote:

Mike -

The splintering of Rock Music into numerous sub-categories was in full force by the end of '69. While folk-rock and acid rock had "flowered" between 1965 and 1967, it was 1969 that gave us the first big hit of jazz-rock via Miles Davis, Blood, Sweat & Tears and the Chicago Transit Authority. Blues-rock was almost over, as evidenced by the deaths of Cream, Blind Faith and John Mayall breaking up his Bluesbreakers (for a jazzier sound). The Band came out from behind Dylan's shadow and brought a resurgence of "back to the earth" style traditional/acoustic music that saw everyone from Crosby Steals the Cash to Bonnie & Delaney promoting the rootsier sound of American music. It seems like the musicians at that time were tired of just playing good old pop or rock music. Experimenting with longer song structures and not even wanting a top forty hit were the new requirements for being a successful band. Disaster was coming for those who enjoyed a good tight, three-minute song with memorable hooks and a great melody. The purity of Rock music as the counterculture’s artistic expression, musicians as the "modern day painters" of the late twentieth century was changing. Moneychangers in the temple like David Geffen had corrupted everything down to simply dollars and cents. If all that weren’t enough, the cold wind of Prog arsery would soon be upon us all.


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