1969 in music

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John Lennon rehearses "Give Peace a Chance", 1969.

Events[edit]

Summary[edit]

Perhaps the two most famous musical events of 1969 were concerts. At a Rolling Stones concert in Altamont, California, a fan was stabbed to death by Hells Angels, a biker gang that had been hired to provide security for the event. In retrospect, some commentators have concluded that the violence signaled the end of the "hippie" movement, which espoused an ethos of free love and peace. Even more famous than the Altamont concert is Woodstock, which consisted of dozens of the most famous performers in the world at the time, playing together in an atmosphere of peace with nature and love, with many thousands of concert goers; it is still one of the largest concerts in the history of the world.

The 1967 musical Hair generated the same-named 1968 album, whose cuts include "Aquarius" and "Let The Sunshine In", "Hair", "Good Morning Starshine", "Easy to Be Hard" (covered, chronologically and respectively, by The 5th Dimension at #1, The Cowsills at #2, Oliver at #3, Three Dog Night at #4, on the Hot 100 in 1969), and others, and a London Cast album released in April 1969.

The Isle of Wight festival saw the return of Bob Dylan to live music after his motorbike accident in 1966.

David Bowie's "Space Oddity" became a huge hit in this year, being released at the time that American astronauts first landed on the moon. The song, the story of an astronaut named Major Tom who goes into space and is entranced by the beauty of seeing Earth from such a great distance and consequently lets himself float off into space, never again to return, was chosen by the BBC as the theme song for the television coverage of the moon landing. The remainder of the album, Man of Words/Man of Music, was too eccentric for mainstream acceptance, though it established a devoted fanbase for Bowie, who would go on to become one of the most popular musicians in the world.

King Crimson's In the Court of the Crimson King is a pioneering album in the development of progressive rock. The album drew upon influences like Procol Harum, The Moody Blues and The Nice to form a hackneyed sound melding rock and roll with classical influences in long, hipster pieces of music. Similar albums by The Moody Blues, Procol Harum and The Nice, as well as Genesis, Yes and Pink Floyd were also released this year, expanding the range of prog rock and developing it into a full-fledged genre.

The Stooges' eponymous debut, The Stooges, was also released this year to little critical or popular acceptance. The album, however, went on to become one of the most important recordings in the early development of punk rock, as did Kick Out The Jams by Detroit protopunkers MC5.

Johnny Cash's At San Quentin included his only Top Ten pop hit, "A Boy Named Sue". The album was a sequel to last year's At Folsom Prison. Also in country music, Merle Haggard's Same Train, Different Time, a tribute to Jimmie Rodgers, was enormously popular and influenced the development of the Bakersfield sound into outlaw country within a few years.

Creedence Clearwater Revival cement their success from the previous year. Having had a single US #11 hit in 1968 with Suzie Q, they release not only their second, but also their third and fourth proper studio album in 1969 as well as drawing a total of four top 3 hits from these three albums. Starting with Bayou Country including the US #2 hit "Proud Mary" and continuing with Green River and finally Willy and the Poor Boys, which, during the year, transformed them from an up-and-coming underground act to bona fide rockstars. During 1969, Creedence Clearwater Revival had #2 hits in the US with "Proud Mary", "Green River" and "Bad Moon Rising", and also have a #3 hit with "Down on the Corner"/"Fortunate Son".

Gilberto Gil and Caetano Veloso released enormously popular albums in Brazil, Gilberto Gil and Caetano Veloso, respectively. The pair's fusion of bossa nova, samba and other native Brazilian folk influences, melded with politically and socially aware lyrics, kickstarted what came to be known as Tropicalia. Both musicians moved to London after a period of imprisonment for anti-government activities in Brazil.

Family released their second album, Family Entertainment, in their native Britain. It is their first top ten album in the United Kingdom, hitting number six. "The Weaver's Answer", which opens the record, becomes their most popular song in their concert performances. By the end of the year, however, they lose and replace two members, and their first attempt to break through commercially in the United States backfires miserably.

Elvis Presley returned to live performances at the International Hotel in Las Vegas; breaking all attendance records in his 57-concert run. He also enjoyed great success with his songs "In the Ghetto" and "Suspicious Minds".

The Wendy Carlos album Switched-On Bach was one of the first classical albums to sell 500,000 copies, and helped bring classical music into the popular sphere, as did Mason Williams' "Classical Gas",[clarification needed] which won three Grammys,[1] including Best Instrumental Composition.

