Spillyear 1967

One of the downsides of living in a tropical country is that, because it’s always summer, it’s never really summer.

To celebrate the summer solstice, let’s head back to the Summer of Love. Although hate-filled wintry tunes and songs of autumnal indifference from 1967 are welcome too.

Obviously an astonishing time for music. Were you there? Are you sure? How on earth are you going to pick a top 3?

Listen to the playlist here

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98 thoughts on “Spillyear 1967

  1. Ridiculously hard to come up with a top 3, or even a top 10, but I couldn’t possibly not have “Waterloo Sunset” or “A Day in the Life”.

    To be slightly less obvious, I’ve gone for “Care of Cell 44” by The Zombies as my third choice – “the sunniest song ever written about the impending release of a prison inmate”. Odessey and Oracle didn’t come out until the following year, but this was a single in November 1967.

    • I can’t do this. I have to go to work, and everyone else can go first. Ground Zero for psych rock. Pre-donding all of Carole’s picks.

      • I don’t have to! I trust you on this one. Someone should grab Fintan and Shiv Sidecar by the hair and drag them over here.

      • I bet whittling loads of great songs down into a small selection is exactly what Fintan feels like doing right now.

      • Good point. Just for starters, i have 3 Stones and 2 Hendrix albums to contemplate. (yep, we were starting to get into albums here, folks,) But unlike Rich, Fintan was there and has the memories though. Or maybe not.

  2. Aw man, I was there, on the west coast, and no, my brain can’t remember it, if ya know what I mean …

    … actually, what I mean is, I was three years old, living in Ulverston, and too young to know or care about what the sounds were that were coming out of the twin-knobbed silver radio on the kitchen windowsill.
    So it’s just a watching brief for me this week.
    Over to all you old folks…!


  3. I was nine for most of the year and I hated Jimi Hendrix but l loved – and still do despite its cliche status:

    Procol Harum – Whiter Shade of Pale

    the other two to follow in a bit…………..

  4. I was 11, 12 at the end of the year. It was the year I left primary school and went to grammar school and made new friends who knew about different kinds of music, but it too aanother year or so before I started to get into all the weird underground stuff. I’d love to list a load of psychedelic masterpieces but, sticking to my self-imposed rules, I am going to pick things that I know I liked at the time, so here goes;

    The MonkeesPleasant Valley Sunday (I could quite easily pick three Monkees songs)
    Scott McKenzieSan Francisco
    The Small FacesItchycoo Park

    It is another one of the truly great years. Unfortunately, it was also the year when my father’s hatred of pop music reached a new level. He seriously hated the whole hippy, flower power thing and it was the year that marked the beginning of the breakdown in my relationship with him, because I just loved the whole counterculture thing. It just spoke to me and I wanted to be part of it.

  5. The first thing that came to mind on reading Barbryn’s ‘Summer of Love’ comment was that I was living in LA, my mother, a retired teacher was 63 that year and was visiting from Norfolk; she was obsessive about ‘The Summer of Love’. So we drove to San Francisco; with Scott McKenzie’s ‘If you’re going to SF’ tape playing endlessly
    and yes, she did have some flowers in her hair and she also smoked her first joint[s].
    We went to Golden Gate Park for the first annual ‘Love In’ and saw the Grateful Dead and the Hell’s Angels there and she smoked another joint.
    There was a great club in Santa Monica called The Cheetah, they had a different headliner band every night, we went several times, I recall The Airplane, Blue Cheer and the rest become a blur but I keep getting images of the Doors and ELP.
    I’ll need to scan the LP’s before i can think about music but I recall that it was all
    I’ll need to scan the LP’s before I can think about music for that year but I recall that it was all good.

    We went to Golden Gate Park and saw the Grateful Dead

    • I seem to remember from the Other One doc that Bob Weir believes 1966 was the real Summer Of Love, ending with the Human Be-in in January ’67. After that, the real ‘heads’ moved out of SF and the weekend hippies moved in. Also, until autumn/fall ’66, LSD was still legal and was Tested rigorously…..

