Tag Archives: 1969

Cream – Badge (1969)

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Eric Clapton co-wrote ‘Badge’ with his pal George Harrison. And as with their earlier collaboration on the Beatles’ ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’, the pair swap guitar lines. ‘Badge’ ended up being Cream’s last charting single, never peaking above no.18 in the UK and no. 60 in the US. How is that possible?

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The Velvet Underground – Pale Blue Eyes (1969)

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And now for the come-down… three months after The Stones were chanting in ‘Sympathy For The Devil’, The VU released ‘Pale Blue Eyes’. It featured on the their self-titled third studio album. It was the first recording after John Cale’s departure from the band. Linger on…

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The Beatles – Something (1969)

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‘Something’ was written by George Harrison. John Lennon felt it was the best track on Abbey Road. If that wasn’t high praise enough, it was also Frank Sinatra’s favourite Beatles song and one of those sounds that put this Sceptred Isle on top of the world of pop music. Have a great weekend.

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Joni Mitchell – Both Sides Now (1969)

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And now for a slight change of style… Joni Mitchell’s 1969 album Clouds was a breakthrough work for the singer-songwriter. It featured two of her standards ‘Chelsea Morning’ and ‘Both Sides Now’. The truth is that I prefer a number of cover versions of the former; not so for ‘ Both Sides Now’ and its ice cream castles in the air. Have a great weekend.

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Crosby, Stills & Nash – Helplessly Hoping (1969)

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In May 1969, Atlantic Records released Crosby, Stills, and Nash’s self-titled debut album. A  month later, they released “Marrakesh Express” as the supergroup’s debut single. Its B-side, was the alliterate ‘Helplessly Hoping’, the achingly beautiful song penned Stephen Stills.

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The Rolling Stones – Gimme Shelter (1969)

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The Rolling Stones’ ‘Gimme Shelter’ off 1969’s Let It Bleed.

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Nick Drake – River Man (1969)

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‘River Man’ is the second song from Nick Drake’s 1969 album Five Leaves Left. Listen, absorb, cry. “Gonna see the river man/Gonna tell him all I can/About the plan/For lilac time.”

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Led Zeppelin – Whole Lotta Love (1969)

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This song needs no introduction. Have a great week.

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MC5 – Kick Out The Jams (1969)

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Before The Stooges released their self-titled long player and the classic proto punk single ‘I Wanna Be Your Dog’, MC5 had been kicking out the jams for almost year. These gents were right on the edge; they lived fast and often died young. Listening to their signature sound is a great way to clear the mind before a busy few days. ‘Kick Out The Jams’ is off their 1969 album of the same name. Have a great week.

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Isaac Hayes – Walk On By (1969)

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Isaac Hayes 1969

I woke up sounding like Isaac Hayes this morning. It’s unclear to me yet if this is something anyone’s been wondering about; but what the hell. I’m smokin’ coz it’s my birthday baby. Hot Buttered Soul is an extraordinary soul album – all the more so that it was released in 1969, before the sizzling 1970s.  It opens with the slow, stretched-out version of Burt Bacharach’s ‘Walk on By’. This track is an epic 12-minutes long and is as smooth and sticky as syrup. And all the while, the Bar-Kays are doing their instrumental, rhythmic thing in the background. Feel it and then have a good weekend.

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The Band – Whispering Pines (1969)

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The Band 1969

The Band that ignored the British invasion. This was more than just roots rock. Featuring on their eponymous follow up to the Music from Big Pink, ‘Whispering Pines’ makes great use of Richard Manuel’s plaintive vocals. Lyrical, vulnerable and expressive.

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Procol Harum – A Salty Dog (1969)

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The debut single ‘A Whiter Shade Of Pale’ was a confident start, to put it mildly. Two years later and the release of their third long player A Salty Dog, Procol Harum’s confidence had evolved into an exercise in prog rock-turning. With the title single, they unearthed a sound that would define a generation of prog.  At under five minutes running time, the lyrics and musicianship would combine to form a sound that would be further explored over the 90 plus minutes of Genesis’s masterpiece The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway, five years later.

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Jethro Tull – We Used to Know (1969)

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Jethro Tull

Now for something a little less derivative, but certainly more borrowed. Apparently, The Eagles opened for Jethro Tull once. Ian Anderson was kind enough to label the melody and solo in ‘Hotel California’ as a tribute to his band. ‘We Used to Know’ is off the classic 1969 album Stand Up.

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James Brown – Give It Up or Turnit A Loose (1969)

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James Brown 1969

Late start this morning – it’s a Monday, so give me a break… ‘Give It Up or Turnit a Loose’ is not only a funk classic recorded by James Brown in 1969, but it’s also the record that probably started the trend for breakdance, b-boys, block parties and hip hop culture. Its rhythmic breaks and classic refrains (“like a sex machine”, “now clap your hands!”, “in the jungle brother” etc.) lent themselves to the Merry-Go-Round (looping) that the pioneering DJs of New York were experimenting with in the late 1970s. And that’s the break.

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The Stooges – I Wanna Be Your Dog (1969)

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Iggy Pop

I begin and start the week with a couple of rippers. Today it’s a classic slice of raw power from The Stooges. Off their self-titled debut, ‘I Wanna Be Your Dog’ sounded like nothing else in 1969. The term proto-punk is often wastefully used, but when you listen to Iggy’s vocals combined with Ron Asheton’s ugly guitar runs, you have to tip your hat. Its three-chord riff played through damaged speakers with the amp cranked up to 11… it was cutting edge, but sawtoothed not straight. Have a great weekend.

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