Looking Through Time: 1969
With the anniversaries of culturally important albums sprouting up each and every year, the CommRadio Arts & Entertainment Department will be diving into albums from select years and breaking down their impact. Here are the albums from 1969.
The Beatles - Abbey Road
As one of the most influential recording artist of all time, the Beatles have no shortage of timeless records to their name: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Revolver, “The White Album,” and many more. But, Abbey Road may stand as their greatest accomplishment of all.
After months of strenuous recording sessions for the Let It Be album, which nearly resulted in the band’s breakup, the Beatles collaborated one last time before calling it quits. The final result would be Abbey Road, an iconic record in every way from the track listing to the cover art. Abbey Road contains some of the Beatles’ very best work, especially for George Harrison, who shines on the cheery “Here Comes the Sun,” and the timeless love song “Something.” “Come Together” stands out as one of John Lennon’s most well-remembered pieces, thanks to its bizarre lyrics and infectious groove, while Paul McCartney’s oft-forgotten “Oh! Darling” remains one of his most underrated tunes. Even Ringo Starr gets some time to shine with the playful “Octopus’s Garden.” However, it’s the album’s centerpiece, an eight-song medley that makes up most of the second side, that stands as one of the Beatles’ all-time greatest achievements.
To this day, Abbey Road remains recognized as one of the greatest albums ever. Though the band that created it would only stay together for a few more months after its release, it’s stood the test of time as one of music’s finest moments.
- DJ Bauer
Bob Dylan - Nashville Skyline
Perhaps one of Bob Dylan’s most underrated albums, Nashville Skyline holds a special place in the hearts of many listeners. The romantic lyrics on this record create a seamless mend over each and every track. “Girl from the North Country” features Dylan’s friend and fellow artist, Johnny Cash. Cash’s country sound influences much this track. Dylan’s voice is softer than usual, but remains completely passionate throughout the entirety of the record. He holds powerful strength in creating mellow, yet captivating songs that grab the listener. Nashville Skyline was Dylan’s ninth album, which only proved that he had the ability to stay relevant and fresh in such a music invested era.
- Jenna Minnig
Johnny Cash - At San Quentin
Without a doubt, Johnny Cash is one of the best storytelling musicians of all time. He shares his stories with those who need it most. At San Quentin is one of Cash’s live albums where he sings to a crowd of prisoners at San Quentin State Prison in 1969. A year prior, Cash recorded another live performance at Folsom State Prison and released At Folsom Prison in 1968. The artist began performing at these prisons to provide an outlet of creativity for the inmates to indulge in. The music became spiritual for these prisoners, and Johnny Cash provided the stories that fueled their imagination. While hearing At San Quentin, listeners can hear the live reactions of the prisoners and the responses from Cash. The music Johnny Cash sang at San Quentin was controversial, and his desire to perform such songs in a prison exemplify his passion to truly share his music with everyone.
- Jenna Minnig
The Who - Tommy
One of the most influential albums to release during this year was The Who’s Tommy. Hailing itself as a Rock Opera, the album tells a story of a boy named Tommy Walker, who is blind, deaf and dumb. Even with his disabilities, he proves himself to be an extraordinary pinball player. The double-length album includes several of The Who’s most popular tracks, such as “Pinball Wizard”, “I’m Free” and “We’re Not Gonna Take It”.
As the first of its kind from the band, Tommy is cemented as one of The Who’s most recognized albums, as well as paving the way for more concept albums such as Quadrophenia and The Iron Giant. Whether casually listening or investing in the story, Tommy offers a loud, heavy sound for the rocker and a powerful, engaging anthem for those believe the impossible is the only thing blocking their path to success.
- Jack Grossman
Chicago - The Chicago Transit Authority
Chicago Transit Authority, now known as Chicago, is an Illinois rock band that formed in 1967. The rock band incorporated electrical jazz and classical beats that made them stand out, as well as become influential musicians from the sixties and so on. Before their debut album, The Chicago Transit Authority, Chicago produced a different version before it was remastered by Columbia Records producer, Jame Guercio. In order to reproduce the album, the band moved to the West Cost, and released the new and improved album on April 28, 1969. When The Chicago Transit Authority was released, Chicago grew and gave the world one of the best sing along, up spirited albums.
The song on the album that gave listeners the ultimate genre fusion and popularity was, “Does AnyBody Really Know What Time It Is?” This song is about time and the concern of beating or worrying about it. In the chorus, “Does anybody really know what time it is/Does anyone really care/If so I can’t Imagine why/We’ve all got time enough to cry,” was Chicago’s way of expressing their concern about people trying to rush, when we have all the time in the world to do anything we want. From this album, Chicago became a world known rock band that continued to incorporate a variety of genres that gave listeners many great hits.
- Rachel Miloscia
Rolling Stones - Let It Bleed
Returning once again to their hard-hitting blues style, The Rolling Stones were ready to create one of their most potent records to date. Integrating hard rock, psychedelic-funk and gospel influences, The Stones proved they weren’t afraid to experiment with their classic sound and push it to its limits. Incorporating fresh and somewhat eclectic styles, The Stones went as far as to bring in a genuine gospel chorus to perfect the American roots feel of this extraordinary record. Containing such hits as, “Gimme Shelter,” “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” and the album’s quirky title track, it’s no wonder Let It Bleed quickly rose to number one in the UK and No. 3 three in the US. Eventually certified double platinum, the album is rightfully considered one of the most significant records of the decade and often cited as the band’s most socially relevant works. A true statement of the times, the record is overflowing with social commentary. Speaking to the conflicts of the Vietnam War, drug culture and the hippie revolution, The Stones effectively shepherded the musical world into the oncoming decade through their rocking grooves and aggressive anthems. – Scott Perdue
DJ Bauer is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.
Jenna Minnig is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact her, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jack Grossman is a junior majoring in telecommunications. To contact him, email email@example.com.
Rachel Miloscia is a junior majoring in Telecommunications. To contact her, please email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Scott Perdue is a sophomore majoring in Secondary Education. To contact him, email email@example.com.
About the Contributors
Senior / Broadcast Journalism
Sophomore / Broadcast Journalism