      What’s your view from ground zero, gf – and fintan?

      • Absolutely true. I experienced most of that as ripples being just on the other side of the mountain. The difference in the Bay from 66 to 67 was palpable though. You kind of knew it was already gone when Time put it on the cover spring of 67. Pop culture moved too fast and if the “serious” news was touting it the kids were already on to something else. In this case something darker and the drugs changed with heroin and meth rearing their ugly heads. 66 seemed to be organic.

  6. Let’s see…the Summer of Love. I was still three summers away from making my entrance into the world. My sister was born at the tail end of that year (“The Winter of our Discontent” perhaps? Jus’ kiddin’, Sisty.) on 30 December.

    1.) The Left Banke – Pretty Ballerina – Basically setting the stage for REM, 15 years in advance

    2.) Spencer Davis Group – Gimme Some Lovin’ – Teenaged Steve Winwood was a Soul Man!

    3.) The Rose Garden – Next Plane To London – The band was from a small town in West Virginia. I was in a small town in Alabama. They wanted to take that next plane, and I did too.

    • There haven’t been many female voices so far, so The Rose Garden was a refreshing change. Would like to hear more of her.

  7. Would’ve gone for Velvet’s V I F

    Chambers Brothers – The Time Has Come Today
    Doors – Light My Fire
    Van Morrison – Brown Eyed Girl

    Nothing new to see here. Most of the ’67 icons have been played to death over the last 50 years.

  8. As with 1965 I’ll start with what pops into my head first and then narrow it down.

    Love – Forever Changes
    Procol Harum – Whiter Shade of Pale
    Beatles – A day in The life
    Aretha Franklin – Respect
    Lovin’ Spoonfull – You’re a big boy now
    Arlo Guthrie – Alice’s Restaurant
    Phil Ochs- Pleasures of the harbor
    Moody Blues – Days of Future Passed
    Chambers Bros.- Time has come today
    Van Dyke Parks – Song Cycle
    Nina Simone – High Priestess of Soul

    Still got all those LP’s and they’re still pristine

    OK, then I took a look at Google and was overwhelmed! Unbelievable how much great stuff was released that year, I can’t deal with it, I’ll make my pick from the above.

    1. Love – Forever Changes
    2. Arlo Guthrie – Alice’s Restaurant
    3. Phil Ochs – Pleasures of the harbor

    When I was on the air I always played the entire ‘Alice’s Restaurant’ every Thanksgiving holiday for 7 years, a part of my ritual.
    Did you know that the Spoonfull album was the soundtrack to Francis Ford Coppola’s thesis film at the UCLA film school?

  9. ’65 was probably the start but 67 was probably the year I quit buying or even listening to jazz, I switched over entirely to this sort of music and stayed with it for several years. Given unlimited time and no rules I’d probably post everything that Dylan, the Beatles, CSN and a host of others released that year. That was the year of fm in LA,
    Bob Donahue, a SF DJ came to LA and monopolized the airwaves, he introduced
    every major release! He played Sgt. Pepper constantly for 12 hours. Ditto Dylan.
    It was an absolutely new and different lifestyle. It was ‘Flower Power’.

    • The West Coast must have been an incredible place to live in 1967. I am seriously jealous, even though I would have needed to have been at least seven years older than I was at the time to have really enjoyed myself.

  10. What a fantastic year for music. I can’t lay any claims to fame or coolness as I was eight years old, so I’m going to pick some music that I liked at the time – even then it’s hard to narrow it down, having done a google search.

    The Seekers – Georgy Girl
    Carrie Ann – The Hollies (early crush on Allan Clarke)
    Herman’s Hermits – There’s a kind of Hush

    Very difficult. The Beatles and “Penny Lane’, Fifth Dimension and “Up, Up and Away”, Rolling Stones and “Ruby Tuesday” were close runners. And many, many more.

