1969 was another great year in music, here are my 20 chosen songs (and those who came close).
Gimme Shelter – The Rolling Stones
One of the greatest rock songs from any artist, “Gimme Shelter” is a glowering, snarling beast of a recording. It tiptoes in on one of music’s most recognizable chord-based riffs, ghostly “oooh’s,” and percussion ratcheting up the tension. When the full band enters—sinister low piano notes, fuzzy harmonica, organ chimes—it grabs you by the lapels and shakes you, begging you for shelter from an ominous storm.
-Bill Janovitz (Rocks Off: 50 Tracks That Tell the Story of the Rolling Stones)
It first appeared as the opening track on the band’s 1969 album Let It Bleed. Greil Marcus, writing in Rolling Stone magazine at the time of its release, said of it, “The Stones have never done anything better.”
The recording features Richards playing in his new open tuning on electric guitar. The recording also features vocals by Merry Clayton, recorded at a last-minute late-night recording session during the mixing phase, arranged by her friend and record producer Jack Nitzsche.Lisa Fischer was later recruited to perform the song during their concerts.
– Oh, a storm is threat’ning
My very life today
If I don’t get some shelter
Oh yeah, I’m gonna fade away
Folsom Prison looms large in Johnny Cash’s legacy, providing the setting for perhaps his definitive song and the location for his definitive album, At Folsom Prison. The ideal blend of mythmaking and gritty reality, At Folsom Prison is the moment when Cash turned into the towering Man in Black, a haunted troubadour singing songs of crime, conflicted conscience, and jail.
~Stephen Thomas Erlewine (allmusic.com)
Washington-to-Moscow “hot line” communications link opens, designed to reduce risk of accidental war (Aug. 30). Background: cold war
Kenya achieves independence.
There are 15,000 US military advisers in South Vietnam. Background:
32 independent African nations establish the Organization for African Unity.
“March on Washington,” civil rights rally held by 200,000 blacks and whites in Washington, D.C.; Martin Luther King delivers “I have a dream” speech (Aug. 28).
President Kennedy shot and killed in Dallas, Tex. Lyndon B. Johnson becomes President same day (Nov. 22). Background: Timeline of Kennedy tragedies
Lee Harvey Oswald, accused Kennedy assassin, is shot and killed by Jack Ruby (Nov. 24).
Beatlemania hits the U.K. The Beatles, a British band composed of John Lennon, George Harrison, Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney, take Britain by storm.
The Rolling Stones emerge as the anti-Beatles, with an aggressive, blues-derived style.
Only one song per artist/group
The song must be released that specific year
Songs from live albums not allowed (that’s another & more complicated list)
Max 20 songs
Please feel free to publish your own favorite songs from 1972 in the comments section…
A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall – Bob Dylan
Written by Bob Dylan in the summer of 1962. It was first recorded in Columbia Records’ Studio A on 6 December 1962 for his second album The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan – released May 27, 1963. The lyric structure is based on the question and answer form of the traditional ballad “Lord Randall”, Child Ballad No. 12.
Oh, where have you been, my blue-eyed son?
And where have you been my darling young one?
I’ve stumbled on the side of twelve misty mountains
I’ve walked and I’ve crawled on six crooked highways
I’ve stepped in the middle of seven sad forests
I’ve been out in front of a dozen dead oceans
I’ve been ten thousand miles in the mouth of a graveyard
And it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard, and it’s a hard
It’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall.
Well, I woke up Sunday morning
With no way to hold my head that didn’t hurt
And the beer I had for breakfast wasn’t bad
So I had one more for dessert
Then I fumbled in my closet through my clothes
And found my cleanest dirty shirt
Then I washed my face and combed my hair
And stumbled down the stairs to meet the day
This country classic is written by Kris Kristofferson and was popularized in 1969 by Ray Stevens before becoming a number one hit for Johnny Cash.
June 4: Johnny Cash Live at San Quentin was released in 1969
When I was little boy I was very interested in music, the radio and records. My father had a small but very good record collection. Among the treasures in his collection was this album, Johnny Cash – Live at San Quentin. My father told me the story of the album, and I remember that the Norwegian broadcast company (yes there were only one channel at the time, early 70s) showed the actual concert. It was very late at night but my father woke me and I got to see this legendary show. It marked me for life.
At San Quentin is the 31st overall album and a recording of a live concert given by Johnny Cash to the inmates of San Quentin State Prison. As well as being released on record the concert was filmed by Granada Television.