Saturday, July 18, 2015

Retro Favorite Albums: 1967

So, 1967 many say is the year Prog came, or the year the album became the focus over the single. Or the year Psych rock dominated, or rather started to dominate. And all those more or less were true.

Compared to '65 and '66, there is a lot more depth among my favorites, but at the same time, there's still many records on this list that I know the radio hits or I know for their reputation and influence more than most of the music themselves.

The Doors - The Doors
rel January 4,1967

Break on Through (To the Other Side), Light My Fire and The End are the 3 classic tracks on this debut album. "Back Door Man" is another I know some people think of as well which is actually a Willie Dixon cover.

The Monkees - More of The Monkees
rel January 9, 1967

The follow-up to their S/T debut just released a few months before. This album includes hits like "I'm a Believer" "Mary Mary" (Nesmith written, and covered by among others, Run D MC in the 80's) "I'm Not Your Steppin' Stone" and "She."

This was the 1st of 3 LPs from The Monkees in this calendar year, and while I probably lean like the rateyourmusic Chart for it being the worst of the 3, it still includes a lot of their best songs.

The Rolling Stones - Between the Buttons
rel February 11, 1967

The American edition includes 2 of their most well known tracks in "Let's Spend the Night Together" and "Ruby Tuesday" and I recall this album making that 1967-1987 Rolling Stone magazine top 100 albums.

Although I'll admit, I don't have much familiarity with the UK track list.

Jefferson Airplane - Surrealistic Pillow
rel February 1967

This album is known for "White Rabbit" and "Somebody to Love" which became radio staples. I do know the people into them and the Northern California Psych scene of that period, swear by this album as one of the classic and most influential for that genre of music. And I do have it on vinyl, inheriting my folks copy.

The Jimi Hendrix Experience - Are You Experienced
rel May 12, 1967

Not my favorite Jimi Hendrix album, but I won't deny it is a classic and has many of his best tunes. From "Red House" to "Foxy Lady" to "Fire" to "Manic Depression." And then the title track which I still more or less consider my favorite Hendrix tune. I love the opening riff, so majestic and colorful. "Have you ever been experienced?..."

edit: but like many albums of this time, the American edition included plenty of other great tracks like "Purple Haze" to "Hey Joe" to "Wind Cries Mary" and "Third Stone from the Sun"

"Can You See Me" and "I Don't Life Today" are a couple others.

Honestly, this could have easily been an Album of the Year, in another year. Easily a 4.5-star record and a classic.

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The Monkees - Headquarters
rel May 22, 1967

The album the band in 2014 featured on tour, and while it doesn't have as many radio hits, it seems to be the 1st real "band" album for them. Some of the tunes are still among their better ones like "You Told Me," "You Just May Be the One,""Randy Scouse Git," and "Shades of Gray."

"For Pete's Sake" also maybe is best known as the track in the closing credits on the show.

"Zilch" is another track with notoriety with the layer of spoken phrases, most notably the name "Mr.Bob Dobalina" which was used in among things, a Psych episode (although I'm pretty sure 99.99% of all Psych fans including the "Psych-O's" have next to no clue about, and my Monkees-lifer fiancee let me know of on multiple occasions).

It also seems Mike has more of a prominent role on this album, which may be why when he rejoined them live a couple of years ago, they featured it.

The Beatles - Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
rel June 1, 1967

Honestly, this is the only album from this what seems like, historic year, I rate at 5-stars. And the 5-stars is rightfully so as this is an all-time favorite of mine. The 1st album I owned on Vinyl going back to 1987.  And I wrote a lengthly amount about it last year HERE.

But for the sake of small details, my favorites being "A Day in the Life" which may be the first progressive rock tune ever released. The opening title track, "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" "Getting Better" "Within You Without You" (love the mystical, dreamy element to that one), 'Being for the Benefit of Mr.Kite" "She's Leaving Home"..

I imagine I'll love this record til the day I die.

I also wonder about that idea I wrote about last year with it's concept, not so much if there is a concept, but what the concept is being about a fictional band in a fictional world, etc.

I can only imagine hearing Are You Experienced and then this within weeks of each other must have been quite amazing.

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Pink Floyd - The Piper at the Gates of Dawn
rel August 5, 1967

The Syd Barret Floyd I've always loved,. And while I do enjoy this album, I also like to think of it with the extra singles that came out in that remaster/boxed set, to add to its quality. In other words, in '67 when this dropped, I don't think I'd have rated/ranked it as high as the Deluxe Edition that was released in 2007.

