By Ray Lemire|
This isn't a rant. It is one person's attempt to illustrate the highlights of what has been called both the decade of love and the decade of turbulance.
This one has been a labor of love.
It has taken countless hours of checking and rechecking sources, but in my mind (and I hope yours), it has been worth it.
This is no quick glance at 1960-1969...It is long, very long. Some events you will recall, others may have slipped away from your memory. You may not understand why I even attempted this, but hopefully, it will make you think about what happened back then, and why so much of it is important today.
A Timeline of The Sixties, featuring the key musical moments of that decade, plus the events that shaped our world....then and now
January - Bob Dylan, age 19, plays at the Wha in Greenwich Village and visits Woody Guthrie
Singer/songwriter Jesse Belvin dies in a car crash following a concert in February. Two months later Eddie Cochran dies at 21 in a car crash while on tour in England with Gene Vincent
March - The Shirelles launch the girl group era with "Will You Love Me Tomorrow" which manages to get sex back into songs under the veil of innocence
March - Elvis Presley is discharged from the Army and immediately scores a series of hit singles and albums upon his return
July - Sidney Cohen's survey of 5,000 individuals who had taken LSD 25,000 times concludes it is safe
Nov 9 - Brian Epstein first sees the Beatles
Dec - Birth Control Pills go on sale in the US
Feb 18 - Bertrand Russell, 89, leads march of 20,000 & sit-down of 5,000 anti-nuke outside U.K. Defense Ministry and is jailed for 7 days
Rock's second era begins in earnest with the debut of Del Shannon's "Runaway" which is the first pure unadorned and uptempo rocker to hit #1 on the Pop Charts in almost a year. The song also introduces the "musitron", an early form of the synthesizer
Apr 11 - Bob Dylan's first billed performance at Gerde's Folk City
May 28 - Amnesty International Founded
June - Frat Rock" begins to show up with Gary "US" Bonds hit "Quarter To Three" with its emphasis on a frenzied atmosphere rather than on intricate production
July - Ban The Bomb Demonstrations start worldwide
Sept 15 - U.S. starts underground nuclear testing
Oct - The Marvelettes "Please Mr. Postman" becomes the first #1 Pop hit released on a black owned and operated label - Motown
Oct 6 - President Kennedy advises Americans to build fallout shelters
Feb 16 - Boston SANE & fledgling SDS hold first anti-nuclear march on Washington with 4000-8000 protesters
Apr 25 - U.S. resumes atmospheric nuclear testing after 3 year moratorium
May - Ray Charles successfully melds country music with soul and crosses into the pop realm with the album "Modern Sounds In Country & Western Music"
Aug - The surf music craze, begun by instrumentalists in the previous few years, adds vocals when the Beach Boys score their first hit "Surfin' Safari"
Sept - Southern soul has its first major hit with the instrumental "Green Onions" by Booker T. & The MG's
Sept - The Four Seasons vocal harmonies explode on the scene with three consecutive #1 hits in the waning months of the year
Sept - Timothy Leary founds International Foundation for Internal Freedom (IFIF) to promote LSD research & publish The Psychedelic Review.
Oct 22 - Cuban Missile Crisis - Soviet missile bases in Cuba, Kennedy orders naval blockade
Nov - The pacific-northwest becomes a hotbed for "garage bands" such as The Sonics, The Kingsmen and The Wailers, which signals a more rebellious youthful aesthetic coming back to rock
The “Girl Group” sound explodes as Phil Spector becomes the dominant producer in rock, churning out hits by the Ronettes, Crystals and Darlene Love, while others such as Lesley Gore and The Chiffons top the charts as well
Motown leads a revitalization of R&B with huge successes by Martha & The Vandellas, The Miracles, Mary Wells, Marvin Gaye and the first hit by the 12 year old genius named "Little" Stevie Wonder
Jan - Alabama Gov. Wallace's "Segregation Forever" speech at inauguration
March - Wolfman Jack begins broadcasting via a half million watt radio station, XERF out of Mexico. The powerful "border radio" stations are famous for their wild on-air activities and powerful broadcast signals that allow them to be heard across the entire North American continent, making Wolfman Jack the most famous rock 'n' roll DJ in the world
July - Newport Folk Festival July 26-28, includes Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Phil Ochs and Pete Seeger
Aug 5 - First Nuclear Test Ban Treaty signed
Aug - Early records by The Beatles fail to make an impact in America when they are released by various companies who note the limited interest and decline to pick up their distribution option
Oct 13 – The Beatles appear on TV at The London Palladium. 15 million get to see them perform "She Loves You" and "Twist and Shout". It marks the official start of “Beatlemania”
Nov 22 - JFK Assassinated in Dallas, Texas, LBJ sworn in
Nov 22 - Aldous Huxley dies while tripping on LSD (intentionally!)
