Remembering the Magical Music of 1969 with Videos & Background

19 Aug

TOP SINGLE in 1969

Get Back, The Beatles

“Get Back” is a song primarly written by Paul McCartney and credited to Lennon/McCartney. The song was originally released as a single on 11 April 1969 and credited to “The Beatles with Billy Preston.”[1] It would later become the closing track of The Beatles’ last album to be released before they split, Let It Be (1970). However, it was not placed there in retrospect; Let It Be was recorded before Abbey Road, “Get Back” therefore being recorded in the Let It Be sessions. The single reached number one in the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Australia, France, West Germany, and Mexico, and was The Beatles’ only single that credited another artist (Preston), although Tony Sheridan had shared a billing credit with The Beatles on his own single “My Bonnie” when issued in the UK in 1962 (and again in 1964).

“Get Back” was The Beatles’ first single release in true stereo in the U.S. — in the UK they remained monaural records until the following single release — “The Ballad of John and Yoko.” Wikipedia

The Beatles also released Abbey Road in 1969: Abbey Road became one of the most successful Beatles albums ever. In the UK the album debuted straight at #1. Abbey Road spent its first 11 weeks in the UK charts at #1, and then was knocked off just for 1 week to #2 by the Rolling Stones debuting at the top with Let It Bleed. However, the following week – which was the Christmas week – Abbey Road returned to the top for another 6 weeks, completing 17 weeks at the top. In all it spent 92 weeks inside the UK Top 75, making a big re-entry after over 16 years in October 31, 1987, when it was released for the first time on CD and reached #30. In the UK Abbey Road was the best-selling album of 1969 and the fourth best-selling of the entire 1960s, and the eighth best-selling album of 1970.

Reaction in the U.S. was similar. The album debuted at #178, then moved to #4 and in its third week to #1, spending 11 non-consecutive weeks at the top, but was not the best-selling album during the Christmas week. Abbey Road spent a total of 129 weeks in the Billboard 200, re-entering the charts at #69 on November 14, 1987 when it was released for the first time on CD. It was the 4th best-selling album of 1970 in the US and is now certified 12x platinum by the RIAA. Wikipedia

2nd TOP SINGLE Rolling Stones – Honky Tonk Woman (Live in Hyde Park 1969 with white shoes:-)

Recorded in London in early February 1969 without Brian Jones, the band initially recorded a track called “Country Honk”. Prior to the arrival of new band member Mick Taylor, the song transformed into the familiar electric, riff-based hit single ‘Honky Tonk Women’ sometime in the spring of 1969. [2] Mick Taylor was quoted in Sean Egan’s ‘The Making of Let it Bleed’ that the backing track was already recorded before he added his lead fill overdubs. The track was nearly complete before he even arrived at his first Stones session at the end of May 1969. The song is distinctive among the Stones’ catalogue as it opens, not with a guitar riff, but with a beat played on a cowbell. Wikipedia

3rd TOP SINGLE     Zager And Evans – In The Year 2525

“In the Year 2525 (Exordium and Terminus)” is a hit song from 1969 by the Lincoln, Nebraska duo Zager and Evans which reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 for the six weeks commencing July 12. The song was written by Rick Evans in 1964 and originally released on a small local record label in 1967. Two years later, an Odessa, Texas radio station popularized the disc, which RCA Records quickly picked up for nationwide distribution.

It is not typical for a recording artist to have a number one hit single and then never have another chart single for the rest of their career. “In the Year 2525” gave Zager and Evans this dubious status twice. They were, and remain, the only act to do this in both the U.S. and UK singles charts. Their followup single on RCA-Victor, “Mr. Turnkey” (a song about a rapist who nails his own wrist to the wall as punishment for his crime), failed to chart. Wikipedia

the 4th top single Sugar, Sugar was skipped here

5th TOP SINGLE  Suspicious Minds, Elvis

“Suspicious Minds” is a song originating in the United States in 1956 that thematizes emotional entrapment within a dysfunctional relationship.[1] Most notably performed by Elvis Presley beginning in 1969, “Suspicious Minds” was widely regarded as the single that jump-started Presley’s career after his successful ’68 Comeback Special. It was Elvis’s eighteenth and last number-one single in the United States. Rolling Stone later ranked it #91 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.  Wikipedia

