1967 was the year in which rock officially dethroned jazz in the kingdom of musical creation, sparked by the joint innovations of artists leading (The Beatles, Cream, Donovan, The Kinks, The Pretty Things, The Rolling Stones, Small Faces, The Who) and unleashing (Bee Gees, The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, The Moody Blues, Pink Floyd, Procol Harum, Ten Years After, Traffic).
Colours rained over Swinging London with silver-diamond longplayers (The Alan Bown, Art, Blossom Toes, Kaleidoscope, Nirvana, Piccadilly Circus, Simon Dupree & the Big Sound, The Smoke), multi-bursting shortplayers (The Herd, John’s Children, Marmalade, The Move, Orange Bicycle, Rupert’s People, The Syn, Tomorrow) and flickering monoplayers (The Brain, Dantalian’s Chariot, Felius Andromeda, Floribunda Rose, Ice, The Mirage, Tintern Abbey, Winston’s Fumbs). Emboldened by the Sunshine Superman, a slew of brave dandies launched themselves solo (Al Stewart, Cat Stevens, David Bowie, Scott Walker).
The U.S. shifted to the big stage with a mix of lightness (The Blades of Grass, The Free Design, The New Wave, Spanky & Our Gang, The Third Rail, The Yellow Balloon), darkness (The Aggregation, The Doors, Fifty Foot Hose, Red Krayola, The Velvet Underground, The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band), earth-tones (Circus Maximus, Kaleidoscope, Jefferson Airplane, Moby Grape, The Peanut Butter Conspiracy, The Stone Poneys) and technicolor (Afterglow, Animated Egg, The Electric Prunes, The Golden Dawn, The Lemon Pipers, Strawberry Alarm Clock). Visionaries conceptualized the longform (Harry Nilsson, H.P. Lovecraft, The Left Bank, Love) while vagrants bested the short (The Balloon Farm, The E-Types, The Elastik Band, The Mystery Trend).
Gems from Norway (Dream), Italy (Le Stelle di Mario Schifano), Denmark (The Floor, Steppeulvene) and Sweden (Hansson & Karlsson, Mecki Mark Men, Tages) hinted at swarming talent beyond the Anglosphere. With rock’s newfound artistry, the music was swiftly transcending into a form of global vitality and cross-generational sustenance.