Music is forever; music should grow and mature with you, following you right on up until you die ———— Paul Simon
1967 – 1972 YEARS OF CHANGE
1967 was a year of change not only in music but also in me. I left school aged 15 that summer and started working and I loved it. The freedom of no school uniform, having some responsibility and I learn more after I left school than I ever did at school, well more useful stuff for the real world I suppose now it would be called street cred, although my maths improved 100% when I started playing cribbage and darts in the lunch hours, mental arithmatic suddenly became a must.
That year music took on a whole new persona with the issue of one album, Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Cl;ub Band by the Beatles. Many people like my children have asked me since what’s so special about that album?
It’s hard to explain because everyone today thinks that this music has always been there but it wasn’t. I suppose it was like when Rock ‘n’ Roll first broke through in the 50’s, there hadn’t been popular music like that before or perhaps when Rap started in the late 70’s no one had heard anything like that before. Obviously since then the 70’s Rap has progressed and changed with time as did Rock’n’Roll, Country and just about every other form of music, the basis is the same but there are some variations involved.
Well in 1967 Sgt Pepper brought something new to the form of the LP (Long Playing Record or Album)
It was the first Beatles record I bought and changed my view of the band completely ,suddenly I got them, it had taken me a long time but at last I understood where they were coming from. This remaines one of my favourite albums along with the Beatles album Rubber Soul.
It was while at work that John, the person I assisted, told me about an artist and a group that took me in other directions at the same time as getting into the Beatles. After mentioning that I liked guitar music he told me to listen to Chet Atkins and The Ventures, I had never heard of either of them. The following week on the Friday when I got paid I went over the road to the Harlequin Record Shop and bought a Chet Atkins album and it blew me away. The finger picking country style and the speed he played, I had never heard anything like that before, on this album he also duetted with Ravi Shankar playing the sitar, something the Beatles George Harrison was also getting into on the Sgt Pepper album on Within you Without you.
The Ventures were an American Instrumental band to be compared with the UK Shadows but with their own unique style. They were incredibly popular in Japan as their live album recorded in that country showed. Their rockin style on tracks like Slaughter on 10th Avenue and Perfidia and their big hit Walk don’t run.gave me another direction for my music taste to go.
Soon after this John again poiinted me in yet another direction in the form of Country music. I had heard some on the airwaves occasonally the hit songs like Roger Miller King of the Road and Jim Reeves Distant Drums but I was shown a whole range of other artists like Johnny Cash, Marty Robbins, Hank Snow, Roy Acuff and Dave Dudley. At this time Johnny Cash had not broken through the mass market although he was known for his earlier hits on the Sun Label in the 50’s like Hey Porter & Ballad of a Teenage Queen not that I knew them up to that point.
So at this stage I was listeing to Pop, Rock ‘n’ Roll, Folk, Country & Classical (yes classical). My father always played it Sunday mornings and I learnt to love some tracks like Hall of the Mountain King, Hungarian Rhapsody & Eine Kleine Nachtmusik.
1967 saw another change, for the last couple of years we had been listeing to pirate radio with stations like Radio London (Wonderful Big L), Radio Caroline and many others broadcasting from ships in the North Sea. DJ’s like Dave Cash, Kenny Everett, Johnny Walker and many others were playing music that couldn’t be heard on the then BBC Light Programme. In 1967 these pirate ships were outlawed and the BBC started a new station called Radio One which opened with the breakfast DJ being Tony Blackburn. Being a monoopoly there wasn’;t much choice during the day although at night, like we had for many years, we would listen to Radio Luxembourg.
Pop artists and groups I liked included: The Move, Supremes, Four Tops, Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band, Rolling Stones, Four Seasons, Beach Boys, Kinks, Who, Sandie Shaw, Dusty Springfield, Paper Dolls, Marvin Gaye and many more. In 1968 a new band called Status Quo broke into the charts with “Pictures of matchstick men” – the first riff I learnt on guitar.
Folk artists included Bob Dylan, Donovan, Joni Mitchell, Julie Felix, Simon & Garfunkel, Peter Paul & Mary & Peter Seeger.
Rock’n’Roll artists Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, Gene Vincent, Eddie Cochran, Johnny Kidd & Pirates, Buddy Holly & Chuck Berry amongst others.
So my music taste was becoming ever more eclectic, though at that time I didn’t even know that word!
In 1969 I went to see The Johnny Cash Show which featured The Carter Family, The Statler Brothers, Carl Perkins and The Tennessee Three backing Johnny Cash it was a great show, I saw them three times in all once was a recording for BBC Radio for Johnny Cash fan club members only, which I was.. Johnny was just about breaking into more mainstream especially after his releases Live at Folsom Prison and Live at San Quentin.
Big at this time was a guitarist who was turning the guitar world on it’s head his name was Jimi Hendrix but like the Beatles early days I didn’t get him at all then – it would come with time and I now realise what a genius he was and years before his time in style of playing.
With the late 60’s early 70’s sounds of Cream, Arthur Brown, Julie Driscoll, Free, Status Quo and Pink Floyd the styles were about to change again but that’s in the next instalment.
My soundtrack to 1967 – 1972 would include:
Fire – Crazy World of Arthur Brown
/ This Wheels on Fire – Julie Driscoll & Brian Auger Trinity /
Pictures of Matchstick Men – Status Quo
/ Big Yellow Taxi – Joni Mitchell / 98.6 – Keith / Ballad of a Teenage Opera – Keith West / Strawberry Fields Forever – Beatles / Penny Lane – Beatles / Purple Haze – Jimi Hendrix /
Intro & Outro – Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band
/ Something here in my heart – Paper Dolls / Fire Brigade – The Move / I Feel Free – Cream / These Boots are made for walking – Nancy Sinatra / I’m a Believer – The Monkees / Whiter shade of Pale – Procol Harum / San Francisco – Scott McKenzie / Happy Together – The Turtles / Same old Song – Four Tops / Ode to Billie Joe – Bobbie Gentry / Jumpin Jack Flash – Rolling Stones / Baby Come Back – The Equals / Judy in Disguise – John Fred & his Playboy Band / Mrs Robinson – Simon & Garfunkel
Next Instalment: Glam Rock takes over, the emergence of T Rex, Wizzard, Roxy Music, Slade, Alice Cooper and a certain person called Gary Glitter!