With a gift voucher I bought the ACE compilation CDs curated by Jon Savage dealing with years from the sixties.
I’d be very interested in your top 10 singles from 1968 and any memories of them you wish to share. I was only 3 so everything I know of this period is through the media and I know from the eras I do remember that the narrative can be subject to revisionism.
1968 I was 15 years old living in San Francisco and experiencing the hippies and the Summer of Love. The music was playing on a radio station called ksan. Music that was playing on the radio Ten Years After Donovan Humble Pie Janice Jefferson Chambers Brothers. Normal was attempting to legalize marihuana. We went to concerts at the Fillmore and Winterland. Underground comix were big. The concert venues had colored lights AKA lights shows and small handbills of the upcoming concerts. The Rolling Stone magazine had come out the year before and was printed in San Francisco and in 1968 Tower Records open their San Francisco store. It’s hard to really identify what music I appreciated since new bands from both the US and the UK were coming out with albums every week. The Beatles we’re probably the number one group with Dylan and Joni playing the folk rock and Jimi Hendrix playing his own style of music. On the west coast we had the Beach Boys and Crosby Stills Nash & Young. Cars we’re really big and fast and you could customize them them. Oh yeah you needed to put in an 8-track tape player and maybe upgrade to an FM radio. The stereo stores would sell receivers turntables and speakers as a system. Pioneer Kenwood Sansui we’re popular along with JBL AR Bose and of course dual turntables. Patchouli oil and incense we’re in the air and Beads hung and everyone’s doorway. Melted candles in wine bottles and ferns along with tie-dyed curtains and bedspreads dominated. Drugs at that time for the most part consisted of Mexican weed mushrooms and LSD. Thinking back looking back the Grateful Dead we’re extremely popular in the Bay Area. The book titled the electric acid Kool-Aid test came out in 68 and was real popular as it chronicled Ken Kesey and the merry Pranksters. There was really too many things going on there was protesting there was a war everyday something was new and exciting. Jobs we’re plentiful and paid enough 2 cover your rent and food along with Your Entertainment. It was a summer when I fell in love for the first time with a 14 year old girl. She came back into my life 6 years ago. When I close my eyes and kiss her it’s like I’m 15 and it’s 1968. Peace love and happiness everybody.
I was a bit young at 13-14, and only just starting to hear non-classical music I liked. Nothing really stood out specifically fixing it to that year for me, unlike 1969 or 1970, but checking the year for these I do remember songs like:
Scaffold Lily the Pink
Kinks Waterloo Sunset
Fleetwood Mac Black Magic Woman
Beatles Hey Jude & Revolution
Manfred Mann Mighty Quinn
Steppenwolf Born to be Wild
Many others I like from that year but didn’t become aware until a year or two later, by interest in rock music developing rapidly from 1968 to 1969, and rapid growth once I made my first hifi system in 1969 - but that is irrelevant to this thread as they are not memories from 1968.
In 68 my listening away from home or in my bedroom was on a pocket transistor radio - truly pocket size radios being still a novelty, and still shrinking. Awful sound quality through the 2” speaker, but I don’t recall that bothering me! (I didn’t hear bass until my hifi system the next year.) Alternative was an earpiece - piezo IIRC, hard plastic not silicone like modern ones - but you could listen surreptitiously. Better sound quality was my one of my parents’ valve radios. At that point I was learning about music reproduction and speakers etc, and when I found a dumped valve radio I took its speaker (5” I think), and built a small cabinet for it: it sounded a bit better than the one in my parents’ radio - and even better when I used the two together, which I called mock stereo. Best radio station was Luxembourg, but could only pick it up at night. Otherwise (IIRC) Radio Caroline.
In terms of the music, there was something exciting in the air, new things that weren’t the same as the staple pop fodder of the earlier part of the decade, and there was something subversive about listening to those two radio stations. The Beatles’ Revolution was a seminal record to the small group of friends I hung out with.
I was 13 and starting to discover the world outside Beatles and some swedish bands. Via parents contacts we went to many recordings of Tv pop-shows here in Stockholm … but the first real concert was not far from where I lived and it was the infamous Hendrix concert where they pulled the plug on the band because they played to long - kept the visitors from paying for carousels and whatever. But I still remember many of the songs and the cool sound of the guitar.
I am pretty sure it also was my first year with a stereo. My parents wanted me to get an interest (and stay away from their gramophone) so they allowed the store to pick a good system with then new components. Pioneer 2x15W, Lenco L75 with a Shure pickup (I think) and Sonab OA5 omni-directionals. It was good enough to bring me through a journey of music for the next 8 yesrs, I discovered classical etc (the first classical I bought was Beethoven played by Kempff) and even musique concrete (Apocalypse de Jean by Pierre Hanry). And lots of Zappa.
Beside Beatles and 68. These are ones I remember - mostly from albums. There are lots more my memory keep hidden (for very good reasons).
Message to You and Massachusetts (sorry!) - Bee Gees
Lets dance - Ola and the Janglers
Those were the days - Mary Hopkins
Fire - Arthur Brown
Hello I love you - Doors
Light my Fire -Feliciano
Mighty Quinn - Manfred Mann
White Room - Cream
At the end of 1968 I was 17 and from the link I remember hearing 28 of those songs on the list. With the vast majority of them on the radio.
The only album that I remember owning in 1968 from the listing was “Big Brother and The Holding Company” which of course featured Janis Joplin. I absolutely loved that album and picked it up as soon as it was released in that summer of '68.
