"If you would understand anything, observe its beginning and its development." - Aristotle
The years 1965 and 1966 represent a sort of peak in popular music, bound up in a kind of homogeneity that would never happen again; shattered by a gradual crawl toward fragmentization and the compartmentalization that defines contemporary popular culture. It is also across these two years that pop begins to morph into rock and lose it's status as ephemeral teenage fascination. As the performers in the post-British Invasion second age of rock and roll travel through their twenties, they begin to take more and more control of the processes that had traditionally been the realm of the "suits" who packaged and marketed the music. In 1965, pop performers are all still well ensconced in "the show business", but the signs are there of something larger lying just ahead.
The fans, too, are growing up, leaving high schools and heading to universities, and in never-before seen numbers. The "baby boom" that was wearing Beatle wigs and screaming at the Ed Sullivan Show just a year ago is now becoming politicized by the perfect storm of the draft and Vietnam, and using the added gravitas of the civil rights and anti war movements to become conscious of itself as a generation in a manner that rarely happens. These things would all reach a boil in the period of 1967-1969, but the seeds of it all are present in the period of 1965-1966.
Sometimes my head gets stuffy with facts. Names, dates and places all jumble together and I occasionally need to stop and gain a better purchase on what things correspond to what things, and what other things are years apart.
As 1965 begins, LBJ, who will be sworn in for his own full term as President on January 20th, first uses the phrase "The Great Society" in his State of the Union address on the 4th. On January 24th, as if ringing a large bell to announce the start of a new era, Sir Winston Churchill dies as "Downtown" hits #1 and makes Petula Clark the first British female performer to top the charts since the arrival of The Beatles. In February, The Rolling Stones Now! and John Coltrane's A Love Supreme are released, and Malcolm X is assassinated in Manhattan.
In March, civil rights demonstrators clash with state troopers in Selma Alabama while some 3,500 US Marines become the first American combat troops in Vietnam. A Russian cosmonaut becomes the first person to ever walk in space while the bill that will become the Voting Rights act of 1965 is introduced to Congress. Also in March, the Temptations have their first hit, "My Girl" while the Supremes have their fourth number one single, "Stop! In The Name Of Love" and Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, and Bill Wyman are fined five pounds for urinating on the wall of a London gas station. Albums released in March 1965 include Kinda Kinks, The Beach Boys Today!, Buck Owens' I've Got a Tiger by the Tail, Elvis Presley's Girl Happy and Bob Dylan's Bringing It All Back Home.
In April, the US launches the world's first space nuclear power reactor. The Houston Astrodome opens. The 100th anniversary of the end of the American Civil War is observed. My Fair Lady wins 8 Academy Awards, Mary Poppins wins 5. Richard Hickock and Perry Smith, convicted of murdering 4 members of the Herbert Clutter family of Holcomb, Kansas, are executed by hanging at the Kansas State Penitentiary for Men. The West German parliament extends the statute of limitations on Nazi war crimes. The first SDS march against the Vietnam War draws 25,000 protesters to Washington, DC. Among the albums released are My Funny Valentine by Miles Davis and Whipped Cream & Other Delights by Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass. The New Musical Express poll winners' concert takes place featuring performances by The Beatles, The Animals, The Rolling Stones, Freddie and the Dreamers, the Kinks, the Searchers, Herman's Hermits, The Anita Kerr Singers, The Moody Blues, Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders, Donovan, Them, Cilla Black, Dusty Springfield and Tom Jones.
In May 1965, forty men burn their draft cards at the University of California, Berkeley, and a coffin is marched to the Berkeley Draft Board. The largest teach-in to date begins at Berkeley, California, attended by 30,000. The first skateboard championship is held. Muhammad Ali knocks out Sonny Liston in the first round of their championship rematch. Alan Price leaves The Animals. Keith Richards and Mick Jagger begin work on "Satisfaction" in their Clearwater, Florida hotel room (Richards came up with the classic guitar riff while playing around with his brand new Gibson "Fuzz box"). Bob Dylan performs the first of two concerts at London's Royal Albert Hall, concluding his tour of Europe. Audience members include The Beatles, and Donovan. Albums released include What's Bin Did and What's Bin Hid by Donovan, Maiden Voyage by Herbie Hancock and My Name Is Barbra by Barbra Streisand.
In June 1965 the first contingent of Australian combat troops arrives in South Vietnam. Gemini 4 astronaut Edward Higgins White makes the first U.S. space walk. In the Battle of Dong Xoai, about 1,500 Vietcong mount a mortar attack, overrunning the military headquarters and the adjoining militia compound. A planned anti-war protest at the Pentagon becomes a teach-in, with demonstrators distributing 50,000 leaflets in and around the building. In Algeria, Houari Boumédienne's Revolutionary Council ousts Ahmed Ben Bella, in a bloodless coup. Producer Tom Wilson records a heavy backing band onto the song "The Sounds of Silence", without the knowledge of Paul Simon. The Supremes have their fifth consecutive number one single,"Back In My Arms Again." The Beatles are made Members of the British Empire (MBE) by the Queen. The albums The Angry Young Them, Beatles VI and Mr. Tambourine Man by The Byrds are released.