    • Replying to myself … I loved The Monkees. And my brother had a thing about Bobby Gentry, I can remember “Ode to Billy Joe”, we must have had a TV by then because there was a kind of video with it, probably on Top of the Pops. In fact, the first pop video I remember apart from Nilsson’s “Without You”, which wasn’t until 1971 (really)? Oh my … and The Tremeloes, “Silence is Golden”, the Mamas and the Papas, “This is dedicated …” Stop! Stop!

    • Just listening to “Georgy Girl”. It’s basically the blueprint for Belle and Sebastian, Camera Obscura and all twee-pop stuff I listen to.

  11. Then (8 years old):
    – The Monkees – I’m a believer
    – Manfred Mann – Ha ha said the clown
    – Salvatore Adamo – Le neon (great 7″ from my dad’s collection, played it to death then, still like the song)

    In retrospect:
    – Bobbie Gentry – Ode to Billy Joe
    – The Box Tops – The letter
    – The Velvet Underground – Femme Fatale

  12. This is ridiculously impossible to narrow down. The first to pop into my head is Pink Floyd‘s magnificent Interstellar Overdrive, and I see no reason it shouldn’t stand.

      • Last pop is a sentimental one: The Stones’ Ruby Tuesday. It’s the first song I played in front of any kind of audience, around a campfire near Ambleside.

      • No, bugger sentimentality! Something from The Mothers Of Invention‘s Absolutely Free has to be in here, as it was the first album I bought that I couldn’t let my Dad hear at all. Not just because of the very dodgy Brown Shoes Don’t Make It but also for the irreverent, anarchic music. I’ll go for the opening track, Plastic People, as a prime example.

        “Ladies and gentlemen, the President of the United States”
        “Fellow Americans……”
        “He’s been sacked….and I think his wife is gonna bring us some chicken soup”

  13. I was 13. I remember seeing ‘All You Need in Love’ being recorded in a live broadcast (in black and white) with Mick Jagger sitting on the floor. Stevie Wonder released ‘I was made to Love Her’. I was also able to afford the occasional album at that age, so on the album front, I”ll go for Cream and Disraeli Gears, and ‘Sunshine of Your Love’ to round off my three

    I’m very happy to see ‘Ode to Billy Joe’ in here, given its iconic status In Readers Recommend. There seemed to be a time it was nommed every week, whatever the theme. Given a fourth choice, I’d probably go for ‘Hole in My Shoe’ by Traffic. ‘The Letter’ was also a big song, so donds for that. And for all the Leonard Cohen picks. Oh, it’s all too much – no, wait, I’ll have to wait until 1969 for that!

    • Yeah, I loved that album too, particularly the indescribably beautiful No Face, No Name, and No Number. It was also the year of The Nice’s first album, The Thoughts of Emerlist Davjack, unleashing Keith Emerson upon the world.

      It’s an objective truth, surely, that the 1960’s produced the best and most varied popular music in history. Sorry, younger people….

  14. Well Hello mates. Gf was kind enough to let me know about this thread and a wonderful bunch of songs already up. I turned 18 in January of ’67 and it was the year I graduated from High School. The Beatles were kind enough to deliver Sgt. Peppers as a grad prezzie and I’ve always been thankful for that. I could list 50 songs here easily each attached to a strong memory that stays with me still. But rules are rules so I’ll go with the first 3 came to mind.

    First, The Lovin’ Spoonful and Rain On The Roof. There was girl naturally. Her name was Val and she had an orange swimsuit with bright yellow flowers.

    Second Moby Grape and Omaha. In July they came to Reno for two nights with light show in tow. Our Chief of Police raised a major fuss & tried to shut it down, warning the ruination of our youth to no avail. The morning paper ran a first page story after the first night. Above the fold was a 4 column picture of the event shot from the stage. Dead center in the picture was the Police Chief’s daughter, eyes closed and in full psychedelic swoon. Yes!

    Last – The Youngbloods and Get Together I knew this song from The Jefferson Airplane’s version in 66. This was so crisp and beautiful I didn’t recognize it as the same song at first. A few weeks later I enlisted in the Navy and my life changed immeasurably. When I hear this I can still conjure up those exquisite days. I was irony deficient at the time but now it all seems both inconguous & inevitable at the same time.