Nov 24 - LBJ escalates the Vietnam War
Nov 29 - Beatles "I Want to Hold Your Hand" released
Jan - Rock 'n' roll has its first major shakeup in nearly a decade when in late January, "I Want To Hold Your Hand" by The Beatles tops the US Pop charts
Feb 7 - Beatles arrive in New York to 10,000 screaming fans
Feb 9 - Beatles first appear on Ed Sullivan Show, 74 million people watch, the largest audience in the history of television
March - Bands from England flood American shores with the Merseybeat sound overtaking the airwaves through June, resulting in the term "The British Invasion"
Apr 23 - Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl
June - The next wave of the British Invasion featuring groups based in blues and R&B, such as the Rolling Stones, Kinks and Animals arrive, and their raunchier style quickly makes the more restrained pop-sounding Merseybeat bands obsolete (with the sole exception of The Beatles)
Aug - The second musical explosion of the year happens when Motown strikes back with its biggest hits to date by the Temptations, Four Tops and its newest group, The Supremes, who score three #1's in the final five months of the year
Aug - Beatles first U.S. tour: 25 North American cities
Aug 4 - Three missing civil rights workers found dead in Mississippi
Aug 11 - Beatles' A Hard Day's Night movie released
Nov 3 – Lyndon Johnson is reelected president in a landslide over Barry Goldwater. Johnson wins 486-52 in the electoral vote
Dec 10 - Sam Cooke, soul music's biggest star, is shot and killed by a woman at a hotel. It is rock music's most publicized casualty since Buddy Holly's death in early 1959
Time Magazine calls young people the "generation of conformists"
Jan 20 - Alan Freed, who coined the term "rock 'n' roll" and introduced it to white America a decade earlier, dies broke and forgotten at age 44 of alcoholism
Feb 8 - U.S. starts bombing North Vietnam
Feb 18 - Sect. of Defense Robert McNamara calls for nationwide network of bomb shelters
Feb 21 - Malcolm X shot and killed
Mar 6 - First American soldier officially sets foot on Vietnam battlefields
Mar 16 - Quaker Alice Herz, 82, immolates self in Detroit in protest of the Vietnam war
March - The civil rights battles in America are exemplified by "People Get Ready" by the Impressions
Mar 24 - SDS organizes first Vietnam War teach-in at Univ. of Michigan---3000 show up
Apr - 25,000 U.S. troops stationed in Vietnam
Apr 2 - Ken Kesey busted for marijuana first time
Apr 17 - SDS leads first anti-Vietwar march in Washington. 25,000 attend including Phil Ochs, Joan Baez and Judy Collins
May 14 - “Boss of the Bay,” KYA presents the Rolling Stones, the Byrds, Beau Brummels and Paul Revere and the Raiders at Civic Auditorium.
June – “Folk Rock” is ushered in by The Byrds doing a cover of "Mr. Tambourine Man", which helps introduce its author Bob Dylan to a wider audience
July 10 - Rolling Stones' I Can't Get No Satisfaction hits #1
July 24 - Bob Dylan's ‘Like A Rolling Stone’ enters charts
July 25 - Dylan plugs in at Newport Folk Festival and is booed off the stage
Aug - James Brown makes a startling and abrupt shift from pure soul to a rhythm-based new invention of his own making called "funk" with the hits "Papa's Got A Brand New Bag" and "I Got You"
Aug - Ken Kesey meets Hunter Thompson who introduces the Hells Angels to the Merry Pranksters
Aug 11 - Major race riot (6 days) in Watts, leaves 35 dead. Martha & The Vandellas "Dancing In Streets" from 1964, is used as a rallying cry, and Los Angeles DJ, The Magnificent Montague's slogan, "Burn Baby Burn" takes on new meaning as the community goes up in flames
Aug 13 - The Matrix, San Francisco’s first folk night club, opened at 3138 Fillmore in the Marina District. New band called “The Jefferson Airplane“ perform
Aug 13 - National Guard enters Watts riots in L.A.
Aug 14 - Sonny and Cher release "I Got You Babe"
Aug 31 - Burning draft cards becomes illegal
Sept 5 - San Francisco writer Michael Fallon applies the term "hippie" to the SF counterculture in an article about the Blue Unicorn coffeehouse, where LEMAR (Legalize Marijuana) & the Sexual Freedom League meet
Sept 25 - “Eve of Destruction”, sung by Barry McGuire, is at the top of the charts
Oct 16 - 100,000 anti-war protesters nationwide in 80 cities
Nov 22 - Bob Dylan marries Sarah Lowndes and moves to Woodstock, N.Y.
