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1969 in music: Map


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Perhaps the two most famous musical events of 1969 were concerts. At a Rolling Stones concert in Altamont, Californiamarker, a fan was stabbed to death by Hells Angels, a biker gang that had been hired to provide security for the event. In retrospect, some commentators have concluded that the violence signaled the end of the "hippie" movement, which espoused an ethos of free love and peace. Even more famous than the Altamont concert is Woodstockmarker, which consisted of dozens of the most famous performers in the world at the time, playing together in an atmosphere of peace with nature and love, with many thousands of concert goers; it is still one of the largest concerts in the history of the world.

The Isle of Wight festival saw the return of Bob Dylan to live music after his motorbike accident in 1966.

Soul Shakedown was the debut album by Bob Marley & The Wailers, who would go on to become one of the most popular groups around the world. The album achieved very little popularity outside of the group's native country, Jamaicamarker, but began establishing themselves as superstars there. Musically, Soul Shakedown is more ska than reggae, the style of music the Wailers would eventually make world-famous; the pioneering style of the music helped move ska and rocksteady towards reggae.

David Bowie's "Space Oddity" became a huge hit in this year, being released at the time that American astronauts first landed on the moon. The song, the story of an astronaut named Major Tom who goes into space and is entranced by the beauty of seeing Earth from such a great distance and consequently lets himself float off into space, never again to return, was chosen by the BBC as the theme song for the television coverage of the moon landing. The remainder of the album, Man of Words/Man of Music, was too eccentric for mainstream acceptance, though it established a devoted fanbase for Bowie, who would go on to become one of the most popular musicians in the world.

King Crimson's In the Court of the Crimson King is a pioneering album in the development of progressive rock. The album drew upon influences like Procol Harum, The Moody Blues and The Nice to form an original sound melding rock and roll with classical influences in long, avant-garde pieces of music. Similar albums by The Moody Blues, Procol Harum and The Nice, as well as Genesis, Yes and Pink Floyd were also released this year, expanding the range of prog rock and developing it into a full-fledged genre.

The Stooges' eponymous debut, The Stooges, was also released this year to little critical or popular acceptance. The album, however, went on to become one of the most important recordings in the early development of punk rock.

Johnny Cash's At San Quentin included his only Top Ten pop hit, "A Boy Named Sue". The album was a sequel to last year's At Folsom Prison. Also in country music, Merle Haggard's Same Train, Different Time, a tribute to Jimmie Rodgers, was enormously popular and influenced the development of the Bakersfield sound into outlaw country within a few years.

Creedence Clearwater Revival cement their success from the previous year. Having had a single US #11 hit in 1968 with Suzie Q, they release not only their second, but also their third and fourth proper studio album in 1969 as well as drawing a total of four top 3 hits from these three albums. Starting with Bayou Country including the US #2 hit "Proud Mary" and continuing with Green River and finally Willy and the Poor Boys, which, during the year, transformed them from an up-and-coming underground act to bona fide rockstars. During 1969, Creedence Clearwater Revival had #2 hits in the US with "Proud Mary", "Green River" and "Bad Moon Rising", and also have a #3 hit with "Down on the Corner"/"Fortunate Son".

Gilberto Gil and Caetano Veloso released enormously popular albums in Brazilmarker, Gilberto Gil and Caetano Veloso, respectively. The pair's fusion of bossa nova, samba and other native Brazilian folk influences, melded with politically and socially aware lyrics, kickstarted what came to be known as Tropicalia. Both musicians moved to London after a period of imprisonment for anti-government activities in Brazil.

Family release their second album, Family Entertainment, in their native Britain. It is their first top ten album in the United Kingdom, hitting number six. "The Weaver's Answer", which opens the record, becomes their most popular song in their concert performances. By the end of the year, however, they lose and replace two members, and their first attempt to break through commercially in the United States backfires miserably.

Elvis Presley returns to live performances at the International Hotelmarker in Las Vegas; 57 concerts. He breaks all attendance records in Vegas. He also enjoys a great success with his songs "In the Ghetto" and "Suspicious Minds".

