1967: The Album as Art

Sound Opinions celebrates the 45th anniversary of one of the most influential years in rock and roll history: 1967. During this episode Jim and Greg explore the evolution of the studio as an instrument and talk about landmark releases by The Beatles, Pink Floyd and The Velvet Underground.

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Soul Train host and creator Don Cornelius died tragically this week at age 75. Greg remembers the baritone-voiced Chicago native as not just a music pioneer, but a civil rights one. He broadened what we think of as soul and brought acts like Curtis Mayfield, David Bowie and Aretha Franklin to audiences of all races and ages. What American Bandstand was to pop culture in the ‘ 60s, Soul Train and Cornelius were to the ‘ 70s, ‘ 80s, and beyond. So to remember Don Cornelius, we play Barry White’s 1975 orchestral performance of You’re My First, the Last, My Everything.

1967

Not to make you feel old, but it’s been 45 years since the Summer of Love, the year of the hippie, and some of the most influential music in rock history. So Jim and Greg have decided to look back at the watershed year 1967. Television viewers were treated to memorable performances by The Who, The Doors and The Rolling Stones. Aretha Franklin recorded her famous Atlantic release Respect. Fans from around the country gathered in California for the Monterey International Pop Music Festival. But during this episode Jim and Greg focus on the single LP’s that changed the way people thought of the studio and a collection of songs. 1967 gave birth to the idea of album as art.

00:21:15 Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club band is, of course, the most prominent example of studio innovation on album in ‘67. Recorded at Abbey Road by George Martin on mono, stereo and four-track recorders, Sgt. Pepper’s was a critical and commercial success. But, as they stated during our Revolver Classic Album Dissection, Jim and Greg don’t think it’s The Beatles’ best. Nor is it the best album of that year. They’d point people to the landmark recordings The Piper at the Gates of Dawn by Pink Floyd, Forever Changes by Love and The Velvet Underground and Nico by The Velvet Underground. Jim and Greg talk about these albums’ innovations in terms of recording and artistic ambition. They also hear from Joe Boyd, who produced Pink Floyd’s first single in 1967 and Jac Holzman, who discovered Love and signed them to Elektra.

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