Major events[edit]

Bands formed[edit]

Bands disbanded[edit]

Albums released[edit]

January[edit]

Day Album Artist Notes
12 Led Zeppelin Led Zeppelin -
13 Dusty in Memphis Dusty Springfield -
Yellow Submarine The Beatles Soundtrack
29 Filles de Kilimanjaro Miles Davis -
30 Moby Grape '69 Moby Grape -
- Bayou Country Creedence Clearwater Revival -
Donovan's Greatest Hits Donovan Compilation
English Rose Fleetwood Mac Compilation
First Edition '69 The First Edition -
The Holy Land Johnny Cash -
Soul '69 Aretha Franklin -
Till The Vogues -
What We Did on Our Holidays Fairport Convention -

February[edit]

Day Album Artist Notes
10 20/20 The Beach Boys -
15 Instant Replay The Monkees -
16 It's Our Thing The Isley Brothers -
17 Cloud Nine The Temptations -
22 Stonedhenge Ten Years After -
- Ball Iron Butterfly -
Bless Its Pointed Little Head Jefferson Airplane Live
Family Entertainment Family -
The Gilded Palace of Sin The Flying Burrito Brothers -
Kick Out the Jams MC5 Live
Near the Beginning Vanilla Fudge -
The Sound of Sexy Soul The Delfonics -

March[edit]

Day Album Artist Notes
5 Dr. Byrds & Mr. Hyde The Byrds -
7 From Genesis to Revelation Genesis -
- At Your Birthday Party Steppenwolf -
Blue Matter Savoy Brown -
Goodbye Cream -
Happy Trails Quicksilver Messenger Service -
Just to Satisfy You Waylon Jennings -
Mothermania The Mothers of Invention Compilation
New! Improved! Blue Cheer -
Odessa The Bee Gees -
Say It Loud, I'm Black and I'm Proud James Brown -
Spooky Two Spooky Tooth -
The Velvet Underground The Velvet Underground -
Wheatfield Soul The Guess Who -

April[edit]

Day Album Artist Notes
7 Nazz Nazz Nazz -
8 Three Week Hero P.J. Proby -
9 Nashville Skyline Bob Dylan -
15 Green Is Blues Al Green -
21 Uncle Meat The Mothers of Invention Soundtrack
23 With a Little Help from My Friends Joe Cocker -
25 On the Threshold of a Dream The Moody Blues -
28 Chicago Transit Authority Chicago -
30 M.P.G. Marvin Gaye -
- Hair Various Artists London Cast
My Way Frank Sinatra -
Ramblin' Gamblin' Man The Bob Seger System -
Scott 3 Scott Walker -
Songs from a Room Leonard Cohen -
Taste Taste -

May[edit]

Day Album Artist Notes
2 Electronic Sound George Harrison -
3 Stand! Sly & the Family Stone -
9 Beginnings Ambrose Slade -
Unfinished Music No.2: Life with the Lions John Lennon and Yoko Ono -
12 After the Rain Muddy Waters -
14 Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere Neil Young and Crazy Horse -
16 Rehearsals for Retirement Phil Ochs -
Unicorn Tyrannosaurus Rex -
17 Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show Neil Diamond -
19 Pickin' Up the Pieces Poco -
23 Surround Yourself with Cilla Cilla Black -
Tommy The Who -
26 Let the Sunshine In Diana Ross & the Supremes -
29 Crosby, Stills & Nash Crosby, Stills & Nash -
- California Bloodlines John Stewart -
Clouds Joni Mitchell -
David's Album Joan Baez -
Gettin' Down to It James Brown -
Here We Are Again Country Joe and the Fish -
Last Exit Traffic -
The Marble Index Nico -
The Meters The Meters -
Motor-Cycle Lotti Golden -
Pretties for You Alice Cooper -
This Is Tom Jones Tom Jones -
The Young Mods' Forgotten Story The Impressions -

June[edit]

Day Album Artist Notes
3 Empty Sky Elton John -
4 At San Quentin Johnny Cash Live
16 Trout Mask Replica Captain Beefheart -
17 From Elvis in Memphis Elvis Presley -
20 Aoxomoxoa The Grateful Dead -
Chastity Cher Soundtrack
Love Man Otis Redding -
3614 Jackson Highway Cher -
21 Deep Purple Deep Purple US; third album
- Beck-Ola The Jeff Beck Group -
Best of Bee Gees Bee Gees Compilation
Johnny Winter Johnny Winter -
Pongo En Tus Manos Abiertas Victor Jara -
A Salty Dog Procol Harum -
Suitable for Framing Three Dog Night -
An Electric Storm White Noise -

July[edit]