And we're half way through 1965.
Turn on the radio and pop music is one loud contradictory swirl of sound rushing out of every AM car radio and hand-held transistor, all playing the same sounds day in day out. The Billboard Top 40 songs of 1965 include "Wooly Bully" Sam The Sham and The Pharaohs; "I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)" Four Tops; "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" The Rolling Stones; "You Were On My Mind" We Five; "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" Righteous Brothers; "Downtown" Petula Clark; "Help!" The Beatles; "Can't You Hear My Heartbeat" Herman's Hermits; "Crying in the Chapel" Elvis Presley; "My Girl" Temptations; "Help Me, Rhonda" Beach Boys; "King of the Road" Roger Miller; "The Birds And The Bees" Jewel Aikens; "Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me" Mel Carter; "Shotgun" Jr. Walker and The All Stars; "I Got You Babe" Sonny and Cher; "This Diamond Ring" Gary Lewis and The Playboys; "The "In" Crowd" Ramsey Lewis Trio; "Mrs. Brown You've Got a Lovely Daughter" Herman's Hermits; "Stop! In The Name Of Love" Supremes; "Unchained Melody" Righteous Brothers; "Silhouettes" Herman's Hermits' "I'll Never Find Another You" Seekers' "Cara Mia" Jay and The Americans; "Mr. Tambourine Man" Byrds; "Cast Your Fate To The Wind" Sounds Orchestral; "Yes I'm Ready" Barbara Mason; "What's New Pussycat?" Tom Jones; "Eve of Destruction" Barry McGuire; "Hang On Sloopy" McCoys; "Ticket To Ride" The Beatles; "Red Roses For A Blue Lady" Bert Kaempfert and His Orch.; "Papa's Got A Brand New Bag" James Brown and The Famous Flames; "Game Of Love" Wayne Fontana and The Mindbenders; "The Name Game" Shirley Ellis; "I Know a Place" Petula Clark; "Back In My Arms Again" Supremes; "Jolly Green Giant" Kingsmen; :Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte" Patti Page; "Like a Rolling Stone" Bob Dylan.
In July 1965 the spacecraft Mariner 4 flies by Mars, becoming the first spacecraft to return images from the Red Planet. Edward Heath becomes Leader of the British Conservative Party. President Johnson announces his order to increase the number of troops in South Vietnam from 75,000 to 125,000, and to more than double the number of men drafted per month - from 17,000 to 35,000. Later in July the President signed the Social Security Act of 1965 into law, establishing Medicare and Medicaid. On July 25, Bob Dylan plays Newport Folk Festival, is booed for playing electric set with The Paul Butterfield Blues Band. Joan Baez and Donovan also play sets. In July, the albums For Your Love by The Yardbirds, Summer Days (and Summer Nights) by The Beach Boys and Out of Our Heads by The Rolling Stones are released.
In August, cigarette advertising is banned on British television. President Johnson signs the Voting Rights Act of 1965 into law. The Watts Riots begin in Los Angeles California. The Jefferson Airplane debuts at the Matrix in San Francisco, California and begins to appear there regularly. The Beatles perform the first stadium concert in the history of rock, playing at Shea Stadium in New York. Casey Stengel announces his retirement after 55 years in baseball. At the Auschwitz trial in Frankfurt, 66 ex-SS personnel receive life sentences, 15 others smaller ones. The Beatles visit Elvis Presley at his home in Bel-Air. It is the only time the band and the singer meet. The Small Faces release "Whatcha Gonna Do About It", their first single. The Beatles release the soundtrack to their second movie Help! The Paul Simon Song Book, a solo LP by Paul Simon, is released in the UK (but not in the US). Bob Dylan releases Highway 61 Revisited, the second LP in his 1965-66 "trilogy."
In September 1965 Pakistani troops enter the Indian sector of Kashmir, while Indian troops try to invade Lahore. Islamic Republic Of Pakistan observes its Defence day. Hurricane Betsy roars ashore near New Orleans, Louisiana with winds of 145 MPH, causing 76 deaths and $1.42 billion in damage. The Tom & Jerry cartoon series makes its world broadcast premiere on CBS. Sandy Koufax pitches a perfect game against the Chicago Cubs. Donovan appears on Shindig! in the U.S. and plays Buffy Sainte-Marie's "Universal Soldier". The Animals release Animal Tracks and Otis Redding releases Otis Blue.
