Remembering the Music of 1968 with Video & Background

19 Aug

One of the best LP covers of 1968


Jimi Hendrix – All along the watchtower

The Jimi Hendrix Experience began to record their cover version of Dylan’s “All Along The Watchtower” on January 21, 1968, at Olympic Studios in London. [7] According to engineer Andy Johns, Jimi Hendrix had been given a tape of Dylan’s recording by publicist Michael Goldstein, who worked for Dylan’s manager Albert Grossman. “(Hendrix) came in with these Dylan tapes and we all heard them for the first time in the studio,” recalled Johns.[8] According to Hendrix’s regular engineer Eddie Kramer, the guitarist cut a large number of takes on the first day, shouting chord changes at Dave Mason who had turned up at the session and played guitar. Halfway through the session, bass player Noel Redding became dissatisfied with the proceedings and left. Mason then took over on bass. According to Kramer, the final bass part was played by Hendrix himself. [9] Kramer and Chas Chandler mixed the first version of “All Along The Watchtower” on January 26, but Hendrix was quickly dissatisfied with the result and went on re-recording and overdubbing guitar parts during June, July, and August at the Record Plant studio in New York [10] Engineer Tony Bongiovi has described Hendrix becoming increasingly dissatisfied as the song progressed, overdubbing more and more guitar parts, moving the master tape from a four-track to a twelve-track to a sixteen-track machine. Bongiovi recalled, “Recording these new ideas meant he would have to erase something. In the weeks prior to the mixing, we had already recorded a number of overdubs, wiping track after track. (Hendrix) kept saying, ‘I think I hear it a little bit differently.’” [11] The finished version was released on the album Electric Ladyland in September 1968. Hendrix’s obsessive re-working of the song totally transformed it: from a quiet acoustic ballad to a pyrotechnic display of Hendrix’s guitar virtuosity. The single reached number five in the British charts, and number 20 on the Billboard chart.[12]

Dylan has described his reaction to hearing Hendrix’s version: “It overwhelmed me, really. He had such talent, he could find things inside a song and vigorously develop them. He found things that other people wouldn’t think of finding in there. He probably improved upon it by the spaces he was using. I took license with the song from his version, actually, and continue to do it to this day.”[13]

In the booklet accompanying his Biograph album, Dylan said: “I liked Jimi Hendrix’s record of this and ever since he died I’ve been doing it that way… Strange how when I sing it, I always feel it’s a tribute to him in some kind of way.”

This version of the song appears at number 48 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest songs ever, and in 2000, British magazine, Total Guitar, named it top of the list of the greatest cover versions ever. Wikipedia

Elvis – from his ’68 TV Special – Heartbreak Hotel / Baby What You Want Me To Do

The special was made in June, but was first aired on December 3, 1968 as a Christmas telecast called simply Elvis. Later dubbed the ’68 Comeback Special by fans and critics, the show featured some lavishly staged studio productions. Other songs however, were performed live with a band in front of small audience—Presley’s first live appearance as a performer since 1961. The live segments saw Presley clad in black leather, singing and playing guitar in an uninhibited style—reminiscent of his rock and roll days. Rolling Stone called it “a performance of emotional grandeur and historical resonance.”[34] Jon Landau in Eye magazine remarked: “There is something magical about watching a man who has lost himself find his way back home. He sang with the kind of power people no longer expect of rock ‘n’ roll singers. He moved his body with a lack of pretension and effort that must have made Jim Morrison green with envy.”[191] Its success was helped by director and co-producer, Steve Binder, who worked hard to reassure the nervous singer[154] and to produce a show that was not just an hour of Christmas songs, as Colonel Parker had originally planned. Wikipedia

Beatles Release the White Album

The Beatles is the ninth official album by The Beatles, a double album released in 1968. It is often referred to as The White Album as it has no text other than the band’s name (and, on the early LP and CD releases, a serial number) on its plain white sleeve, which was designed by pop artist Richard Hamilton. The album was the first album The Beatles undertook following the death of their manager Brian Epstein. Originally planned to be titled A Doll’s House, The Beatles is often hailed as one of the major accomplishments in popular music.