Day Album Artist Notes
8 Hallelujah Canned Heat -
10 Happy Sad Tim Buckley -
18 The Soft Parade The Doors -
25 Yes Yes -
27 More Pink Floyd Soundtrack
29 Preflyte The Byrds Compilation
30 In a Silent Way Miles Davis -
Truly Fine Citizen Moby Grape -
- As Safe as Yesterday Is Humble Pie -
Early Steppenwolf Steppenwolf Live 1967
More of Old Golden Throat Johnny Cash Compilation
Mountain Leslie West -
Unhalfbricking Fairport Convention -
Wasa Wasa Edgar Broughton Band -
What About Today? Barbra Streisand -

August[edit]

Day Album Artist Notes
1 Tadpoles Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band - Released on 9 June in US
1 Stand Up Jethro Tull -
5 The Stooges The Stooges -
11 Barabajagal Donovan -
25 On Time Grand Funk Railroad -
29 My Cherie Amour Stevie Wonder -
- Ahead Rings Out Blodwyn Pig -
Blind Faith Blind Faith -
Give It Away The Chi-Lites -
Green River Creedence Clearwater Revival -
It's a Mother James Brown -
A Man Alone Frank Sinatra -
The Popcorn James Brown -
Santana Santana -
Fathers and Sons Muddy Waters -
Ssssh Ten Years After -

September[edit]

Day Album Artist Notes
1 Five Leaves Left Nick Drake -
9 Then Play On Fleetwood Mac -
11 I Got Dem Ol' Kozmic Blues Again Mama! Janis Joplin solo debut
12 Through the Past, Darkly (Big Hits Vol. 2) The Rolling Stones Compilation
16 Easy Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell -
22 The Band The Band -
23 Hot Buttered Soul Isaac Hayes -
Puzzle People The Temptations -
Together Diana Ross & the Supremes and The Temptations Duets
24 New York Tendaberry Laura Nyro -
26 Abbey Road The Beatles -
- Brave New World Steve Miller Band -
Canned Wheat The Guess Who -
Love Chronicles Al Stewart -
Nice The Nice -
Noah The Bob Seger System -
Rock & Roll Vanilla Fudge -
Scott 4 Scott Walker -
Supersnazz The Flamin' Groovies -
Townes Van Zandt Townes Van Zandt -

October[edit]

Day Album Artist Notes
1 Juicy Lucy Juicy Lucy -
9 Offering Carpenters re-titled Ticket to Ride
10 Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire) The Kinks -
Hot Rats Frank Zappa -
In the Court of the Crimson King King Crimson -
14 From Memphis to Vegas/From Vegas to Memphis Elvis Presley Live
22 Led Zeppelin II Led Zeppelin -
25 Ummagumma Pink Floyd Double LP; live + studio
27 Second Winter Johnny Winter -
- Basket of Light Pentangle -
Captured Live at the Forum Three Dog Night Live
Clear Spirit -
Free Free -
The Monkees Present The Monkees -
Songs for a Tailor Jack Bruce -
Tom Jones Live in Las Vegas Tom Jones Live
Yer' Album James Gang -

November[edit]

Day Album Artist Notes
2 Willy and the Poor Boys Creedence Clearwater Revival -
3 Cream of the Crop Diana Ross & the Supremes -
4 The Allman Brothers Band The Allman Brothers Band -
7 David Bowie David Bowie re-titled Space Oddity
Wedding Album John Lennon and Yoko Ono -
10 Ballad of Easy Rider The Byrds -
Live/Dead Grateful Dead Live
21 To Our Children's Children's Children The Moody Blues -
24 Blue Afternoon Tim Buckley -
- A Way of Life The Family Dogg -
Eight Miles High Golden Earring -
Hollies Sing Hollies The Hollies -
Keynsham Bonzo Dog Band
Joe Cocker! Joe Cocker -
Joy of a Toy Kevin Ayers -
Manfred Mann Chapter Three Manfred Mann Chapter Three -
Monster Steppenwolf -
Mott the Hoople Mott the Hoople -
The Rod Stewart Album Rod Stewart US; released Feb. 13, 1970 in UK as An Old Raincoat Won't Ever Let You Down
Rock Salt & Nails Steve Young -
Town and Country Humble Pie -
The Turning Point John Mayall Live
Valentyne Suite Colosseum -
Volunteers Jefferson Airplane -
Your Saving Grace Steve Miller Band -

December[edit]

Day Album Artist Notes
5 Let It Bleed The Rolling Stones -
13 Touching You, Touching Me Neil Diamond -
18 Diana Ross Presents the Jackson 5 The Jackson 5 -
29 Grand Funk Grand Funk Railroad -
Okie from Muskogee Merle Haggard and the Strangers -
- The Best of Top of the Pops '69 Top of the Poppers Compilation
Blue Cheer Blue Cheer -
Concerto for Group and Orchestra Deep Purple & the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Live
Liege & Lief Fairport Convention -
Out Here Love -

Release Date Unknown[edit]

Biggest hit singles[edit]

The following songs achieved the highest chart positions in the charts of 1969.