Santana, Soul Sacrifice

Bill Graham, who had been a fan of the band from the start, convinced the promoters of the Woodstock Music and Art Festival to let them appear before their first album was even released. They were one of the surprises of the festival; their set was legendary and, later, the exposure of their eleven-minute instrumental “Soul Sacrifice” in the Woodstock film and soundtrack albums vastly increased Santana’s popularity. Graham also gave the band some key advice to record the Willie Bobo song “Evil Ways”, as he felt it would get them radio airplay. Their first album, simply titled Santana, became a huge hit, reaching number four on the U.S. album charts, and the catchy single “Evil Ways” reached number nine on the Billboard Hot 100. Wikipedia

Joni Mitchell – Both Sides Now

Rolling Stone ranked “Both Sides Now” #170 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

Frank Sinatra, My Way

Paul Anka heard the original 1967 French pop song, Comme d’habitude performed by Claude Francois with music by Jacques Revaux and lyrics by Gilles Thibault, while on holiday in the south of France. He flew to Paris to negotiate the rights to the song. In a 2007 interview, he said: “I thought it was a shitty record, but there was something in it.” He acquired publishing rights at no cost[3] and, two years later, had a dinner in Florida with Frank Sinatra and “a couple of Mob guys” at which Sinatra said he was “quitting the business. I’m sick of it, I’m getting the hell out”.

Back in New York, Anka re-wrote the original French song for Sinatra, subtly altering the melodic structure and changing the lyrics: “At one o’clock in the morning, I sat down at an old IBM electric typewriter and said, ‘If Frank were writing this, what would he say?’ And I started, metaphorically, ‘And now the end is near.’ I read a lot of periodicals, and I noticed everything was ‘my this’ and ‘my that’. We were in the ‘me generation’ and Frank became the guy for me to use to say that. I used words I would never use: ‘I ate it up and spit it out.’ But that’s the way he talked. I used to be around steam rooms with the Rat Pack guys – they liked to talk like Mob guys, even though they would have been scared of their own shadows.” Anka finished the song at 5am. “I called Frank up in Nevada – he was at Caesar’s Palace – and said, ‘I’ve got something really special for you.’?” Anka claimed: “When my record company caught wind of it, they were very pissed that I didn’t keep it for myself. I said, ‘Hey, I can write it, but I’m not the guy to sing it.’ It was for Frank, no one else.” Wikipedia

Bob Dylan, Lay Lady Lay

“Lay Lady Lay” is a song written by Bob Dylan and originally released in 1969 on his Nashville Skyline album. The words of the song are sung by Dylan in a low, soft-sounding voice instead of his familiar high-pitched nasal-sounding voice. Dylan credited his “new” voice to quitting smoking before recording the song, but some unreleased bootleg tapes from the early ’60s reveal that this was an aspect of his vocal persona that he had actually possessed since at least that time.[1] Released as a single in July of 1969, it became one of Dylan’s biggest US Pop chart hits, peaking at number seven. The single did even better on the UK Singles Chart, reaching the number five spot. It is often performed live by Dylan, and was included on the Hard Rain and Before the Flood albums. It also appears on his quintuple-platinum Greatest Hits, Volume II album, as well as on compilations Biograph and The Essential Bob Dylan.

The song was originally written for the soundtrack of the movie Midnight Cowboy, but wasn’t submitted in time to make the final cut.  Wikipedia

Marrakesh Express – CSN at Woodstock

“Marrakesh Express” is a popular song by Crosby, Stills, and Nash, released on their 1969 self-titled debut album. It was written by Graham Nash. Nash had originally intended to record the song with his group The Hollies, but that group refused to record the song.

The Marrakesh Express was a popular route for traveling hippies during the mid-to-late 1960s who sought out the Moroccan city of Marrakesh for its mythical Arabic appearance.

