Welcome to Rocktober, kids! This year we here at Chunky Glasses are gonna strap the site to a chair and force feed it some history for a whole month. Like any surly teenager, it claims to hate history, but we know it secretly loves it because there’s NO WAY IN HELL to hate the knowledge we’re going to drop for the next 31 days. Join us now as we start in 1969, when Led Zepplin released their first album AND their second album, The Who released a rock opera about pinball, seat belts were optional, and a man walked on the Moon...if you believe that sort of thing. Seriously, good times never seemed so good.
If you don’t already know that 1969 was quite possibly the greatest year ever in music history, and one of the most influential - there was this thing called “Woodstock” that you may have heard of. The concept of the super group kicked into overdrive with Led Zepplin and Blind Faith, Sly & the Family Stone and Crosby, Stills & Nash put out brilliant first albums, and we were introduced to Bob Marley, Santana, the Jackson 5, and Genesis (remember back when Genesis had their original lead singer, and did not suck?). Chicago also put out its first album (See parenthetical for Genesis). Debut albums by the Stooges and MC5 kicked rock and roll in the ass, shit got weird with King Crimson, and the Beatles had one or two things to contribute on their way out the door. Also, the Hells Angels drank $500 worth of beer at a Rolling Stones concert at Altamont, and it all ended very, very badly, so maybe you’d better grab that seat belt after all.
Led Zepplin performing in 1969 for about 100,000 people less than they would in a few years
While stuff now seems to move at warp speed, we have to wait and wait and wait for new material from groups we love - it may be two or three years in between releases of new material, even though technology has advanced to a degree undreamt of in 1969. However, in the late 60’s and early 70’s most groups put out at least an album a year, and a lot of them put out two. Credence Clearwater Revival managed to release three albums in 1969, one of which included a little song called “Proud Mary.” Think Ike and/or Tina Turner wrote it? Think again. Whether you’re a CCR fan or not, releasing three albums in ten-month span, all of which hit the annual Top 10, is simply an incredible work ethic. Which means that James Brown was known as the hardest working man in show business when that actually meant something - and the title track of 1969’s Say It Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud had already been released both as a mega single and as a track on Brown’s Christmas album, making it the hardest working track in show business at the time. Unless you count “Proud Mary.” Or “Sweet Caroline,” which by the way, was released in, um, 1969. And also “My Way.” Shit, we’d better keep moving or we’ll be here all day.