In 1997, The Beatles was named the 10th greatest album of all time in a ‘Music of the Millennium’ poll conducted by HMV, Channel 4, The Guardian and Classic FM. In 1998, Q magazine readers placed it at number 17, while in 2000 the same magazine placed it at number 7 in its list of the 100 Greatest British Albums Ever.[1] In 2001, the TV network VH1 named it as the 11th greatest album ever.[2] In 2006, the album was chosen by Time Magazine as one of the 100 best albums of all time.[3] It was ranked number 10 in Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time in 2003.[4]

According to the Recording Industry Association of America, The Beatles is The Beatles’ best-selling album at 19-times platinum and the tenth-best-selling album of all time in the United States. Wikipedia

The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus is a film released in 1996 of a December 11, 1968 event put together by The Rolling Stones. The event comprised two concerts on a circus stage, and included acts such as Eric Clapton, The Who, Taj Mahal, Marianne Faithfull, and Jethro Tull. John Lennon and his fiancee Yoko Ono performed as part of a supergroup called The Dirty Mac, along with Eric Clapton, Mitch Mitchell, and Keith Richards. It was originally meant to be aired on the BBC, but the Rolling Stones withheld its airing and release. Wikipedia

Aretha Franklin – I Say A Little Prayer

A year after Dionne Warwick Aretha did another great version as part of her album Aretha Now. It was later included in the 1969 compilation album Aretha’s Gold, and the 1971 album Aretha’s Greatest Hits. Aretha’s version peaked at #10 on the Billboard Magazine Hot 100. see wiki

Etta James, Tell Mama

Tell Mama is a 1968 album by Etta James, and the eighth LP release for the blues singer. Released through Chess Records, the album marked the continued deviation by James from her early mainstream R&B recordings toward traditional blues and soul. The album was recorded over several sessions in the famous FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, producing over two dozen tracks, of which twelve were selected for the album. The album marked an upsurge in James’ career. The title track became her most successful single, reaching #23 on the Pop Singles chart. Though its B-side, “I’d Rather Go Blind”, was never serviced to radio, it became one of James’ signature songs. Wikipedia

Feelin Alright, Traffic (no original available this is from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (2004)

Traffic was the eponymous rock album by the English rock band Traffic, ranging in style from psychedelic rock to acid jazz. It was their second release, in October 1968; it reached number 9 in the UK album charts on 26th October 1968, and reached number 17 in the Billboard charts in the United States. Wikipedia

William Shatner – Lucy in the sky with diamonds

The Transformed Man is actor William Shatner’s debut album, released in 1968, while the original Star Trek series, in which he starred as Captain James T. Kirk, was still on the air.

The concept of the album was to juxtapose famous pieces of poetry with their modern counterparts, pop lyrics.

The album is best remembered for showcasing Shatner’s now-famous vocal style—spoken word with dramatic pauses and flourishes. Shatner started playing up this aspect of his career in the 1990s as he enjoyed a resurgence of popularity, this time as a pop-culture icon. The actor/singer appeared in a number of commercials for, where the unique musical style displayed in The Transformed Man was showcased for humorous effect. Wikipedia

The Doors- Hello, I love you

The band began to branch out from their initial form in their third LP, because they had exhausted their original repertoire and began writing new material. It became their first #1 LP and the single “Hello, I Love You” was their second and last US #1 single. There was a controversy with the release of the “Hello, I Love You” single in 1968, when the rock press pointed out the song’s musical resemblance to The Kinks’ 1965 hit “All Day and All of the Night”. Members of the Kinks have concurred with music critics: Kinks guitarist Dave Davies has been known to add snippets of “Hello, I Love You” during solo live performances of “All Day and All of the Night” as a sarcastic commentary on the subject.[4] In concert, Morrison was occasionally dismissive of the song, and left the vocal chores to Manzarek. Wikipedia

Cream, Crossroads

In 1968, Cream recorded a live version of the song at the Winterland Ballroom, for inclusion on their double album Wheels of Fire where it was simply called “Crossroads.” Arranged by guitarist Eric Clapton, the Cream version had a faster tempo than the original, and included two lines borrowed from Johnson’s “Traveling Riverside Blues.”

Many believe the song is about the original songwriter, Robert Johnson, going to the crossroads to sell his soul to the devil in exchange for being able to play the blues and gain fame. Another Delta bluesman, Tommy Johnson, who was unrelated to Robert, claimed that he actually did that. This is consistent with African religious beliefs about Papa Legba.

Some historians believe the song is actually about an African-American worried about being lynched for being out after dark in an unfamiliar place of the Deep South in the early 20th century. (See Chapter Eight of Leon F. Litwack, Trouble in Mind: Black Southerners in the Age of Jim Crow (New York: Vintage Books, 1998), especially pages 410 and 411.)

Unlike Cream’s usual arrangement with bassist Jack Bruce singing, guitarist Eric Clapton took the vocals on this recording. Clapton’s explosive guitar solos cemented his reputation as a guitar legend; his work from the track was named by one critic the greatest live rock solo ever. Bruce’s fluid bass playing, blurring the line between rhythm and melody, has been similarly honored as the second-best live bass performance.

