1967 in Rock Music: One Amazing Year

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By any measure, 1967 was one amazing year for rock, pop and soul music. The year gave us not only Sgt. Pepper but debut albums by The Doors, Jimi Hendrix, David Bowie, Pink Floyd and The Velvet Underground; dozens of landmark hit singles and albums; game-changing events like the Monterey Pop Festival and the deaths of Otis Redding and Beatles manager Brian Epstein; and so much more.

Rock was growing up in 1967: FM “underground” radio was starting to overtake AM Top 40, and music fans were being happily bombarded by a seemingly nonstop mix of pop singles—the Monkees were huge—as well as soul (Aretha Franklin, the Supremes) and the newly emerging psychedelic rock. A half-century later, most of it still holds up well.

In 1967, everyone wanted to be in a band! The following were all formed in 1967: Blood, Sweat & Tears, Blue Öyster Cult, Chicago, Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Electric Flag, Fairport Convention, Fleetwood Mac, Genesis, The Hour Glass (with Duane and Gregg Allman), The J. Geils Band, Jethro Tull, Nazz (with Todd Rundgren), The Nice (with Keith Emerson), NRBQ, Procol Harum, REO Speedwagon, Santana, Sly and the Family Stone, Spirit, Status Quo, The Stooges (with Iggy Pop), T. Rex, Three Dog Night and Traffic!

Below is a timeline of the most significant events in the world of rock, pop and soul in 1967, including major album releases. (All album release dates are U.S. unless otherwise noted.) We think you’ll agree that 1967 was rock ‘n’ roll heaven.

Major Rock Music Events of 1967

Jan. 4—The Doors’ self-titled debut album released

Jan. 9—The Monkees’ More of the Monkees released; The Young Rascals’ Collections album released

Jan. 14—The Human Be-In takes place in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park: local rock bands, poets and other countercultural heroes mix it up with the city’s hippies. By the summer, so many youths will have arrived in San Francisco that the invasion became known as the “Summer of Love.”

Jan. 15—The Rolling Stones, appearing on The Ed Sullivan Show, acquiesced to Ed’s demand that they change the key line in “Let’s Spend the Night Together” to “Let’s spend some time together”

Related: When the Stones spent “time” on Ed Sullivan

Jan. 20—The Rolling Stones’ Between the Buttons album released

Jan. 23—Laura Nyro’s debut album, More Than a New Discovery, released; The Youngbloods’ self-titled debut album released; The Stone Poneys’ self-titled debut (with Linda Ronstadt) released

Dick Clark interviews Jefferson Airplane’s Grace Slick on American Bandstand in 1967

Feb. 1—Jefferson Airplane’s Surrealistic Pillow album released

Feb. 6—The Byrds’ Younger Than Yesterday album released

Feb. 13—The Beatles release their “Penny Lane”/“Strawberry Fields Forever” single

Related: When “Penny Lane” topped the charts

Feb. 14—Aretha Franklin records “Respect”

Feb. 17—John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers’ A Hard Road album released

Feb. ?—The Mamas and the Papas’ album Deliver released

March 6—The Temptations’ Live! album released

March 10—Cat Stevens’ Matthew and Son album released; Aretha Franklin’s I Never Loved a Man album released

March 12—The Velvet Underground’s debut album, The Velvet Underground & Nico, released

March 17—The Grateful Dead’s self-titled debut album released

March 18—Peter, Paul & Mary’s Album 1700 released

March 25—The Who and Cream both perform their first concerts in the United States, in New York. The two British bands are part of a weeklong series hosted by disc jockey Murray the K; also performing are Mitch Ryder, Wilson Pickett, The Blues Project and others

Related: More about that first gig by The Who

March ?—Donovan’s Mellow Yellow album released; Eric Burdon and the Animals’ Eric is Here album released

April 29—The Turtles’ Happy Together album released; Aretha Franklin’s “Respect” single released

April ?—Chuck Berry’s Golden Decade album released; Blues Magoos’ Electric Comic Book album released; The Electric Prunes’ self-titled debut released; Tim Hardin’s Tim Hardin 2 album released; Gordon Lightfoot’s The Way I Feel album released