    I’m unsure how to add to this boombox thingy but feel free if you like. Cheers

  15. Love – Alone Again Or
    Aretha Franklin – Respect
    Jackie Wilson – (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher


    • I discovered 1967 in late 1982and early 83. I worked out that all the records being referenced by REM, The Bunnymen and others were 1967 or thereabouts: The Velvets, Doors, Buffalo Springfield, Love. My fave Supremes song at the time was Reflections, I had the Riot on Sunset Strip album, my mother had Mamas and the Papas and Aretha Franklin tunes from that year. Itchycoo Park was another favourite. Soul Man and Sweet Soul Music were two of my father’s favourite songs. The Stones produced patchy albums with some greatness and great singles. It was all magical though; it all sounded so fresh.

      A song I’d heard on the radio called My White Bicycle was on my to buy list. Action Woman by the Litter was played in the record exchange shop and I just had to have that as well (Pebbles Vol. One). Both those tunes were 1967 as well. The Monkees were making great pop tunes in 1967 too. Did manufactured pop get any better? It seemed like an amazing year.

      And then the magic wore off. I discovered that a lot of music I liked from 1967 had never been hits in the UK or anywhere for that matter. I played The Doors and Love to my father and it wasn’t the 1967 he remembered. I realised that the bands I was listening to now had probably had little or no airplay in the UK. It was great music but it was my fantasy of 1967 filtered through TV documentaries and books. Plus, some of the other bands of that era that friends were trying to get me into didn’t feel relevant to me or speak to me – not in Thatcher’s Britain. I stopped digging for new nuggets and pebbles and turned towards the new sounds. And although I had friends who seemed to be trapped in the music at the end of the sixties, I found it was only individual songs I liked now and not my idea of the whole sixties scene. But for a while I lived in 1967.


      A Little Bit of Soul, Expressway to Your Heart

      • As a couple of others have noted, that era was significant and exciting because of the multiple music directions being explored simultaneously; definitely not for any overarching movement/sound/scene. While Val Doonican was all the rage and The Black and White Minstrel Show was so popular that it was one of the first shows broadcast in colour [sic, sick] on BBC2 in 1967, Motown was producing delicious pop and LSD was steering talented minds to produce new and original words and sounds. Almost every record released in the emerging ‘progressive rock’ genre opened a door to somewhere different: often just a spare room, but sometimes a multi-roomed palace of wonders. (Sorry, lyrical wax being applied.)

        Pirate radio was where I heard these new things, which forced the Beeb to start Radio 1 in 1967 and allow new artists into the mainstream. John Peel started broadcasting his Perfumed Garden in 1967……. Oh, and you could still go into a record shop and have a listen to records before buying them, thus allowing whole days to be frittered away in a listening booth. And LP’s were finally being recorded in stereo (rather than re-mastered from mono), so you could get inside much easier.

  16. I was a snot nosed 6/7 year old Jersey kid. Not listening to albums, or even buying singles yet, or listening to FM radio either. So whatever i was listening to was on the radio, and friends’ big brothers. Pretty sure that Light My Fire and Somebody to Love were all over the radio, but neither are my faves of theirs’ (respectively). I probably knew about the Viet Nam War, i wouldn’t have know a drug if it got slipped to me. I was certainly watching The Monkees on TV, so my faves of theirs probably aren’t the big radio hits.

    Still can’t get my head around all of this, i’m going to have to wait till tomorrow.

    No one went John Wesley Harding yet? Me either, i wasn’t listening to anything on that till much much later on.

    Stones pick probably going to come from Flowers and not Satanic Majesties.

