124 thoughts on “‘Spillyear 1968

  1. Three from me:

    1. The Byrds – Wasn’t Born To Follow
    2. Simon & Garfunkel – America
    3. The Kinks – Days

    Tough competition this year: I’ve left out The Beatles, Dylan and The Zombies, and lots of others.

    • Barbryn: S&G – America. That was OK, I love everything by S&G, but the one song that really hit home came a couple of years later, ‘An American Song’, That was so personal, made me want to leave.

      I don’t know a soul who’s not been battered
      I don’t have a friend who feels at ease
      I don’t know a dream that’s not been shattered
      Or driven to its knees
      Oh, but it’s all right, it’s all right
      For lived so well so long
      Still, when I think of the road
      We’re traveling on
      I wonder what went wrong
      I can’t help it, I wonder what’s gone wrong

    • Think I’ll go for….

      Leonard Cohen – Suzanne
      Tommy James and the Shondells – Mony Mony
      Jimi Hendrix Experience – All Along the Watchtower

      Only one of these would have made my list at the time.

    • I have to agree with you, i love the White Album too, but i don’t have a big special fave on it either. I do remember Jon Dennis saying it was his favorite album. I had never heard anything on it until my parents got me the 2-cassette set for Christmas or a birthday, most likely few years later. I played it non-stop on a family car trip to DC, so i did get to know it inside and out. Harrison’s 2p on that were highlights.

      Having a look at the tracklist, gun to head, i think i’d go for I Will, Long Long Long, Yer Blues, Cry Baby Cry. For today anyway.

  2. 1968 was the year that I was given my first LP. Unfortunately, it wasn’t any of the great albums that were released in 1968, it was the first one of those Top Of The Pops albums on the Pickwick label. My mum gave it to me for my birthday. I don’t think that she ever realised that it wasn’t what I was listening to, so I shall pass on from that swiftly.

    I was still buying singles, but I was getting lots of exposure to the kind of stuff that wasn’t on the radio from my best friend and, more importantly from her older brother and his mates.

    I got to hear Cream, Jimi Hendrix, Blood, Sweat and Tears, Vanilla Fudge, Chicken Shack and many more. I was buying as many singles as I could with my pocket money and there are three that I can remember being really proud of back then. So, my three picks;

    CreamWhite Room
    The Mamas & The PapasDream a Little Dream of Me
    DonovanHurdy Gurdy Man

  3. Oh my, oh my.

    Jimi Hendrix – Voodoo Child (Slight Return)
    Rolling Stones – Beggars Banquet. (Ok, if i have to pick one, Salt of the Earth today.)
    Small Faces – Afterglow of Your Love

    Also-

    Dr. John – I Walk on Guilded Splinters
    Moody Blues – The Actor
    Lemon Pipers – Green Tambourine
    Big Brother and the Holding Company – Piece of My Heart

    plenty of funk and soul too, and folkie stuff too.

  4. Janis Joplin ~ Piece of M Heart
    Tommy James & Shondells ~ Mony Mony
    Steppenwolf ~ Born To Be Wild

    and

    Bobby Vinton ~ Halfway to Paradise
    Sly & Family Stone ~ Everyday People
    B.J. Thomas ~ Hooked On a Feelin’

    • Well, I’d left school at the end of 1967 and I was doing casual work at the library where I’d had my Saturday job. I made children’s books my special thing so I could tell kids that came in (and their parents) about the good stuff. We had a coffee percolator in the staff kitchen which the librarian had bought so we could all have proper coffee – I was aghast when she loaned me out to the library at Hatfield where they made instant coffee with hot milk…In August I went with the Enfield Youth Theatre to the Edinburgh Festival where we put on Henry IV (a conflation of the good bits of Henry IV !&2) in front of not very many people. I played Lady Mortimer, who only speaks Welsh, and I made the costumes. The blokes moaned like anything about having to wear tights. I had borrowed my mother’s sewing machine to take with me in case I needed to do any repairs – I never went home again, and neither did my mother’s machine. I shacked up with the director and started having babies; I haven’t got the man any more but I still have the Singer.