May 1—Paul McCartney reveals that all four members of the Beatles have taken LSD; Elvis Presley marries Priscilla Beaulieu at the Aladdin in Las Vegas

Watch as Paul McCartney tells the world that the Beatles are acid heads

May 2—Capitol Records cancels the Beach Boys’ unfinished Smile album

Related: Our Album Rewind on the Smile sessions

May 11— Country Joe and the Fish’s Electric Music for the Mind and Body album released

May 12—The Jimi Hendrix Experience’s debut album, Are You Experienced, released

May 15—Paul McCartney meets photographer Linda Eastman, later to become his wife

May 22—The Monkees’ Headquarters album released

Related: Recapping the Monkees’ incredible first year

May 26—The Mothers of Invention’s Absolutely Free album released

May ?—The Lovin’ Spoonful’s You’re a Big Boy Now soundtrack album released; the 5th Dimension’s Up, Up and Away album released

June 1—The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album released; David Bowie’s self-titled debut released; Elvis Presley’s Double Trouble album released

June 6—Moby Grape’s self-titled debut album released

Related: Moby Grape – When bad things happen to good bands

June 10-11—The Fantasy Fair and Magic Mountain Music Festival takes place at Mount Tamalpais in Marin County, north of San Francisco, featuring Jefferson Airplane, The Doors, The Byrds and others

June 16-18—The Monterey Pop Festival takes place in Monterey, California. The landmark event features The Who, Simon and Garfunkel, the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Ravi Shankar, Otis Redding, The Mamas and the Papas, Big Brother and the Holding Company (with Janis Joplin) and many others

Watch The Who’s explosive “My Generation” at the Monterey Pop Festival

June 19—Otis Redding records “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay”

June 23—Small Faces’ self-titled second album released in the U.K.

June 25—The Beatles perform “All You Need Is Love” for the Our World television special

Related: Behind the “All You Need Is Love” telecast

June 26—The Rolling Stones’ Flowers album released

June 28—Florence Ballard is fired from the Supremes, replaced by Cindy Birdsong

June 29—Mick Jagger and Keith Richards are sentenced to jail for drugs (they later appeal successfully)

June ?—The Hollies’ Evolution album released; The Association’s Insight Out album released

July 10—The Bee Gees’ 1st album released

July 17—Jazz great John Coltrane dies at 40

July 18—Jimi Hendrix is thrown off the Monkees’ tour, for which he and the Experience had been the opening act (parents complained about his lewdness)

Watch Peter Tork talk about Hendrix opening for The Monkees

Related: More about that Hendrix/Monkees tour

July 24—The Yardbirds’ Little Games album released

July 31—The Rascals’ Groovin’ album released

Related: The “Groovin'” single hits #1

July ?—Canned Heat’s self-titled debut album released; Incredible String Band’s The 5000 Spirits or the Layers of the Onion album released; The Grass Roots’ Let’s Live for Today album released; The Beau Brummels’ Triangle album released

Pink Floyd in a 1967 promotional photo

Aug. 5—Pink Floyd’s debut album, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, released

Aug. 27—Beatles manager Brian Epstein dies at 32; Stevie Wonder’s I Was Made to Love Her album released

Aug. ?—Big Brother and the Holding Company’s self-titled debut album released; Tim Buckley’s Goodbye and Hello album released; Vanilla Fudge’s self-titled debut album released; Albert King’s Born Under a Bad Sign album released; James Brown’s Cold Sweat album released

Sept. 1—The Who smash their instruments on the Smothers Brothers’ TV show

Sept. 15—The Kinks’ Something Else By the Kinks album released

Sept. 17—The Doors appear on The Ed Sullivan Show and Jim Morrison says the word “higher” during their performance of “Light My Fire,” against Sullivan’s demand not to

Related: More details on the Doors’ infamous appearance

Sept. 18—The Beach Boys’ Smiley Smile album released

Sept. 25—The Doors’ Strange Days album released

Related: The story behind The Doors’ Strange Days

Sept. ?—Van Morrison’s Blowin’ Your Mind album released; Arlo Guthrie’s Alice’s Restaurant album released; Chuck Berry’s Live at Fillmore Auditorium album released; Procol Harum’s self-titled debut album released; Captain Beefheart’s Safe as Milk album released; Eric Burdon and the Animals’ Winds of Change album released