Dec 10 – The Warlocks become “The Grateful Dead,” and debut with the new name at the Fillmore Auditorium
Dec 25 - Timothy Leary busted for pot at the Mexican border
Jan 3 - The Psychedelic Shop head shop opens on Haight Street, S.F.
Jan 17 - B52 collides, drops 4 10-megaton H bombs on Spain, none explode. Cover-up follows
Jan 21 - First light show, Grateful Dead, 10,000 people in S.F.
Feb 19 - Jefferson Airplane and Big Brother and the Holding Company with Janis Joplin perform at the Fillmore
Mar 11 - Timothy Leary sentenced in Texas to 30 years for trying to cross into Mexico with a small amount of marijuana
March 19 – A strange booking indeed. Big Brother and the Holding Company appear at the Fire House. Sgt. Barry Sadler, who was to entertain, did not attend
Mar 25 - Anti-Vietnam war protests in NY bring out 25,000 on 5th Ave. Other protests in 7 US cities and 7 foreign cities
Apr - FBI releases file on LSD, drug gets bad press
Apr 12 - NY Stock Exchange hit with anti-war leaflets
Apr 16 - Timothy Leary busted by G. Gordon Liddy & FBI for possession of marijuana
April - Psychedelic rock music begins its meteoric climb as the Byrds "Eight Miles High and The Count Five's "Psychotic Reaction" bring the avant garde sound to the world
May 15 - Antiwar demonstration in D.C., 10,000 attend
June - Riots break out on the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles where rock 'n' roll club patrons and authorities clash. The event inspires the song, “For What It’s Worth”
July 29 - Bob Dylan is seriously injured in a motorcycle accident
Aug 5 – John Lennon says Beatles are more popular than Jesus
Aug 29 - The Beatles perform their final live concert at Candlestick Park in San Francisco
Sept - George Harrison goes to India for 6 weeks to study sitar with Ravi Shankar
Sept – The Beach Boys’ “Good Vibrations”, a completely different sound from their surfing music, shakes up the rock community. Paul McCartney sees it as a challenge to The Beatles
Sept - Rock 'n' roll proves too popular for mainstream television not to take advantage of and so a show based on a rock band called "The Monkees" debuts in the fall to high ratings. Debate rages over their qualifications as a real group despite the fact their first record hit #1 before the show was even on the air
Sept - Timothy Leary holds press conference at NY Advertising Club, announcing formation of a psychedelic religion - League for Spiritual Discovery ("Like every great religion of the past we seek to find the divinity within and to express this revelation in a life of glorification and the worship of God. These ancient goals we define in the metaphor of the present—turn on, tune in, drop out”)
Nov 5 - Walk for Love and Peace and Freedom: 10,000 + in New York City
Nov 8 – In the race for California Governor, Ronald Reagan defeats incumbent Gov. Edmund G. Brown by almost one million votes
Dec - Cream's first album, “Fresh Cream” is released
Rock music becomes the counter-culture seal of approval as psychedelia hits and San Francisco becomes the focal point of the new rock era with groups such as Jefferson Airplane, Big Brother & The Holding Company and The Grateful Dead entering into the mainstream
Jan 14 - Gathering of the Tribes, First Human Be-In, 20,000, S.F.
Feb - 25,000 US troops sent to Cambodian border
Feb - Beatles release "Strawberry Fields Forever"
Mar - Scientists report LSD causes chromosome damage
Mar - The Berkeley Barb starts the smokable banana rumor (based upon Donovan's song "Mellow Yellow")
Mar 3 - Alice B. Toklas dies
Apr 10 - Vietnam Week starts. Draft card burnings and anti-draft demonstrations
Apr 15 - Anti-Vietnam War protest. 400,000 march from Central Park to UN. Speeches by Martin Luther King, Stokely Carmichael and Dr. Benjamin Spock
May - Paul McCartney announces that all the Beatles have "dropped acid."