It was placed at #409 on the 2004 List of Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. Wikipedia

Beatles, Hey Jude

“Hey Jude” is a song by the English rock band The Beatles that was recorded in 1968. Originally titled “Hey Jules”, the ballad was written by Paul McCartney—and credited to Lennon/McCartney—to comfort John Lennon’s son Julian during his parents’ divorce. “Hey Jude” begins with a verse-bridge structure based around McCartney’s vocal performance and piano accompaniment; further details are added as the song progresses to distinguish sections. After the fourth verse, the song shifts to a fade-out coda that lasts for more than four minutes.

“Hey Jude” was released in August 1968 as the first single from The Beatles’ record label Apple Records. Over seven minutes in length, “Hey Jude” was at the time the longest single ever to top the British charts.[1] It also spent nine weeks as number one in the United States—the longest run at the top of the American charts for a Beatles single. The single has sold approximately eight million copies and is frequently included on professional lists of the all-time best songs. Wikipedia

What a Wonderful World – Louis Armstrong late ’67 US & ’68 UK

OTIS REDDING: (Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay

Rolling Stones – Jumpin’ Jack Flash

Lady Madonna – The Beatles

“Lady Madonna” is a song by The Beatles, written mostly by Paul McCartney and credited to Lennon/McCartney. In March 1968 it was released as a single, backed by “The Inner Light”. The song was recorded at Abbey Road Studios during sessions on 3 February and 6 February 1968 before the Beatles left for India. This single was the last release by the band on Parlophone in the UK, where it reached #1, and Capitol Records in the U.S., where it reached #4. All subsequent releases, starting with “Hey Jude” in August of 1968, were released on their own label Apple Records. Wikipedia

Born To Be Wild and Easy Rider

“Born to Be Wild” is a rock song written by Mars Bonfire and made famous by the American rock band, Steppenwolf. It is often used in popular culture to denote a biker appearance or attitude. The song is sometimes described as the first heavy metal song ever written and is also said to have inspired the name of the emerging heavy metal genre; although these claims are disputed, the song’s second verse (which refers to “heavy metal thunder,” though it is a reference to the weight of the motorcycle) contains the first recorded reference to “heavy metal” in the context of rock music. Wikipedia

Foundations – Baby Now That I Found You

The group, made up of West Indians, White British, and a Sri Lankan, are best known for their two biggest hits, “Baby, Now That I’ve Found You” (a Number One hit in the UK Singles Chart, and subsequently Top 10 in the U.S.) written by Tony MacCaulay and John McCleod; and “Build Me Up Buttercup” (a chart topper in the Billboard Hot 100) co-written by MacCaulay with Michael d’Abo, at the time the lead vocalist with Manfred Mann.

The make-up of the group drew much interest and intrigue due to the size and structure of the group. Not only was there a diverse ethnic mix in the group but there was also diversity in ages and musical backgrounds. Here was a mix of youth and experience. The oldest member of the group was Mike Elliott, who was 38 years old. The youngest was Tim Harris, who, at 18, was barely out of school. Wikipedia

Sly & The Family Stone – Dance To The Music – Music Lover

The Family Stone itself never thought very highly of Dance to the Music while they were recording it; its existence was the result of CBS executive Clive Davis’ request for Sly Stone to make his sound more pop friendly. To appease his employer, Sly developed a formula for the band’s recordings, which would still promote his visions of peace, brotherly love, and anti-racism while appealing to a wider audience. Most of the resulting Family Stone songs feature each lead singer in the band (Sly, Freddie Stone, Larry Graham, and newcomer Rose Stone) sharing the lead vocals by either singing them in unison or taking turns singing bars of each verse. In addition, the songs contained significant amounts of scat singing and prominent solos for each instrumentalist. Wikipedia

Marvin Gaye, I Heard It Through The Grapevine

“I Heard It Through the Grapevine” is a R&B/soul song written by Motown songwriters Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong. The Funk Brothers created the tune. Whitfield recorded several different versions of the song with several different Motown acts, and two of those versions became hits: one version by Gladys Knight & the Pips became a number-two hit in the United States in 1967, while the version by Marvin Gaye became a number-one hit in the UK and the U.S. in 1968. Marvin Gaye’s version is #80 on Rolling Stone’s list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.[1]

Gaye’s version, the most notable recording of the song, was his first number-one hit, and was the most successful single released by Motown in the 1960s.  Wikipedia

Kenny Rogers & The First Edition – Condition

The First Edition (later known as Kenny Rogers and The First Edition) was a rock band, stalwart members being Kenny Rogers (vocals & bass guitar), Mickey Jones (drums & percussion) Terry Williams (guitar & vocals). The band formed in 1967, with noted folk musician Mike Settle (guitar, vocals & main songwriter) and the operatically trained Thelma Camacho completing the lineup.