# Artist Title Year Country Chart Entries
1 The Beatles Get Back 1969 United Kingdom UK 1 – Apr 1969, US BB 1 – May 1969, Canada 1 – Apr 1969, Netherlands 1 – Apr 1969, Switzerland 1 – Apr 1969, Norway 1 – May 1969, Germany 1 – May 1969, Éire 1 – May 1969, Australia 1 for 5 weeks Sep 1969, Australia Goset 1 – May 1969, RYM 6 of 1969, US CashBox 14 of 1969, US BB 21 of 1969, DDD 24 of 1969, Global 33 (5 M sold) – 1969, POP 33 of 1969, Europe 38 of the 1960s, Italy 46 of 1969, Virgin 64, Scrobulate 91 of British, OzNet 115, Germany 217 of the 1960s, WXPN 566, Acclaimed 1367
2 The Rolling Stones Honky Tonk Women 1969 United Kingdom UK 1 – Jul 1969, US BB 1 – Jul 1969, Switzerland 1 – Jul 1969, Éire 1 – Aug 1969, Australia 1 for 5 weeks Jan 1970, Australia Goset 1 – Aug 1969, US CashBox 2 of 1969, Canada 2 – Aug 1969, Norway 2 – Aug 1969, Germany 3 – Aug 1969, Netherlands 4 – Jul 1969, Australia 4 of 1969, RYM 4 of 1969, DDD 4 of 1969, US BB 8 of 1969, POP 8 of 1969, TheQ 27, Europe 50 of the 1960s, Italy 92 of 1969, Acclaimed 97, Rolling Stone 116, WXPN 189, Germany 209 of the 1960s
3 Zager & Evans In the Year 2525 (Exordium & Terminus) 1969 United States UK 1 – Aug 1969, US BB 1 – Jun 1969, Canada 1 – Jul 1969, Netherlands 1 – Aug 1969, France 1 – Mar 1970, Switzerland 1 – Aug 1969, Norway 1 – Aug 1969, Germany 1 – Aug 1969, Éire 1 – Sep 1969, Australia 1 for 1 weeks Jan 1970, Australia Goset 2 – Aug 1969, US CashBox 11 of 1969, Australia 19 of 1969, US BB 39 of 1969, RYM 60 of 1969, POP 75 of 1969, Europe 77 of the 1960s, Germany 109 of the 1960s
4 The Archies Sugar Sugar 1969 United States UK 1 – Oct 1969, US BB 1 – Aug 1969, US CashBox 1 of 1969, Canada 1 – Jul 1969, Norway 1 – Nov 1969, Germany 1 – Jan 1970, Éire 1 – Nov 1969, Switzerland 2 – Oct 1969, Netherlands 4 – Sep 1969, Australia Goset 5 – Aug 1969, France 8 – Feb 1970, South Africa 8 of 1969, US BB 10 of 1969, POP 10 of 1969, TOTP 26, Global 33 (5 M sold) – 1969, RYM 40 of 1969, Italy 70 of 1970, DDD 77 of 1969, Germany 157 of the 1960s, Acclaimed 1996
5 Elvis Presley Suspicious Minds 1969 United States US BB 1 – Sep 1969, Canada 1 – Sep 1969, Australia 1 for 3 weeks Jun 1970, Australia Goset 1 – Nov 1969, South Africa 1 of 1969, UK 2 – Nov 1969, Netherlands 6 – Oct 1969, France 6 – Mar 1970, Germany 8 – Jan 1970, Norway 10 – Feb 1970, Australia 16 of 1969, RYM 19 of 1969, Scrobulate 19 of oldies, Europe 22 of the 1960s, DDD 23 of 1969, POP 26 of 1969, Global 33 (5 M sold) – 1969, US BB 40 of 1969, Poland 40 – Aug 1999, US CashBox 43 of 1969, Acclaimed 60, Rolling Stone 91, WXPN 121, OzNet 156

Some top American and/or British hit singles[edit]

Published popular music[edit]

Classical music[edit]

Opera[edit]

Musical theater[edit]

Musical films[edit]

Louis Armstrong and Barbra Streisand sing in Hello, Dolly!

Births[edit]

Deaths[edit]

Awards[edit]

Grammy Awards[edit]

Eurovision Song Contest[edit]

Leeds International Piano Competition[edit]

Further reading[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]