Oct. 3—Woody Guthrie dies at 55

Related: The first performance of Arlo Guthrie’s “Alice’s Restaurant”

Oct. 18—Rolling Stone magazine premieres, with John Lennon on the cover

Oct. 27—Ten Years After’s self-titled debut album released

Oct. 30—Buffalo Springfield’s Buffalo Springfield Again album released

Oct. 31—Phil Ochs’ Pleasures of the Harbor album released

Oct. ?—Sly and the Family Stone’s A Whole New Thing album released; Sam and Dave’s Soul Men album released; Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band’s Gorilla album released; Judy Collins’ Wildflowers album released

The Monkees in 1967. Clockwise from left: Peter Tork, Michael Nesmith, Micky Dolenz, Davy Jones

Nov. 6—The Monkees’ Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones album released

Nov. 10—Moody Blues’ Days of Future Passed album released; Cream’s Disraeli Gears album released

Nov. 27—The Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour album released

Nov. 30—Jefferson Airplane’s After Bathing at Baxter’s album released

Nov. ?—13th Floor Elevators’ Easter Everywhere album released; Love’s Forever Changes album released; Country Joe and the Fish’s I-Feel-Like-I’m-Fixin’-to-Die album released; The Chambers Brothers’ Time Has Come Today album released; The Amboy Dukes’ self-titled debut album released; The Hollies’ Butterfly album released

Related: When the Chambers Brothers’ “Time” had come

Dec. 1—The Jimi Hendrix Experience’s Axis: Bold as Love album released

Dec. 5—The Beatles open the Apple Boutique in London

Dec. 8—The Rolling Stones’ Their Satanic Majesties Request album released

Dec. 9—Jim Morrison is arrested onstage in New Haven for inciting a riot

Otis Redding, who died in December 1967

Dec. 10—Otis Redding dies at 26 in a plane crash, along with members of the Bar-Kays

Related: The story of Otis Redding’s fatal crash

Dec. 15—The Who’s The Who Sell Out album released

Dec. 18—The Beach Boys’ Wild Honey album released

Dec. 26—The Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour film first broadcast

Dec. 27—Bob Dylan’s John Wesley Harding album released; Leonard Cohen’s Songs of Leonard Cohen album released

Dec. ?—Donovan’s A Gift From a Flower to a Garden album released; Dusty Springfield’s The Look of Love album released; Traffic’s Mr. Fantasy album released; Nilsson’s Pandemonium Shadow Show album released; Paul Butterfield Blues Band’s The Resurrection of Pigboy Crabshaw album released; Van Dyke Parks’ Song Cycle album released

Other albums released in 1967 (release dates unknown):

The Blues Project—Live at Town Hall

The Box Tops—The Letter/Neon Rainbow

Chocolate Watchband—No Way Out

Neil Diamond—Just for You

Al Green—Back Up Train (his debut album)

Harpers Bizarre—Feelin’ Groovy

Richie Havens—Mixed Bag

Janis Ian—Janis Ian

Tommy James and the Shondells—I Think We’re Alone Now

The Left Banke—Walk Away Renee/Pretty Ballerina 

John Mayall—The Blues Alone

The Nice—The Thoughts of Emerlist Davjack

Paul Revere and the Raiders—Revolution!

Sam and Dave—Double Dynamite

The Sonics—Introducing the Sonics

Strawberry Alarm Clock—Incense and Peppermints

The Ventures—Super Psychedelics

And finally, a small selection of the year’s hit singles.