Others on the listing that I believe got a lot of air time and left a lingering memory were:
Dionne Warwickwick - Do You Know The Way To San Jose
Aretha Franklin - I Say A Little Prayer
Steppenwolf - Magic Carpet Ride
The Rascals - People Got To Be Free
The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown - Fire
Sly & The Family Stone - Everyday People
Otis Redding - Hard To Handle
James Carr - Freedom Train
Spirit - I Got A Line On You
Tommy James & The Shondells - Crimson And Clover
The Temptations - Cloud Nine
What I remember from the sixties was a lot death, war, assassinations, riots, high school, music, playing sports, part time jobs, hippies, bell bottom pants, long hair, Woodstock, drinking beer, diet pills, some weed and having sex for the first time. Some lows and highs and fortunate to still be around. oh, and I should mention the ‘Cardiac Kids’ - The 1967 Red Sox, which I did get tickets for games 1, 2 and 6 and we lost game 7. It was a magical journey that spring, summer, and fall!
1968 was still a magical year (though a bit less so than 1967 or '66) when almost every time you switched on the radio something wonderful tumbled out. Choosing 10 is tricky, but…
Jimi Hendrix - All Along The Watchtower
The Monkees - Alternate Title
Los Bravos - Bring A Little Lovin’ (it was an Easybeats cover)
Barry Ryan - Eloise
R Dean Taylor - Gotta See Jane
Traffic - Hole In My Shoe
Boeing Duveen & The Beautiful Soup - Jabberwock (Boeing Duveen went on to be Hank Wangford!)
The First Edition - Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)
Nirvana - Rainbow Chaser
Small Faces - Tin Soldier
Classics IV - Spooky
Sly & The Family Stone - Dance To The Music
Traffic - Paper Sun
Eclection - Mark Time
Pink Floyd - It Would Be So Nice
Rolling Stones - Jumping Jack Flash
Easybeats - Good Times
Beach Boys - Do It Again
Move - Fire Brigade
Mason Williams - Classical Gas
Julie Driscoll & Brian Auger Trinity - The Wheel’s On Fire
And a lot of other worthies. Just don’t get me started on '67.
I was 15/16 and could not reliably date much so searched and found this http://www.uk-charts.top-source.info/top-100-1968.shtml
September was the start of fifth form and GCE, I worked in Macfisheries on Saturday for 17s 4d and tended to save for LPs rather than singles but was a junior leader at youth club so every title has a connection.
We had the Dugout club, Colston Hall, Granary. NEVER the Locarno or Mecca. Folk clubs abounded, in particular the Troubador.
About that time I graduated from Perdio trannie to a Garrard SP25, possibly a Sinclair kit and a Whitely Stentorian 10-12 in a 3 cubic foot cabinet.
I was 13 in 68, and probably just left school. Our family was breaking down and my sister and I were living with my mother in the inner city. I enjoyed that experience and it opened my eyes to other ideas. Music was some local bands but the Beatles were my major influence, especially from St. Pepper onward.
I was very much ‘there’ in 1968. But I don’t think I fit the bill for this thread as I had no interest in pop music, it was cool to despise it in my circle & I did not buy singles
It was all albums for me with the main interest in collecting albums & in some cases singles of the old original blues & folk singers from USA, & had been doing this throughout the 60’s.
I went to most all the venues around the country & in London especially & saw all the bands, too many to mention but enough to say I can’t think of any I didn’t see & many of which are now part of rock/folk/jazz/blues folklore. I’ll admit to seeing the Beatles a few times & many other groups & people who populated pop/hit parade.
I played guitar with a few local bands on & off, I also played trumpet with brass & dance bands & a classical ensemble on & off. I helped out at local folk & blues clubs & repaired a lot of cables & fixed a bunch of electric lash-ups.
1968 apart, I was there during all the 60’s, I did it all & remember it all, it was the best time ever & I wish I could go back & do it all again.
I was a tad young, and wished I was about 3 years older. Not to experience the early 60s, which musically held no interest, but to more fully experience 67 onwards, only really old enough to start participating from 69. I would love to go back in time and relieve, say, that time through to mid 70s, with so much fantastic music and not enough time (or resources) to experience it all - though even better to go back in time but just a few years older to experience it more fully!
I was 17 in 1968 and it was a wonderful time to be that age. I left school the year before and was living in Dartford and commuting to my job in central London. I had a stereo of sorts - a Regentone record player with a detachable lid that had a second speaker in it so there was a rudimentary form of stereo if you put your head between the speakers. I was already into the blues, thanks to Simon Raven on pirate radio and carried my harmonica with me everywhere but 1968 was the year when my horizons expanded to include psychedelia - most significantly the Grateful Dead but also Beefheart, Hendrix, Joplin etc.
The best thing about 1968 was that my rail ticket for work meant I could afford to go up to London pretty much every night to see live music. Lots of legendary stuff at the Albert Hall, Roundhouse, Marquee Club etc… Bands like Led Zeppelin, Jethro Tull, and Fleetwood Mac were still playing pubs and local colleges and I saw them all as well as blues legends such as Muddy Waters, Howling Wolf and Fred McDowell.
Happy daze (psychedelic enhancement was the cherry on the cake) …
Muddy Waters and his band were in town for a concert at, (I think), The Rainbow, and the day before they were due to appear, word went round that they were doing a warmup rehearsal gig at Dingwalls in Camden.
Hotfoot across London, and, sure enough, there they were, onstage, and doing the equivalent of a Chicago blues club set … truly memorable!