      Oh, and I’ve remembered a gig – while we were in Edinburgh I persuaded my partner to come with me to see the Incredible String Band. He was a fan of classical music and didn’t like anything ‘popular’ at all, and when he saw the array of peculiar instruments the ISB had on stage he scoffed and said he bet they wouldn’t play all those. But of course they did.

  5. very, very difficult choices. Add to Otis Redding –

    Small Faces – Lazy Sunday
    The First Edition – Just Dropped In

    Donds for all Suzanne and a mention for So Long Marianne by L Cohen
    Donds for Piece of My Heart
    Mentions also for Joe Cocker – With a Little Help From My Friends and
    Reperata and the Delrons – Captain of Your Ship

      • Didn’t realise that Carolina in my Mind was 1968. So it was. In that case, and seeing that it’s one of my favourite songs of all time and I haven’t added to the playlist yet (still trying to figure out how to do it) the revised playlist is now

        Otis Redding – Sitting On The Dock Of the Bay
        Small Faces – Lazy Sunday
        James Taylor – Carolina In My Mind

        The First Edition now relegated to Honourable Mentions.

      • Still can’t see how to add to playlist. Final selection is Dock of the Bay, Lazy Sunday, and Carolina On My Mind. I’ll have a look again in the morning to see if it’s possible to add these to the playlist.

  6. In my defence, I was 9.

    Manfred Mann – The Mighty Quinn:
    Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mich and Tich – The Legend of Xanadu
    Don Partridge – Rosie

    I’m battling technology at the moment. Can’t upload to collaborative Youtube lists. Can’t upload .mp3s to WordPress. And my oven door exploded. So if the links in this post are too cumbersome, please delete it and forget I was here.

    • Mercury retrograde can be a bitch. It seems that none of us can add to the youtube list. Haven’t tried to upload MP3’s, wonder if WP has an update? Sometimes when Firefox or WP go wonky, it’s because there was a new version availiable. Sorry about your oven, hope you didn’t get burned.

  7. Drats!! You’ve already nommed all my favourites.

    Donds for Otis Redding, Steppenwolf, Leonard Cohen, The Band, Fairport Convention, The Small Faces (I saw them and The Who live).

  8. 1968 was a year of great, original music. Check out:
    Velvet Underground – Sister Ray
    Nico (and John Cale again) – Evening Of Light

    but there was also The Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter, Wee Tam And The Big Huge, Gris-Gris, Soft Machine, Crown Of Creation, Spirit, etc , etc

    It was also when I found the door to the bus, through:
    Grateful Dead – New Potato Caboose

  9. Oops, I see White Room has already been nommed. I’ll substitute with

    Simon & Garfunkel: Scarborough Fair/Canticle
    The Rolling Stones: Jumpin’ Jack Flash

  10. 1) Los Pop Tops – Oh Lord, Why LordPachelbel’s indestructible canon begins its reign on the pop charts. A beautifully soulful Euro-import.

    2) The Beatles – Dear Prudence One of the Fabs’ simplest songs, almost nursery rhyme like. One of their first songs I fell in love with at a young age.

    3) Roger Sovine – Culman, Alabam Love the Slade-stile spellyng of the title. Stoner hippie country with a surprisingly funky drum break that someone should sample

  11. Hey! I love 1968. Donds to pretty much everything here. Amy’s Salt of the Earth is a gem and Beggars is often my fav Stones album. Aftermath and Let It Bleed vie. So much to choose from…. Hmmm. Ok here goes.

    Crosstown Traffic – Jimi Hendrix

    On The Road Again – Canned Heat

    Hush – Deep Purple

    I could easily name another 12-15 songs but those are stirring me synapses tonight.

  12. So much to choose from! I’m spoiled and dond many of the suggestions already seen. I wasn’t in the world in 1968 so I have to retrospective

    1) The Doors – Five to One
    2) Pink Floyd – Let There Be More Light
    3) Tom Jones – Delilah

    I’m missing out many other worthies though, Arthur Brown, Scott Walker, not to mention early incarnations of Bowie, Bolan and Vashti Bunyan.