Okie from Muskogee, Merl Haggard

“It started out as a joke. We wrote to be satirical originally. But then people latched onto it, and it really turned into this song that looked into the mindset of people so opposite of who and where we were. My dad’s people. He’s from Muskogee, you know?” Haggard once noted about “Okie from Muskogee.”[1] In fact, critic Kurt Wolff wrote that Haggard always considered what became a redneck anthem to be a spoof, and that today fans – even the hippies that are derided in the lyrics – have taken a liking to the song and take humor in some of the lyrics.[2]

Written by Haggard and Roy Edward Burris (drummer for Haggard’s backing band, The Strangers) during the height of the Vietnam War, “Okie from Muskogee” grew from the two trading one-liners about small-town life,[3] where conservative values were the norm and outsiders with ideals contrary to those ways were unwelcome. Here, the singer reflects on how proud he is to hail from Middle America, where its residents were patriotic, didn’t smoke marijuana, wear beads and sandals, burn draft cards or challenge authority.[4]

While viewed as a satire of small-town America and its reaction to the anti-war protests and counterculture seen in America’s larger cities, Allmusic writer Bill Janovitz writes that the song also “convincingly (gives) voice to a proud, straight-laced truck-driver type. … (I)n the end, he identifies with the narrator. He does not position the protagonist as angry, reactionary, or judgmental; it is more that the guy, a self-confessed ‘square,’ is confused by such changes and with a chuckle comes to the conclusion that he and his ilk have the right sort of life for themselves.”

“Asshole from El Paso” is a parody of “Okie”, by Chinga Chavin, and covered by Kinky Friedman.  wikipedia

Johnny Winter,  Mean Town Blues (at Woodstock)

Johnny began performing at an early age with Edgar. His recording career began at the age of 15, when their band Johnny and the Jammers released “School Day Blues” on a Houston record label. During this same period, he was able to see performances by classic blues artists such as Muddy Waters, B. B. King and Bobby Bland.

In 1968, Winter began playing in a trio with bassist Tommy Shannon and drummer Uncle John Turner. An article in Rolling Stone magazine written by Larry Sepulvado helped generate interest in the group. The album Johnny Winter was released near the end of that year. In 1969 they performed at numerous rock festivals including Woodstock. Wikipedia

Jethro Tull – Living In The Past

Living in the Past is the title of one of British progressive rock group Jethro Tull’s most well-known songs. It is notable for being written in the irregular 5/4 time signature.

The song was originally recorded during sessions for Tull’s 1969 album Stand Up, and released in the same year as a stand-alone single. It was restored as a “bonus track” for the 2001 CD reissue. However, it became even more popular after its 1972 release on Tull’s compilation album, also called Living In The Past. After its release on the album, it became the band’s first Top 40 hit in the U.S., peaking at #11.

The song, which was originally released at the peak of the Vietnam War, seems to be about people wishing to live in peaceful times (the “past” mentioned in the song) rather than at a time of war and turmoil (the “present”). Wikipedia

Led Zeppelin,  Whole Lotta Love

Ella Fitzgerald,  Sunshine of your love (OMG!!!)

LP was recorded in San Fransisco in ’69 by Ernie Heckscher 🙂

Beach Boys – I can hear music

“I Can Hear Music” was covered by the American pop band The Beach Boys. It was released on their 1969 album 20/20 with Carl Wilson on lead vocals, although their studio video and their 9 April 1969 appearance on the Mike Douglas show both seem to have Brian Wilson singing lead instead, and was their first single released in stereo.

With Brian losing more and more interest in producing for the Beach Boys, younger brother Carl took over as the role of producer and lead Beach Boy. This song is considered by many as Carl Wilson’s first taste at being the “leader” of the group.

As a single it peaked at #24 on the US charts and #10 on the UK charts. Wikipedia

Creedence Clearwater Revival-Green River

While undertaking a steady string of live dates around the country to capitalize on their breakthrough, CCR also was hard at work on their second album Bayou Country at RCA Studios in Los Angeles. Released in January 1969 and becoming a #7 platinum hit, the record was the first in a string of hit albums and singles which continued for the next three years.

Bayou Country’s seven songs were well-honed from Creedence’s constant live playing. The album showed a distinct evolution in approach, much more simple and direct than the band’s first release. The single “Proud Mary”, backed with “Born On the Bayou”, went to Number 2 on the national Billboard chart. It would eventually become group’s most-covered song, with some 100 cover versions by other artists to date, including a hit version in 1971 by Ike and Tina Turner. Bob Dylan named it his favorite single of 1969. The album also featured a blistering remake of Little Richard’s “Good Golly Miss Molly” and the band’s nine-minute live-show closer, “Keep On Chooglin’ “.

