Tag Archives: 1968

Deep Purple – Hush (1968)

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‘Hush’ was originally written by Joe South for a 1967 recording by Billy Joe Royal. A year later, Deep Purple covered it for release on their debut album Shades Of Deep Purple.  While they kept the “Hush, hush, I thought I heard her calling my name” lyric, the band’s version was all about the arrangements; so much so that one its most memorable lines is “Na nana na na na nananana”. The organ riff would surface again in 1990 when The Charlatans lifted it for their hit single ‘The Only One I Know’. Have a great week.

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Scott Walker – Jackie (1968)

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The passionate and mahogany tones of Scott Walker… R.I.P. In 1968, the single ‘Jackie’ was released in advance of his sophomore solo album Scott 2, was quickly banned by the BBC and subsequently went to Number 1 in the UK charts. “Stupid-ass”… very rude.

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Johnny Thunder – I’m Alive (1968)

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Johnny wasn’t always Mr. Thunder. He was born Gil Hamilton in Florida, where he started singing in church at an early age. After working with the ever changing touring party of The Drifters and singing backing for Dionne Warwick, his break came in 1963 with a novelty version of the nursery song ‘Loop de Loop’. But it was in 1968 that he recorded the song that should have made him a household name. Thunder released ‘I’m Alive’. At the time, Bob Dylan referred to it as “one of the most powerful records I’ve ever heard”.

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Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell – You’re All I Need To Get By (1968)

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Happy Valentines! You’re All I Need was the second and final studio album by soul royalty Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell. Terrell’s untimely death robbed us of one of the greatest double acts in soul history. The title track ‘You’re All I Need to Get By’ was written by Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson.

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The Rolling Stones – Sympathy For The Devil (1968)

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Happy New Year listeners! It’s been 50 years since The Rolling Stones released Beggars Banquet. I was reminded last night what a sensational album it is. Not only does the album feature the brilliant ‘No Expectations’, ‘Jigsaw Puzzle‘ (which is one of my Desert Island Discs), ‘Street Fighting Man’ and ‘Stray Cat Blues’, but it also opens with the balls-to-the-wall classic ‘Sympathy For The Devil’ and its “ooh ooh” chorus. That chorus features Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Brian Jones, Bill Wyman, Nicky Hopkins, Marianne Faithfull, Jimmy Miller and Anita Pallenberg. That is what I call a party.

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The Band – The Weight (1968)

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The hugely influential ‘The Weight’ was written by Robbie Robertson. The Band released the song as a single and on their 1968 album Music From Big Pink. Rock music would never be quite the same again. Have a great weekend.

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The Beach Boys – Little Bird (1968)

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The ballad harmonies are there for sure, the chamber strings… tick, but what makes this track that stands out from The Beach Boys’ previous work is its spiritual funk. It also said to the creative genius Brian Wilson that his brother Dennis could create a pearl too.

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The Kinks – Monica (1968)

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The song ‘Monica’ appeared on The Kinks’ 1968 album The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society. It was written and sung by Ray Davies, who suggestively admits more than affection for Monica, the village prostitute – and all to an apt calypso-style arrangement.

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Sly & The Family Stone – Everyday People (1968)

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The classic single ‘Everyday People’ from Sly & The Family Stone. This was 1968 – an annus mirabilis for popular music. Different strokes for different folks. The song would feature on their 1969 album Stand.

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Freddie Chavez – They’ll Never Know Why (1968)

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A huge tune in the halcyon days of the legendary Wigan Casino, this dance floor filler was recorded by soul musician and bandleader Freddie Chavez. This pressing was rare, touched by latino horns and blessed with rarity. Northern Soul glory.

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Jacques Dutronc – Il Est Cinq Heures, Paris S’Éveille (1968)

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This gentleman is the epitome of cool. In the 1960s, the cigar-chomping Jacques Dutronc was the embodiment of French pop chic. In 1967/1968, he had a string of hits including “It’s five o’clock, Paris is waking”. An early contemporary of Johnny Hallyday, married to Françoise Hardy and a drinking buddy of Serge Gainsbourg… his is a Gallic life lived en plein.

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Van Morrison – Sweet Thing (1968)

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In this week leading up to Christmas, I will feature some tracks that need no introduction.
Van Morrison’s ‘Sweet Thing’ off 1968’s Astral Weeks.

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Aretha Franklin – I Say A Little Prayer (1968)

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In 1968, Aretha Franklin was at one of her early peaks. The Bacharach & David-penned song ‘I Say a Little Prayer’ was the second track on Aretha Now, the album pressed by Atlantic Records. Aretha came up with the arrangement,for a song that had been a hit for Dionne Warwick the year before. Bacharach later said that he liked Aretha’s version the best. As for the album, the first three songs were ‘Think’, ‘I Say a Little Prayer’ and ‘See Saw’. Not too shoddy, then.

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The Impressions – Stay Close To Me (1968)

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Close to you, close to me… get it? The pressing of the LP This Is My Country looks and reads as if it should be a protest album by Chicago-based The Impressions. However, aside of the title track, the album was anything but. For example, the Curtis Mayfield-penned track ‘Stay Close To Me’ sounds more like upbeat Motown than gritty Chicago soul. In fact, The Five Stairsteps & Cubie version would become a Northern Soul dance floor staple. Both records were released in 1968 on Mayfield’s Curtom Records label. Have a great weekend.

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Françoise Hardy – Comment Te Dire Adieu? (1968)

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Singer-songwriter, fashion icon, muse, Françoise Madeleine Hardy was a leading figure of the French music scene in the 1960s. By the latter part of that decade, she was working with such luminaries as Leonard Cohen and Serge Gainsbourg. ‘Comment Te Dire Adieu?’ is a composition by the latter and features on her untitled 1968 album, which has become also known by the title of the opening song. Smouldering lounge sounds and yé-yé.

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