  13. This week’s topic has got me thinking about how I was in 1968.I was 13 at the end of the year and therefore officially became a teenager. I can remember the Paris evenements on the telly and all the Vietnam coverage too. I can also remember the Biafran War in Nigeria, where the UK government (and the BBC) supported the Nigerian regime, because of British oil investments and supply, but I can remember there being a big groundswell of public opinion around support for humanitarian aid for the Biafran people.

    I think that one huge personal change for me was the realisation that I was becoming ideologically opposed to pretty much everything that my parents, my father in particular, stood for. I think that it was the Enoch Powell “Rivers Of Blood” speech that was the turning point. It was when I first realised that my father’s racism was something that I simply couldn’t imagine away and that my views were wildly different from his.

    I can remember him declaring that the French government should shoot the students and that would be echoed later, in 1970, when he supported the Kent State University shootings. It seemed to me that he would have implicitly agreed to the state shooting me and my friends if we were ever in a similar position.

    It was a scary period. There was also the assassination of Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King. It seemed that the whole world really was in turmoil and, to quote Stephen Stills, battle lines were being drawn. I think that even aged 12, I knew which side I was on and that knowledge has never left me.

  14. I feel like there are so many more.

    Seems that Crimson and Clover was released in ’68. Beach Boys’ Do It Again. In A Gadda Da Vida. Fintan’s Grazing in the Grass, and Abraham, Martin, and John for the historical stuff. Magic Carpet Ride (dond for Born to Be Wild). Put a Little Love in Your Heart. Stoned Soul Picnic. Doors’ Touch Me. Sam Cooke’s You Send Me.

    And a huge slew of other singles that my friends’ big brothers had too.

    • Amy, it was another of those magical, touched by genius years. I’ve said it before, but I truly believe that the period from the mid-60s to the mid-70s was unique in musical terms.

      • Me too, and Bowie passing just underscored it – not much to take the places of those greats.

        Listening to this playlist wouldn’t really give someone who wasn’t there a real feel for the times though. So many one hit wonders, and you’d have to mix in a lot of Burt Bachrach stuff, and silly singles like Yummy Yummy Yummy and 123 Red Light. Tons of soul too, and white blues.

        • Unsurprisingly, I am really enjoying the playlist, though.New Potato Caboose has just reminded me that it is a long time since I played Anthem Of The Sun. I must dig it out.

      • I’m ancient so the mid-60s was really my time. I could have nommed hundreds of songs for 1968. For example, I don’t think anyone has mentioned Dusty Springfield but I’m fairly sure that Son of a Preacher Man came out that year and it was tremendous. It was a wonderful time to be young. i’d discovered the joys of underage drinking and men and to my stupid teenage mind there was no better way to spend a Saturday afternoon than sitting in a pub, music blaring, and flirting shamelessly to get my drinks bought for me. Memories. Great..

    • The unsung master of 1968 may well have been Laura Nyro . She wrote and recorded Stoned Soul Picnic, but the 5th Dimension cover was way bigger (They had another Nyro hit the next year, Wedding Bell Blues). And she wrote and recorded And When I Die, but the Blood, Sweat And Tears cover was way bigger.

      And so her career went. Here is Bette Midler inducting her posthumously into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2012: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9sYxjBQ8tw

      ??How do you code for a youtube link??

  15. It’s strange, 1968 was 10 years before I drew my first breath on the Earth, yet 1967 and 1968 are absolutely fixed as my very favourite two years for popular music. An element of this is likely to be the phenomena of being nostalgic for a period before you were born (this has been discussed in relation to music in psychological terms and labelled as a
    “cascading reminiscence bump.”