The First Edition signed with Reprise Records and recorded the pop-psychedelic single “Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)”. Within a year, the group was billed as “Kenny Rogers and the First Edition” and in the summer of 1969, they once again hit the charts with “Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love To Town” (US #6, UK#1).

For the next six years, the First Edition bounced between country, pop and mild psychedelia, enjoying world-wide success. Wikipedia

Simon & Garfunkel – Mrs. Robinson

“Mrs. Robinson” is a song written by Paul Simon and first performed by Simon and Garfunkel. When released as a single, it hit number one in the U.S., their second hit after “The Sound of Silence”. An early version of the song appeared in the motion picture The Graduate (1967) and its subsequent soundtrack, while the complete song debuted on their album Bookends (1968). The song earned the duo a Grammy Award for Record of the Year in 1969. Wikipedia

Monkees (actually instrumental backing by the Candy Store Prophets, plus session musician Louie Shelton contributing a guitar solo) / Valleri

Canned Heat – On The Road Again

“On the Road Again” was adapted by Alan Wilson from a song of the same name recorded in 1953 by Floyd Jones (July 21, 1917 – December 19, 1989), a Chicago blues musician. [1]. Jones’ song was itself an adaptation of “Big Road Blues,” recorded in 1928 by Delta blues musician Tommy Johnson.

With his knowledge of Eastern music, Wilson used a tambura drone to give the song a hypnotic effect and a psychedelic edge. The song features Wilson as the lead singer and harmonica player. Wikipedia

Johnny Cash & June Carter – Jackson

Iron Butterfly In A Gadda Da Vida Pt.1  part 2

The song is considered significant in rock history because, together with Blue Cheer and Steppenwolf, it marks the point when psychedelic music produced heavy metal. A commonly repeated story says that the song’s title was originally “In the Garden of Eden” or “In the Garden of Venus” but in the course of rehearsing and recording, singer Doug Ingle was intoxicated and accidentally slurred the words, creating the mondegreen that stuck as the title. However, the liner notes on ‘the best of’ CD compilation state that drummer Ron Bushy was listening to the track through headphones, and couldn’t hear correctly; he simply distorted what Doug Ingle answered when Ron asked him for the title of the song (which was originally In-The-Garden-Of-Eden). An alternate version of the story, as stated in the liner notes of the 1995 re-release of the In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida album, states that Ingle was drunk when he first told Bushy the title, so Bushy wrote it down. Bushy then showed Ingle what he had written, and the slurred title stuck.[ Although it is not widely known, this track was produced by Shadow Morton at the same small studio in Hempstead, L.I. where he also created the ‘Vanilla Fudge Sound’. Wikipedia

Creedence Clearwater Revival- released 69 this is from Woodstock ’69

Creedence continued to tour heavily including performances at the Atlanta Pop Festival and Woodstock. Their set was not included in the Woodstock film or its original soundtrack because Fogerty felt the band’s performance was sub-par. (Several CCR tracks from the event were included in the 1994 commemorative box set.) The band also complained that they had to take the stage at three in the morning because The Grateful Dead had jammed far past their scheduled set time. By the time Creedence began playing — “the hottest shot on Earth at that moment”, said Fogerty — many in the audience had gone to sleep. Wikipedia

Janis Joplin – Piece Of My Heart

Janis Lyn Joplin (January 19, 1943 – October 4, 1970) was an American singer, songwriter, and music arranger, from Port Arthur, Texas. She rose to prominence in the late 1960s as the lead singer of Big Brother and the Holding Company, and later as a solo artist. In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked Joplin #46 on its list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. She died in Los Angeles, California of a drug overdose at the age of 27. Wikipedia

Temptations “I wish it would rain”

More so than a number of other Motown songs, there is real sentiment and pain behind the song’s words. Lyricist Penzabene had just found out his wife was cheating on him with another man. Unable to deal with the pain and unable to stop loving his wife, Penzabene expressed his pain in the lyrics of this song and its follow-up on the Temptations release schedule, “I Could Never Love Another (After Loving You)”. The distraught Penzabene committed suicide on New Year’s Eve 1967, a week after the single’s release. Wikipedia


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