  17. I was three and too busy being upset at the prospect of being usurped from my throne by a new baby to notice what was playing on the radio. My google-fu tells me I’d most probably have heard

    Simon Smith & his amazing dancing bear – Alan Price
    Morningtown Ride – the Seekers
    Death of a Clown – Dave Davies

    The first two definitely got played every week on the kids’ weekend radio programme (Junior Choice?) throughout my childhood, while Death of a Clown was (much later!) a great favourite among my German friends and I ‘knew’ it when they played it to me.
    I suspect I’d have been serenaded by Engelbert Humperdink and Tom Jones at home (my parents had LPs by both of them, probably for my mum) and that I’d have heard the likes of the Dave Clarke 5 and Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Titch on the radio – it wasn’t San Francisco everywhere…

  18. Feeling as overwhelmed as most of you by the smorgasbord of albums from ’67, I threw up my hands and decided to go with three from Disraeli Gears. But it’s been mentioned.

    If I was a really cool 7 yr old, I’d have been listening to:
    Buffalo Springfield – Bluebird Stephen. Stills. We are not worthy
    Byrds – So You Want To Be A Rock ‘N’ Roll Star. Way more layers of stuff going on than we remember because it was felt to be a bit poppy at the time.
    Bob Dylan – I Am A Lonesome Hobo. Picking one off Harding is even harder than narrowing the year down to three.

    But my parents were apparently grooming me for a career in agriculture because what I remember actually listening to was:
    Baa Baa Black Sheep
    Farmer In The Dell
    Mary Had A Litle Lamb

  19. Okay, I wasn’t even a twinkle in my daddy’s eye at the time, but I love a lot of music from this year, I see a lot of great tracks have been chosen already and so I can miss them out, but I’m divided!
    1) The Doors – Break on Through
    2) Stones – She’s A Rainbow
    3) Pink Floyd – Flaming

    • “She’s A Rainbow” is one of my favourite Stones songs. Though I’m also fond of the World of Twist version:

    • Fair point, tf! But that’s what was so great about that period: the range of music being made, from the sublime to the novelty whistling song wearing a busby and a nice cardigan.

  20. Ok, i’ll just dond everything and then take some of the leftovers. That i’m pretty sure i heard on the radio at the time.

    Young Rascals – Groovin
    Animals – San Franciscan Nights
    Big Brother and the Holding Company – Down on Me

    Stones pick – Sittin on a Fence – which i’m pretty sure wasn’t on the radio at the time.

    • And i could also go We Love You from Satanic Majesties.

      Hendrix picks –

      Are You Experienced
      Manic Depression
      Purple Haze
      Hey Joe
      Little Wing

      Really can’t pick just one.

    • You know I love the Rascals. The little birdies started chirping as I typed my comments above but I’d already picked 3 and stayed with. Nearly every song mentioned here has vivid memories for me donds to all.

      • No one came out for Airplane yet though – Somebody to Love or White Rabbit. So i will, they totally deserve to be on the list. Not that i had the remotest clue as to what White Rabbit was about at the time.

        I was also listening to other stuff from friends’ big bros’ singles – like Kind of a Drag, Lady Jane, I Think We’re Alone Now, Mellow Yellow, Happy Together, etc etc- they get kind of lost in the magnificent shuffle.

  21. I’m not sure who put Strawberry Fields Forever in the playlist but it deserves to be there.

    1967 really was The Beatles’ high-water mark. I can still see myself, ear attached to the radio (to keep ‘that noise’ away from my Dad), as the breadth and maturity of Sgt Pepper was revealed in a preview by (the now disgraced) Chris Denning while we watched the FA Cup Final. (I remember nothing of the match, it being a London derby.)

    • Not for me. I prefer Rubber Soul and Revolver that came before – and the mess of the White Album right afterwards, where it all started to fall apart.

      • I’ll give you Revolver over Sergeant Pepper. But throw in Strawberry Fields, Penny Lane, All You Need Is Love, I Am The Walrus, The Fool on the Hill and Hello, Goodbye…

      • You know what, if you want to make the case for Sgt.Peppers as teh “best” Beatles album, i’m probably going to agree with you. But no song on that album moves me as much as many on some of the others. I like a lot of the songs, they’re brilliant. But not an album i really ever feel like listening to either.