In October 1965 John Coltrane releases Om, the Paul Butterfield Blues Band's first album is released, Donovan releases Fairytale, and Frank Sinatra releases September of My Years. Jimi Hendrix signs a three year recording contract with Ed Chaplin, receiving $1 and 1% royalty on records with Curtis Knight (an agreement that later causes continuous litigation problems with Hendrix and other record labels). The Animals make their fourth appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. Fidel Castro announces that Che Guevara has resigned and left the country. Anti-war protests draw 100,000 in 80 U.S. cities and around the world. In Washington, DC, a pro-Vietnam War march draws 25,000. The University of California, Irvine opens its doors.
November 1965: Republican John Lindsay is elected mayor of New York City. Pillsbury's world-famous mascot, the Pillsbury Doughboy, is created. Man of La Mancha opens in a Greenwich Village theatre in New York and eventually becomes one of the greatest musical hits of all time. Bob Dylan weds Sara Lowndes. The Pentagon tells U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson that if planned major sweep operations to neutralize Viet Cong forces during the next year are to succeed, the number of American troops in Vietnam will have to be increased from 120,000 to 400,000. The Supremes have their sixth number one record, "I Hear A Symphony", for Motown Records. Arlo Guthrie is arrested in Great Barrington, Massachusetts for the crime of littering, perpetrated the day before Thanksgiving in the nearby town of Stockbridge. The resultant events and adventure would be immortalized in the song "Alice's Restaurant". Among the albums released in November are Having a Rave Up with The Yardbirds, The Kink Kontroversy, Do You Believe in Magic (The Lovin' Spoonful), E.S.P. (Miles Davis), Farewell Angelina (Joan Baez) and Going To a Go-Go (Smokey Robinson & the Miracles).
December 1965: The Who release My Generation, The Beatles release Rubber Soul, The Byrds release Turn! Turn! Turn! and The Rolling Stones release December's Children (And Everybody's). The Beatles also release their double A-sided single "Day Tripper / We Can Work It Out." Meanwhile, Charles de Gaulle is re-elected as French president and Ferdinand Marcos becomes President of the Philippines. A Charlie Brown Christmas, the first Peanuts television special, debuts on CBS. The Soviet Union announces that it has shipped rockets to North Vietnam. David Lean's film, Doctor Zhivago, is released.
Some of the bands that formed for the first time in 1965 include: The Doors, Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Los Jairas, Velvet Underground, and Pink Floyd.
Among the other records released in 1965 were: At The Golden Circle Vol. 1 & 2 by Ornette Coleman. Bleeker & MacDougal by Fred Neil. Catch Us if You Can by The Dave Clark Five. Celebrations For a Grey Day by Richard Farina and Mimi Farina. Country Willie: His Own Songs by Willie Nelson. Creation by John Coltrane. The Fugs First Album. The Heliocentric Worlds of Sun Ra, Volume 1 & 2. Hoodoo Man Blues by Junior Wells. I Ain't Marching Anymore by Phil Ochs. Jackson C. Frank. Live at the Regal by B. B. King. Odetta Sings Dylan. Skip James Today! The Transfiguration of Blind Joe Death by John Fahey.
In television, Today on NBC goes color. The Huntley-Brinkley Report on NBC goes color. CBS airs the first color broadcast of an NFL football game, a Thanksgiving Day matchup between the Baltimore Colts and Detroit Lions. My Mother, the Car premieres on NBC. CBS debuts Lost in Space and Green Acres. Meanwhile, on ABC, The Big Valley premieres, and NBC launches I Spy. The Wild Wild West and Hogan's Heroes premiere on CBS. I Dream of Jeannie premieres on NBC, and so does Get Smart.
At the Academy Awards, The Sound of Music takes Best Picture, and Lee Marvin (Cat Ballou) and Julie Christie (Darling) win Best Actor/Actress. The Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival goes to The Knack …and How to Get It, directed by Richard Lester. Other films from 1965 include: Alphaville, (Alphaville, une étrange aventure de Lemmy Caution'), directed by Jean-Luc Godard; Bunny Lake Is Missing, directed by Otto Preminger; Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!, directed by Russ Meyer; For a Few Dollars More, directed by Sergio Leone; The Ipcress File, directed by Sidney J. Furie; What's New Pussycat?, directed by Clive Donner.
In addition to Winston Churchill, Albert Schweitzer, Alan Freed, Nat King Cole, Spike Jones, Stan Laurel, Margaret Dumont, T.S. Eliot, Edward R. Murrow, Edgard Varèse, Sonny Boy Williamson and Jeanette MacDonald died in 1965. Rob Zombie, Dr. Dre, Trent Reznor, Courtney Love, Shania Twain, Slash, Björk, Moby, Andy Dick, Robert Downey, Jr. and Rodney King were born.