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                           Muses on The Music

The Year of the Amazing Albums, Part II

May 23, 2019

        (Picking up where I left off last week, reconsidering the Who’s Tommy and the other outstanding albums released during 1969.)

        Tommy wasn’t the only notable album released in May 1969. Sly & the Family Stone’s Stand was one of the best-sellingest LPs of the ’60s, and ranks No. 118 on the Rolling Stone list. Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere was Neil Young’s first album to credit his long-time backing band, Crazy Horse; the Rolling Stone list has it at No. 208. California Bloodlines was the second album by former Kingston Trio member John Stewart, and ranks in the Top 200 on the Rolling Stone list.

        Crosby, Stills & Nash was the debut album for the supergroup of the same name, made up of former members of the Byrds, Buffalo Springfield and the Hollies, and spun off two Top 40 hits. Other debut albums that month came from country-rockers Poco and funk band the Meters. Two members of the soon-to-be disbanded Beatles released experimental, avant-garde albums that month.

        There will be plenty of other 50th album-release anniversaries during 2019. In June, it will be the Grateful Dead’s Aoxomoxoa, one of the first LPs recorded with 16-track technology; and Trout Mask Replica by Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band, an influential work in experimental music and art rock. The Soft Parade by the Doors will turn 50 in July.

        CCR’s Green River and super-hyped supergroup Blind Faith’s only album came out in August 1969. Abbey Road, the last studio album recorded by the Beatles, and considered by many to be their best, debuted in September. So did the Band’s eponymous second album, a classic and No. 45 on the Rolling Stone list.

        Turning 50 in October will be Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire) by the Kinks. Marking their 50th anniversaries in November will be the David Bowie LP that eventually took the name Space Oddity, CCR’s Willy and the Poor Boys, and Jefferson Airplane’s Volunteers.

        In December, Let It Bleed by the Rolling Stones — No. 32 on the Rolling Stone list — will turn 50. So will Okee from Muskogee by Merle Haggard and the Strangers, and Fairport Convention’s Liege & Lief, a landmark record in British folk rock.

        The year 1969 will also include 50th anniversaries for debut albums from a bunch of other significant artists and bands: the Allman Brothers, Mike Bloomfield, Blodwyn Pig, Jack Bruce, the Charlatans, Alice Cooper, Grand Funk Railroad, Humble Pie, Janis Joplin, Elton John, King Crimson, Mott the Hoople, Santana, Rod Stewart, the Stooges, Yes and Warren Zevon.

        A pretty impressive list of milestones. But if you consider the albums that almost ended up released in 1969 — the late-1968 rollouts of The Beatles (“the White Album”), the Stones’ Beggars Banquet, Astral Weeks by Van Morrison, The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society — one could indeed consider that 14-month period “The Year of the Album.”

 

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