Because, frankly a couple of those singles: "Arnold Layne" and "See Emily Play" off the top of my head, are 2 of the best tunes Floyd and Syd ever made.

edit: the other songs I'm now remembering from the singles/b-sides "Candy and Currant Bun" "Apples and Oranges" and "Paintbox" I totally got won over by a few years back.

But to add to, I do appreciate stuff like "Interstellar Overdrive" "Bike" 'Astronomy Domine" and maybe the most underrated album track in "Flaming" So playful, yet trippy and dreamy.

The Beach Boys - Smiley Smile
rel September 18, 1967

This ain't "Smile" but it includes some versions of tunes for Smile. And it does include "Good Vibrations" of course. But the criticism of it for decades I can follow, but at the same time, to imagine being a Beach Boys fan in '67 after Pet Sounds, this still would have been one to enjoy.

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Procol Harum - Procol Harum
rel September 1967

In reading, this is Procol Harum's debut record, and it was released with different tracklist on the American edition, which of course includes their most well known track and 1st single "A Whiter Shade of Pale."

Although I'll admit again to not being as familiar with a number of their early records (I mainly know some of individual tracks, "In Held Twas in I" namely per Transatlantic's cover).

So my feeling could change on how high I'd rate this, but for now I consider at least an important album in terms of influence, if not my own taste at this point.

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The Monkees - Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones LTD
rel November 6, 1967

Among the 3 Monkees albums in '67, I would rate this the highest. For one, it has "Pleasant Valley Sunday" which is a favorite of mine. It also includes "A Doorway into Summer" "Going Down" "Star Collector" and "Salesman."

It seems they were really starting to experiment more at this point, which eventually lead to my favorite Monkees album Head. Also I imagine the influence hanging out with The Beatles and even Jimi Hendrix among many others, ended up influencing their music more.

edit: well in speaking with the fiancee, it wasn't so much that, as this album was a separation after the experience with Don Kirshner and Headquarters earlier in the year along with More of the Monkees where the band actually had no idea it was to be released. So this album ended up being a success almost at a price in that the guys just went off on their own to write and actually record songs. I.e. Mike didn't ask Peter to play on some of his songs, which Peter was surprised by I guess.

Cream - Disreali Gears
rel November 10, 1967

'Strange Brew" and "Sunshine of Your Love" the 1st 2 cuts, are what this album is known for. And while I might not consider a favorite from this year, I've known for years it's considered by many as their best record.

But another case of my familiarity hurts how I likely would rate/rank it.

I will say tho, I've always liked Cream. All 3 guys were excellent on their instruments and they did have a unique spin on heavier blues rock of their time. In a lot of ways, they were like the Rush of the 60's I suppose (or Rush were the Cream of the 70's, 80's etc)

The Moody Blues - Days of Future Passed
rel November 10, 1967

"Nights in White Satin" of course this is known for, and it's another record I see frequently and have meant to spend time with, but have not. But I know it's a concept album and one of the earliest at that (Freak Out and even Sgt Pepper's I suppose beat it to punch ,slightly). And it's certainly is one of if not The Moodies most well-known records. Orchestral Psych-Rock.

Again, familiarity and my take on this may change how I rate/rank it.

The Moodies have always been a band I've wanted to spend more time with their catalog (among some others like ELO, Supertramp, Talking Heads, Dire Straits among some others), and this likely would be where I'd start.

The Beatles - Magical Mystery Tour
rel November 27, 1967

I honestly love a ton of this album, and actually could regard this track-to-track as my favorite Beatles album. The opening title track, "Strawberry Fields Forever" "I am the Walrus" "Blue Jay Way" 'Fool on the Hill" "Penny Lane" "Your Mother Should Know" "Hello Goodbye"..the only song on this album I have tired of and probably never was all that crazy about is the closing cut "All You Need is Love."

I guess in '67, I might have gone 1-2 with Sgt Pepper's and this had I been around then and done a aoty list. This album is *that* good. Granted, a lot of people despise the film and can't forget that despite how great the tunes on this album are.

The Jimi Hendrix Experience - Axis: Bold as Love
rel December 1, 1967

I consider this the worst of Jimi's 3 proper studio records. That being said, it does have a handful of his best songs like "Spanish Castle Magic" "Little Wing" "Castles Made of Sand" "If 6 was 9" "Bold as Love" "Little Miss Lover" and "Wait Until Tomorrow."

And it is different than Are You Experienced from back in May, in a lot of ways. But overall, it doesn't have quite track-2-track addiction that AYE has, nor the creativity or conceptual element of Electric Ladyland that would come the next year.

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The Who - The Who Sell Out
rel December 16, 1967

This is popular among many fans, but I honestly only recall knowing the hit "I Can See for Miles" just on name. But I've meant to check this record out of late, so my feeling could change.