May 20 - Flower Power Day in NYC 1967
June 2 – “Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band” album by the Beatles is released. It becomes a cultural benchmark and wins the Grammy for "Album Of The Year", the first rock record given that award
June 16-18 - The Summer Of Love kicks off with the first rock festival at Monterey, California featuring explosive performances by The Who, Otis Redding and the American debut of the Jimi Hendrix Experience
June 21 - Summer Solstice Party in Golden Gate Park
June 25 - Beatles sing "All You Need Is Love" on TV
June 30 - 448,400 US troops now in Vietnam
July - The Summer of Love in San Francisco
July - Summer of Rioting in the US. Blacks take to the streets in Chicago, Brooklyn, Cleveland and Baltimore
July 21 - The Doors first album hits #2 and its lead single "Light My Fire" reaches #1, making it the most successful debuts of the late 60's
Aug 26 - Jimi Hendrix's "Are You Experienced" hits the charts
Aug 27 - Beatles in India with Maharishi where they are informed of manager Brian Epstein's death
Oct 3 - Woody Guthrie dies
Oct 8 - Che Guevarra killed in Bolivia by US-trained troops
Oct 12 - Big Brother and the Holding Company's "Cheap Thrills" with Janis Joplin at top of LP charts
Oct 20 - Seven KKK members convicted of conspiracy in 1964 murders of three civil rights worker
Oct 21-22 - Anti-war protesters storm the Pentagon
Dec - 486,000 American troops in Vietnam, of the 15,000 killed to date, 60% died in 1967
Dec - "Stop the Draft" movement organized by 40 antiwar groups, nationwide protests ensue
Dec 5 - 1000 antiwar protesters try to close NYC induction center. 585 arrested including Allen Ginsberg and Dr. Benjamin Spock
Dec 10 - Otis Redding dies in a plane crash, just 3 days after recording what would be his biggest hit, "Dock Of The Bay". He was just 26 years old.
Jan 16 - Youth International Party (Yippies) founded
Feb - Beatles go to India to visit Maharishi Mahesh Yogi at Rishikesh on the Ganges River
Feb 8 - George Wallace announce candidacy for President on law and order platform
Mar 12 - Eugene McCarthy wins 42% of New Hampshire vote in presidential primary
Mar 16 - My Lai massacre 200 - 500 Vietnamese villagers killed
Mar 16 - Robert F. Kennedy announces candidacy for President
Mar 31 - LBJ announces decision not to run again and offers partial Vietnam bombing halt
Apr 4 - Martin Luther King shot and killed in Memphis. The week following King's murder sees black uprisings in 125 cities across the U.S.
Apr 6 - Oakland Police ambush Black Panthers. Eldridge Cleaver arrested with a bullet-shattered leg. Bobby Hutton shot and killed
Apr 8 - Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs established (DEA)
Apr 11 - Major call-up of reserves for duty in Vietnam
Apr 14 - Love-in at Malibu Canyon, Calif
Apr 15 - Start of Spring Mobilization against the Vietnam war
Apr 23 - SDS lead students take over 5 buildings at Colombia Univ for a week. 700 arrested
Apr 29 - The rock musical HAIR opened on Broadway at the Biltmore Theater
May - Soul music has its biggest year ever with all 20 R&B #1 hits that year falling into the "soul" category as the music takes on a greater overall prominence in society following the assassination of Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King
May 10 - Vietnam peace talks begin in Paris
June 5 - Bobby Kennedy assassinated by Sirhan Sirhan, just moments after winning California primary
June 14 - Dr. Benjamin Spock convicted of conspiracy to aid draft evasion
June - Motown responds to the growing influence of deeper soul and the psychedelic soul of Sly and The Family Stone by pushing its own artists towards a less pop-friendly style, resulting in major hits by Marvin Gaye and The Temptations
June - The term "heavy metal" first appears in the Steppenwolf song "Born To Be Wild"
July 1 - Nuclear nonproliferation treaty signed by 61 nations
Aug 1 - 541,000 U.S. Troops in Vietnam
Aug 8 – Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew nominated at the Republican Convention during Miami riots
Aug 20 - Soviets invade Czechoslovakia
August 25-29 - Democratic Convention in Chicago demonstrations & police riot 10,000 +/- demonstrators vs. 11,000 Chicago police; 6,000 National Guard; 7,500 U.S. army troops; and 1,000 FBI, CIA & other services agents
Aug 28 – Hubert Humphrey and Edmund Muskie nominated amid violent antiwar protests in Chicago. Bystanders and press also beaten by police
Sept - Turbulence within the Beatles doesn't hurt their appeal as they score their biggest single ever, "Hey Jude", and use their creative differences to their advantage by releasing a double LP comprised of each members individual contributions that comes to be known as "The White Album"
Nov 5 – Richard Nixon is elected President, defeating Hubert Humphrey by only seven-tenths of a percentage point. Nixon claims 301 electoral votes to Humphrey’s 191. Independent candidate George Wallace receives 46
Nov - After defining the harder blues based rock "super-group", Cream gives its final performance at the Royal Albert Hall in England and breaks up shortly thereafter
Dec 3 - After spending most of the decade wallowing in lackluster film projects, Elvis Presley returns to prominence in a highly rated television show later dubbed "The '68 Comeback Special" in which, dressed completely in leather, he performs his old hits in explosive fashion. The sit-down segment of the show is later used as the prototype for MTV's "Unplugged" series
Jan 12 – Hard rock fully emerges from the experimentation's of the past few years as Led Zeppelin releases their first album
Jan 28 - Santa Barbara, Ca. oil well blowout
Jan 29 - The Beatles perform in public for the final time as a group in an impromptu rooftop jam session in England
Feb 13 - 33 students arrested at Administration building sit-in at Univ of Mass
Feb 18 - Students seize building and boycott started at Howard University
Feb 24 - Students occupy Administration building at Penn State
Feb 27 - Police charge student picket lines, club and arrest two Chicano leaders at U.C. Berkeley
Feb 27 - Thousands rampage thru nine buildings at U of Wisconsin, Madison over black enrollments
March - The Doors lead singer Jim Morrison is arrested for indecent exposure during a concert in Miami
Mar 20 - James Earl Ray sentenced to 99 years for murder of Martin Luther King Jr.