      • Yeah, Rubber Soul and, especially Revolver (apart from Yellow Submarine)are my favourites. Both are better than Sgt Pepper, except for A Day In The Life, which is stunningly good.

      • I sometimes wonder what the album would have been like if they’d been able to stick to the original “memories of growing up in Liverpool” theme. Record company needed a single otherwise Penny lane and Strawberry Fields would have been the starting point for that project.

  22. Looking through the songs mentioned 4 or 5 times I’ve thought to myself well surely that’s 68. And then I remind myself ( as I have often done) I lost 2 months of listening to boot camp at the end of the year. So yeah for me it was 68 when I first heard Disraeli Gears.

  23. Oh and a major dond for Bobbie Gentry. Not only was Ode to a huge hit she was stunning. I saw her as an opener for the Beach Boys in Honolulu and she kinda stole the show with just amazing stage presence.

  24. Obvs wasn’t around, but…

    The Byrds: My Back Pages
    The Four Tops: Walk Away Renee
    Dean Parrish: I’m On My Way (seeing as Jackie Wilson’s Higher and Higher is gone)

  25. One last because I can’t resist. Knowing I was set to go in the Navy ( didn’t know the exact date yet) I spent much of what little money I had going to concerts. I saw Ray Charles at the Wakiki Shell, Harry Belafonte & Miriam Makeba at the International Center, The Beach Boys & Bobbie Gentry at H.I.C. Auditorium & finally The Who & Herman’s Hermits also at H.I.C. The Hermits were the Headliners with the Who opening. You wouldn’t have known from the promotions though. This was well after Monterrey and the Smothers Brothers show appearances. All anyone could talk about was these loons who destroyed their instruments. In the lead-up they promoted the world debut of a new Who tune to be played on the radio a day of two before. I made sure to arrange my not so busy schedule so I would be listening and the tune was I Can See For Miles. Always wondered if that really was the world debut. Wiki says the official release date was 10/14/67 and the concert was mid September so maybe..
    Of course they didn’t play that at the concert, Still they did rip up the stage followed by a fairly large exodus of fans before Peter Noone et al could take the stage. Being the polite guy I am I stuck around but was kind of a let down.

  26. It occurred to me that i forgot to add my tunes. So i cheated a bit from my earlier picks. I changed my Animals pick to Gratefully Dead – this was the b-side to San Franciscan Nights, released only in the UK. But it’s a masterpiece. I also added some Airplane because they needed to be there.

  27. Daydream Believer ~ The Monkees
    Respect ~ Aretha Franklin
    Somethin’ Stupid ~ Frank & Nancy Sinatra
    Second That Emotion ~ Smokey Robinson

  28. Again I’m late to this party, apologies for being off the ball last year…
    I was 10 years old in 1967 and my mum had divorced my dad. Three boys and their mum in a small Sussex village with Radio One/Radio Caroline on all day. Later I would seriously revisit this year and the previous one with my band and play Pet Sounds and Sgt Pepper live as a kind of battle of psychedelic pop. I love how the great songwriters of the day really explored the instruments of the orchestra in this period – harpsichords, trumpets, you name it. Some lovely arrangements in this period.
    My top three ” at the time” – who knows but possibly :
    Ballad Of Bonnie & Clyde – Georgie Fame (number 1 for a while)
    Baby Now That I’ve Found You – The Foundations
    Up Up & Away – Johnny Mann Singers

    and now : impossible of course but with gun to head –

    Good Vibrations – The Beach Boys (they beat the mop tops for best band of the year in NME)
    Penny Lane – The Beatles (perfect)
    When Something Is Wrong With My Baby – Sam & Dave (outstanding soul music)

    but that leaves no room for Autumn Almanac, I Never Loved A Man – Aretha Franklin, Casino Royale, Bernadette, The World We Knew (Frank), I Was Made To Love Her (that flipping bassline!!) and Reflections.

    It can’t be done !!!

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