1969 in Music

1969 saw maximalism shift into high gear, spearheaded by big names ruling (Family, Jethro Tull, The Kinks, Soft Machine, Spooky Tooth, The Who) and reassembled (Ashton Gardner & Dyke, Blind Faith, Hardin & York, Humble Pie, Jack Bruce, Manfred Mann Chapter Three), while the Anglosphere was swept with explosive premieres (Colosseum, Free, Joe Cocker, King Crimson, Led Zeppelin, Rod Stewart) and incoming prodigies (Elton John, Genesis, Man, Renaissance, Van Der Graaf Generator, Yes).

Craftsmanship attained new levels of sophistication throughout the UK, with electrified combos playing it bluesy (Ashkan, Blodwyn Pig, Edgar Broughton Band, Juicy Lucy, Rare Amber, Steamhammer) brassy (Galliard, Johnny Almond Music Machine, Keef Hartley Band, Locomotive, Pete Brown & His Battered Ornaments, Samson) and bludgeoning (Andromeda, High Tide, Killing Floor, Little Free Rock, Open Mind, Sam Gopal); compositional aces presenting tightness (Apple, Bulldog Breed, Koobas, Thunderclap Newman, Timebox, World of Oz), trickiness (Audience, Eire Apparent, Forever Amber, Mighty Baby, Pussy, Velvett Fogg) and intrepidity (Arcadium, Arzachel, Jody Grind, Rare Bird, White Noise, Writing On the Wall); acoustical acts displaying adroitness (Andwella’s Dream, Edwards Hand, Fat Mattress, The Humblebums, Methuselah, Ora), audacity (Blonde On Blonde, Dr. Strangely Strange, East of Eden, The Pentangle, Synanthesia, Tea and Symphony) and autonomy (Bridget St John, Jimmy Campbell, John Kongos, Mary Hopkin, Nick Drake, Robin Scott).

The US rose to the challenge with hybridization (Bangor Flying Circus, Chicago Transit Authority, Elephant’s Memory, The Flock, Hamilton Streetcar, Ten Wheel Drive) and amplification (Boffalongo, Bubble Puppy, The Frost, Fuse, James Gang, Majic Ship), complexity (The Aerovons, Montage, Music Emporium, The Neon Philharmonic, Pidgeon, Stone Circus) and perplexity (After All, Aorta, Jungle, Morgan, Touch, Valhalla), earthiness (Appaloosa, Boz Scaggs, Crosby Stills & Nash, Euphoria, Gulliver, It’s a Beautiful Day) and chirpiness (The City, The Common People, Inner Dialogue, Mark Eric, The Spiral Starecase, Thomas & Richard Frost). Surrounding the states were northern heights (49th Parallel, Bent Wind, Joni Mitchell, Reign Ghost) and tropical lights (Almendra, Brazilian Octopus, Kaleidoscope, Os Brazões).

Europe stepped forth with major awakenings in Germany (Amon Düül II, Missus Beastly, Trikolon, Xhol Caravan) and Sweden (BIB-Set, Blond, Harvester, Sound Express), with additions from Denmark (Alrune Rod, Burnin’ Red Ivanhoe), Finland (Tasavallan Presidentti, Wigwam) and France (Le Système Crapoutchik, Omega Plus).

But the top new international player of the year was the Netherlands, which spawned the formidable talents of Brainbox, Ekseption, Fairy Tale, Sandy Coast, Shocking Blue and Tee Set.

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