Apr - 543,000 US troops now in Vietnam
Apr 4 - Smothers Brothers Show canceled because it is too controversial
Apr 9 - 300 Harvard students led by SDS seize University Hall and evict eight deans
Apr 23 - Sirhan Sirhan sentenced to death for murder of Bobby Kennedy
Apr 24 - U.S. B-52s launch biggest attack on North Vietnam. Protests in 40 cities
May - The Who release "Tommy", the first widely successful "rock-opera"
May 15 - Hippies in People's Park in Berkeley attacked by police and Nat'l Guard
July - Stephen Gaskin starts The Farm Commune in Tennessee.
July 3 - Brian Jones, just weeks after leaving The Rolling Stones, dies
July 14 – “Easy Rider” premieres
July 20 - Men walk on the Moon
August – The Beatles record their final album
Aug 9-10 - Sharon Tate & LaBiancas found murdered by Charles Manson and his followers
August 15 - 17 Woodstock Festival 500,000 people gathered for three days of music and peace that changed the world. Four short months later, the peace would be broken.
Aug 26 - FBI reports 98% increase in marijuana arrests from 1966 - 1968
Sept – With “Suspicious Minds”, Elvis Presley scores his 18th, and final, #1 Pop Hit of his career
Sept 3 - Ho Chi Min, leader of North Vietnam, dies
Sept 24 - Chicago Eight trial begins. Tom Hayden, Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin and others are charged with conspiracy to incite riots
Oct 8-11 - The Weatherman "Days of Rage"
Oct 15 - Peace Day. 500,000 protesters nationwide. First Vietnam Moratorium
Oct 21 - Jack Kerouac, beat author of "On the Road" dies
Oct 22 – Led Zeppelin releases their second album. Featuring songs such as “Whole Lotta Love”, “Heartbreaker” and “Ramble On”, it becomes one of the best selling albums of the year
Oct 30 - Supreme Court orders desegregation nationwide
Nov 15 - 500,000 + march in Wash. DC for peace. Largest antiwar rally in U.S. history. Speakers: McCarthy, McGovern, Coretta King, Dick Gregory, Leonard Bernstein. Singers: Arlo Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Peter, Paul, & Mary, John Denver, Mitch Miller, touring cast of Hair
Nov 24 - Lt. William Calley charged with murdering 102 So. Vietnamese civilians at My Lai
Nov 25 - President Nixon orders all US germ warfare stockpiles destroyed
Dec - Over 100,000 US troops dead or injured in Vietnam
Dec 1 - First draft lottery since W.W.II held in NYC
Dec 8 - Raid on Black Panther headquarters in LA - four hour shoot-out
Dec 6 - Rolling Stones "Altamont" concert erupts in violence, one spectator killed. The “peaceful sixties” end with an act of violence
Ray Lemire has over 15 years in the radio business. After broadcasting over 1,000 high school games for several Vermont and New Hampshire radio stations, he decided it was time to 'come back home' to Springfield so he could pretend to be a DJ. You can hear him sing twice an hour during the 'Heather & Ray Show' weekdays from 6:00-9:00 on WNBX 1480 AM.
You can read more of Ray's Rants by clicking on the Ray's Rants icon on the WNBX Home Page.
Check out the WNBX site at: http://www.wnbx1480.com/index.php
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