Only weeks later, in March 1969, “Bad Moon Rising” backed with “Lodi” was released and peaked at #2 on the charts. The band’s third album, Green River, followed in August and quickly went gold along with the single “Green River”, which again reached #2 on the Billboard charts. The B-side of “Green River”, “Commotion” — a one-chord two-step about the perils of city life — peaked at #30. The bar-band story of “Lodi” became a popular staple on then-emerging FM radio.[citation needed] The band’s emphasis on remakes of their old favorites continued with “The Night Time Is the Right Time”, which found its way into the band’s live set as a crowd sing-along. Wikipedia

Beatles, Hey Bulldog

During the recording, Paul McCartney started to bark without warning. The next lines, initially written as “Hey Bullfrog”, were changed mid-song to “Hey Bulldog”. This became the song’s title.

Geoff Emerick, the Beatles’ engineer, would subsequently claim this was the last song the band recorded that featured a team dynamic with enthusiasm from every member. When the group reconvened in the studio in May 1968 for the The Beatles sessions, their group cohesion had already been undermined by the business, artistic, and personal differences that would culminate in their eventual breakup.

During these sessions, a film crew photographed the four Beatles recording the song. It was one of the few times they allowed themselves to be extensively filmed recording in the Abbey Road studios, for a promotional film to be released during their scheduled four-month retreat to India (which was later edited together as a promotional film for the single Lady Madonna).

The song was used in an animated segment of the Yellow Submarine film which initially appeared only in European theatrical prints. It was restored and seen for the first time in 30 years for the film’s 1999 re-release. To promote the reissue, Apple went back to the original footage shot for the “Lady Madonna” promo film and restructured it for use as a promotional clip for “Hey Bulldog” (as it is possible to identify what they were playing, and therefore possible to synchronize the music with the original footage). Wikipedia

5th Dimension- Wedding Bell Blues

“Wedding Bell Blues” is a song written and recorded by Laura Nyro in 1966 that became a number one hit for The Fifth Dimension in 1969 and subsequently a popular phrase in American culture. The song is written from the perspective of a woman whose boyfriend has not yet proposed to her, who wonders, “am I ever gonna see my wedding day?” The song carries dual themes of adoring love and frustrated lament. Wikipedia

Johnny Cash “A Boy Named Sue”

“A Boy Named Sue” is a country song, written by Shel Silverstein and popularly sung by Johnny Cash. Johnny Cash was at the height of his popularity when he recorded this song live at San Quentin State Prison in California. The concert was recorded for broadcast by Granada Television on February 24, 1969 and for the Johnny Cash At San Quentin album. The song became Cash’s biggest hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, spending three weeks at #2 in 1969; it also topped the country music and adult contemporary charts that same year. Wikipedia

Dreams, Allman Brothers Band (from their Debut LP / 2004 video)

The Allman Brothers Band played numerous shows in the south before releasing their debut album, The Allman Brothers Band to great critical acclaim, though the blues-rock album found few listeners, attracting only a cult following. Most of the record had a blues-rock sound, but “Dreams”, a spacy number in 12/8 time, would provide the framework for some of their live jams. Wikipedia

Chicago – Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is (from Debut LP / video 2004)

“Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?” is a song written and sung by Robert Lamm for the rock band Chicago and recorded for their debut album The Chicago Transit Authority (1969).

The song was not released as a single until two records from their second album (“Make Me Smile” and “25 or 6 to 4”) had become hits. It became the band’s third straight Top 10 record, peaking at #7 in the U.S. Wikipedia

You Can’t Always Get What You Want. Rolling Stones

“You Can’t Always Get What You Want” was recorded on November 16 and November 17, 1968 at London’s Olympic Sound Studios. It features the London Bach Choir powerfully opening the song under the stewardship of Javier Sanchez Broto, highlighting throughout, and bringing it to an uproarious conclusion. Jimmy Miller, the Rolling Stones’ producer at the time, plays drums on this song instead of Charlie Watts. Al Kooper plays piano, organ and horn while Rocky Dijon plays congas and maracas. Nanette Workman sings backup vocals, but she is credited as “Nanette Newman”.

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