Bands Formed

Albums released

Biggest hit singles

The following songs achieved the highest chart positionsin the charts of 1969.

# Artist Title Year Country Chart Entries
1 The Beatles Get Back 1969 UK 1 - Apr 1969, US BB 1 - May 1969, Canada 1 - Apr 1969, Holland 1 - Apr 1969, Switzerland 1 - Apr 1969, Norway 1 - May 1969, Germany 1 - May 1969, Éire 1 - May 1969, Australia 1 for 5 weeks Sep 1969, Australia Goset 1 - May 1969, RYM 6 of 1969, US CashBox 14 of 1969, US BB 21 of 1969, DDD 24 of 1969, Global 33 (5 M sold) - 1969, POP 33 of 1969, Europe 38 of the 1960s, Italy 46 of 1969, Virgin 64, Scrobulate 91 of British, OzNet 115, Germany 217 of the 1960s, WXPN 566, Acclaimed 1367
2 The Rolling Stones Honky Tonk Woman 1969 UK 1 - Jul 1969, US BB 1 - Jul 1969, Switzerland 1 - Jul 1969, Éire 1 - Aug 1969, Australia 1 for 5 weeks Jan 1970, Australia Goset 1 - Aug 1969, US CashBox 2 of 1969, Canada 2 - Aug 1969, Norway 2 - Aug 1969, Germany 3 - Aug 1969, Holland 4 - Jul 1969, Australia 4 of 1969, RYM 4 of 1969, DDD 4 of 1969, US BB 8 of 1969, POP 8 of 1969, TheQ 27, Europe 50 of the 1960s, Italy 92 of 1969, Acclaimed 97, Rolling Stone 116, WXPN 189, Germany 209 of the 1960s
3 Zager & Evans In the Year 2525 1969 UK 1 - Aug 1969, US BB 1 - Jun 1969, Canada 1 - Jul 1969, Holland 1 - Aug 1969, France 1 - Mar 1970, Switzerland 1 - Aug 1969, Norway 1 - Aug 1969, Germany 1 - Aug 1969, Éire 1 - Sep 1969, Australia 1 for 1 weeks Jan 1970, Australia Goset 2 - Aug 1969, US CashBox 11 of 1969, Australia 19 of 1969, US BB 39 of 1969, RYM 60 of 1969, POP 75 of 1969, Europe 77 of the 1960s, Germany 109 of the 1960s
4 The Archies Sugar Sugar 1969 UK 1 - Oct 1969, US BB 1 - Aug 1969, US CashBox 1 of 1969, Canada 1 - Jul 1969, Norway 1 - Nov 1969, Germany 1 - Jan 1970, Éire 1 - Nov 1969, Switzerland 2 - Oct 1969, Holland 4 - Sep 1969, Australia Goset 5 - Aug 1969, France 8 - Feb 1970, South Africa 8 of 1969, US BB 10 of 1969, POP 10 of 1969, TOTP 26, Global 33 (5 M sold) - 1969, RYM 40 of 1969, Italy 70 of 1970, DDD 77 of 1969, Germany 157 of the 1960s, Acclaimed 1996
5 Elvis Presley Suspicious Minds 1969 US BB 1 - Sep 1969, Canada 1 - Sep 1969, Australia 1 for 3 weeks Jun 1970, Australia Goset 1 - Nov 1969, South Africa 1 of 1969, UK 2 - Nov 1969, Holland 6 - Oct 1969, France 6 - Mar 1970, Germany 8 - Jan 1970, Norway 10 - Feb 1970, Australia 16 of 1969, RYM 19 of 1969, Scrobulate 19 of oldies, Europe 22 of the 1960s, DDD 23 of 1969, POP 26 of 1969, Global 33 (5 M sold) - 1969, US BB 40 of 1969, Poland 40 - Aug 1999, US CashBox 43 of 1969, Acclaimed 60, Rolling Stone 91, WXPN 121, OzNet 156

Some top American and/or British hit singles

Published popular music

Classical music


Musical theater

Musical films




Grammy Awards

Eurovision Song Contest

Leeds International Piano Competition

Further reading

External links

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