1968 in Music

1968 saw rock’s shining lights set further afoot on the maximalist march, with front-liners The Kinks, The Move, The Pretty Things, Procal Harum, Traffic and The Zombies forging landmark strides, and newcomers Deep Purple, Family, Fleetwood Mac, Gun, Jethro Tull and Spooky Tooth taking audiences by surprise.

Inventiveness stirred the UK, from sage troubadours (Duncan Browne, Fairport Convention, Nick Garrie, The Sallyangie, Tim Hollier) to classically-inclined wunderkinds (Caravan, Eyes of Blue, Giles Giles & Fripp, The Nice, Soft Machine), with tunesmiths both tumultuous (The Attack, The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, Elmer Gantry’s Velvet Opera, The Gods, Second Hand, Skip Bifferty) and toylike (Billy Nicholls, The End, The Idle Race, Rainbow Ffolly, Status Quo, Turquoise).

The States saw ambition brimming at the Bay (Mad River, Quicksilver Messenger Service, The Savage Resurrection, Sly & the Family Stone, The Sons of Champlin, Steve Miller Band) and clustering around the Cape (Chamaeleon Church, Earth Opera, Ford Theatre, Listening, Orpheus, Phluph), with rock’s newfound sophistication spanning the Big Apple (Ars Nova, Blood Sweat & Tears, Chrysalis, Gandalf, The New York Rock & Roll Ensemble, The Rainbow Press) to La-La Land (Appletree Theatre, The Boston Tea Party, Colours, Spirit, Steppenwolf, The United States of America), the Windy City (The Electric Flag, Rotary Connection, The Troll) to the City of Brotherly Love (The Delfonics, Mandrake Memorial, Nazz), the Buckeye State (Darius, Snow, The Tiffany Shade) to the Wolverine State (The Amboy Dukes, The Cherry Slush, SRC), and from the Pacific Northwest (The Bards, The Lollipop Shoppe, Neighb’rhood Childr’n) on down to Dixie (Asylum Choir, Fever Tree, Pearls Before Swine). Studio acts were dazzling and orchestralized (Eternity’s Children, The Millennium, October Country, Sagittarius) while standalones were dainty and romanticized (Laura Nyro, Margo Guryan, Nancy Priddy, Timothy Clover).

Tremors throughout the Netherlands (After Tea, Dragonfly, Golden Earring, Group 1850), Denmark (The Savage Rose, Young Flowers), Hungary (Illés Együttes, Omega) and Greece (Aphrodite’s Child) proved that rock had indeed become a Continental concern, while upsurges in Australia (Procession, The Twilights), Brazil (Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, Os Mutantes, Tom Zé) and even Peru and Uruguay (Laghonia, Los Shakers) brought the Southern Hemisphere to light. But the foremost addition to the global rock map during 1968 was Canada, which set the world ablaze with stellar releases by The Churls, The Collectors, The Guess Who, The Family Tree, Kensington Market, Lighthouse, Mandala and The Paupers.

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