    But away from that, I genuinely think that that period was the single most exciting time in the development of pop music – never before or since has music developed so quickly and freely, it was almost like the reins of commercial considerations were taken off for a brief period so that creativity was the absolute dominant force, rather than the forces of the market place. It of course couldn’t last – 1968 in some ways feels like the darker counterpoint for the virulently optimistic and upbeat outlook of 1967, as the utopian idealism of that year bumped sharply into the hard cold reality of the deeply troubled outside world. Given my natural disposition towards darker music, 1968 therefore is cemented as my absolutely favourite year for pop music.

    How on earth then do you pick 3 favourite tracks? Looking at the many suggestions already put forward, I could merrily pick 90% of them as all time favourites and my picks would vary day by day, hour by hour. But right now at this very moment I would have to go for:

    The Beatles – Helter Skelter
    The white album remains my favourite Beatles album, beating Revolver by a whisker, just for the sheer eclecticism on display, which at first seems daring and thrilling, though on later consideration it is of course highly reflective of the deep schisms opening up between the band. I remember being on a family holiday in Ireland when I was about 9 or 10 with a tape of the White Album in my Walkman (or probably an Aiwa tape player if memory really serves!) and listening intently to it on an almost endless loop, finding more and more layers on each listen and building my own mythology around it all – Helter Skelter though was terrifying, a huge surging wall of noise, for a 10 year old it was both disturbing and thrilling, and of course, it undoubtedly informed so much in the development of “hard rock” – anyone who thinks Paul was a softy needs to hear this and then shut up. It is still an incredibly exciting record. Would also say “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”, “Long Long Long” , “Julia” and “Happiness is a Warm Gun” are also up there.

    Jacques Brel – Vesoul
    A bit of a break from the Anglo-American-Centric view on this great year, but I am torn heavily between the great Brel himself or one of the fantastic Scott Walker interpretations from this year (I’d go for Next from Scott 2), but Brel’s J’arrive album is simply magnificent and this very Gallic song is thrilling – the most exciting accordion (or is it a Bandoneon) playing ever committed to record and Brel’s lyrical loquaciousness in full swing.

    Leonard Cohen – The Stranger Song
    A low key effort but one of Cohen’s finest, a poetic melding of card playing analogies and biblical imagery overlayed with his trademark finger picking.

    The above just feels like a tiny selection of what was really going on though – so much amazing soul, funk, jazz, psychedelic rock, you are so spoiled for choice – I’d struggle to come up with 3 tracks I loved from 2015, but I literally could list 1000 from 1968….

    • great choices, I like all of those too. I miss those days of listening to albums over and over, might try to recreate it instead of butterflying around like a tend to these days.

      • I’ve noticed this about my listening habits, I so rarely do a full album start to finish any more – part of that is about the slightly chaotic family life but also about the way music is consumed – the last time I sat down, with the headphones and listened to an album from start to finish with nothing to distract me was when Nick Cave’s “Push the Sky Away” came out – that is pretty poor! I have to drive a lot so tend to try and listen to full albums or full pieces of music in the car, but I’m aware that I am not really giving it my undivided attention then….

      • Funnily enough, I was telling someone over Christmas that the most important reason why I prefer albums to streaming services and random play on an mp3 player is that I am forced to listen to something exactly as the artist(s) intended, rather than as aural wallpaper. It is all about the dynamics of the flow of the music.

        It is why I have always hated those classical radio stations that play excerpts from longer works, “bleeding chunks ripped from the body” as they were once described. I think that you get a much better experience hearing a song in context rather than in a random juxtaposition with something utterly incongruous.

        • I agree, but I enjoy the variety of shuffle when stuck in queues in the car because of the surprise element. Having said that I just listened to 2 Opeth albums in order and they really took me to a different place, so I must remember to do this more often.

          • I asked for all the Led Zeppelin reissues (the remasters with all the outtakes and rough mixes) from various people for Christmas and my birthday, which was a couple of days before and I’ve now worked my way through all of them in order. It has been an exhilarating experience. I don’t think that I’ve ever listened to all their albums back-to-back before.

    • Oh man, just looking at that collaborative playlist, every single track is a winner, if that was a compilation CD I would buy it!

      Apologies by the way, proper Beatles Helter Skelter not available so have had to add a Macca live version. Real Beatles seems hard to get on YouTube.

    • Donds for all those but especially for Len, I love the words and the imagery, especially –

      Let’s meet tomorrow if you choose
      upon the shore, beneath the bridge
      that they are building on some endless river

  16. I added Soul Limbo (added before the letter, btw), Cloud Nine, and Sly. Then I saw oldie had beaten me to Sly so I added Scott Walker. It was hard to leave out Marvin Gaye, James Brown, The Rolling Stones, The Supremes, Aretha, Sly, nuggety gems, The Impressions… There was a cool 1968 album released this year:

    1968 featuring Rasheed Ali. His journey back to 1968 to rediscover soul music and the revolutionary fires burning that year.

  17. I may as well dond just about everything, a great year for music. As for me, not quite so great, or rather, a bit of a mixture. Notable though for my first visit to Liverpool, staring wide-eyed at buses that actually had ‘Penny Lane’ on their destination signs, and seeing ‘the shelter in the middle of the roundabout’ and the barber’s shop mentioned in the song. Didn’t think i’d end up living within an hour’s drive of the city. The Penny Lane bus depot is no more, the shelter is in a state of delapidation, but I think the barber shop’s still there!

  18. Axing the blues may have hit it’s pinnacle in ’68: BB King’s Lucille, Electric Flag (Bloomfield), Beck’s Bolero, Ten Years After’s I’m Going Home….It came at you from the south in America, from Chicago and from the UK blues. I’ve selected three for you – even though it means leaving Townes Van Zandt’s debut (and several of his best songs) – because I’m nice like that.

    And I’m not going to be a dick and say “here’s 3 you don’t know and should” like the music press likes to do these days 🙂

    Jimi Hendrix – Little Wing Every wannabe blues axeman since has to get past this one first.

    Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac – Cold Black Night Not as showy as others, but Peter had the best soul for it – and the best blues songwriter of his generation!

    Buddy Guy – One Room Country Shack Stevie Ray Vaughn et al before there was a Stevie Ray Vaughn et al, here he leads and inspires an all-star blues quartet. (That’s Otis Spann, the Oscar Peterson of blues piano, you hear) without shout outs, swearing or trying to look tough.

  19. Donds to just about everything above, and I’ll add:
    Status Quo – Ice In The Sun
    Hollies – Jennifer Eccles
    Julie Driscoll & the Trinity – Wheel’s On Fire
    (which I didn’t learn to love until I was all grown up, when it became one of my favourites)

    The one song I can honestly remember hearing in 1968 is Chatanooga Choo Choo, which was used for a TV advert (for toffee bars?). I can remember the song coming on the radio and my 4 year-old self saying ‘That advert must be really famous’, which got me a good telling off for being stupid. In retrospect I’m puzzled by this memory, as we didn’t have a telly until I was much older, so either I’d been watching at a friend’s house or my dad had rented a set for the Olympics…

  20. So many great songs, what a creative period. Doesn’t it make you wonder what changed, what went wrong. Is it just me or do ‘they’ just not write ’em like that anymore?

    • People aren’t as angry anymore, not in general anyway. But its important to remember that rock and roll was still being invented ‘back then’. You had these ingredients being thrown into a cauldron and who knew what would come out. There was a huge energy to that and an excitement of discovery that’s been lost. Record stores are closed and the internet is open.

      • Tinny: I think your second point is right on. It was the birth of a new music and there were hundreds/thousands of young blokes with an idea and a guitar and the result was amazing. One thing that impresses me is the geographical element, so many from little old England and ditto the west coast, not a whole lot in between.

  21. Donds to lots of these, especially Hendrix and Cream. One track comes instantly to mind as quintessentially 1968: Peter Brötzmann Octet, Machine Gun. Still one of the most radical bursts of focused noise you’re likely to encounter.

  22. Lots of great singles including these

    Tin Soldier – Small Faces
    Fire Brigade – The Move
    Breaking Down the Walls of Heartache – The Bandwagon

    plus Soul Man – Sam and Dave

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