The Association—“Windy” and “Never My Love”

The Beatles—“Penny Lane”/“Strawberry Fields Forever” and “Hello Goodbye”/“I Am the Walrus”

The Bee Gees—“The Lights Went Out In) Massachusetts”

Blues Magoos—“We Ain’t Got Nothin’ Yet”

The Box Tops—“The Letter”

The Buckinghams—“Kind of a Drag”

Buffalo Springfield—“For What It’s Worth”

Petula Clark—“Don’t Sleep in the Subway”

Arthur Conley—“Sweet Soul Music”

The Cowsills—“The Rain, The Park and Other Things”

Related: Our feature story on the Cowsills’ great recording

The Spencer Davis Group—“Gimme Some Lovin’”

Donovan—“Mellow Yellow”

The Easybeats—“Friday on My Mind”

The Four Tops—“Bernadette”

Aretha Franklin—“Respect,” “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” and “Chain of Fools”

John Fred and his Playboy Band—“Judy in Disguise (With Glasses)”

Bobbie Gentry—“Ode to Billie Joe”

The Grass Roots—“Let’s Live for Today”

The Hollies—“Carrie-Anne”

Jefferson Airplane—“Somebody to Love” and “White Rabbit”

Gladys Knight and the Pips—“I Heard It Through the Grapevine”

Lulu—“To Sir With Love”

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The Mamas and the Papas—“Creeque Alley” and “Dedicated to the One I Love”

Scott McKenzie”—“San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)”

The Monkees—“Pleasant Valley Sunday,” “A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You” and “Daydream Believer”

Van Morrison—“Brown Eyed Girl”

Aaron Neville—“Tell It Like It Is”

Wilson Pickett—“Funky Broadway”

Procol Harum—“A Whiter Shade of Pale”

Gary Puckett and the Union Gap—“Woman, Woman”

Smokey Robinson and the Miracles—“I Second That Emotion”

The Rolling Stones—“Let’s Spend the Night Together”/“Ruby Tuesday”

The Royal Guardsmen—“Snoopy vs. The Red Baron”

Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels—“Sock it To Me”

Sam and Dave—“Soul Man”

The Seekers—“Georgy Girl”

Nancy and Frank Sinatra—“Somethin’ Stupid”

Small Faces—“Itchycoo Park”

Sonny and Cher—“The Beat Goes On”

The Soul Survivors—“Expressway to Your Heart”

Spanky and Our Gang—“Sunday Will Never Be the Same”

Strawberry Alarm Clock—“Incense and Peppermints”

The Supremes—“Love Is Here and Now You’re Gone,” “Reflections” and “The Happening”

The Turtles—“Happy Together”

Frankie Valli—“Can’t Take My Eyes Off You”

Dionne Warwick—“I Say a Little Prayer”

The Who—“I Can See for Miles,” “Happy Jack” and “Pictures of Lily”

Jackie Wilson—“Higher and Higher”

Stevie Wonder—“I Was Made to Love Her”

The Young Rascals—“Groovin’” and “How Can I Be Sure”

Related: The biggest hits of 1967

Best Classic Bands Staff

10 Comments so far

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  1. Boeing
    #1 Boeing 4 January, 2017, 01:10

    The lyrics, the bands and the brilliant talent in general brings back such tremendous memories! It is with great nostalgia that I listened to some of the songs mentioned here! I still maintain that the best music ever produced was from that era! Proud moments!

    Reply this comment
  2. Victoria
    #2 Victoria 17 May, 2017, 10:35

    Clearly an amazing year for rock and roll and music history!

    Reply this comment
  3. AmyGdalaGodiva
    #3 AmyGdalaGodiva 3 June, 2017, 17:23

    Actually, the Stones didn’t ignore Sullivan. Mick sang “let’s spend some time together” albeit while rolling his eyes. It was the Doors that agreed to take out “girl we couldn’t get much higher” out of “Light My Fire” but Morrison sang it anyway and got The Doors banned from the show.

    Reply this comment
  4. Bianca
    #4 Bianca 2 December, 2017, 20:15

    Love to see the Easybeats!

    Reply this comment
  5. Gypsy
    #5 Gypsy 17 June, 2020, 09:43

    I wasn’t born until 1970! I would’ve just love to hear Eddie Brigati “How Could I Be Sure” to me in 67! What a beautiful song! That era had wonderful hits! Will stick with you for life!

    Reply this comment
  6. melf
    #6 melf 26 January, 2021, 00:12

    True words on the Sullivan show.
    The Doors clearly were not into conforming to anyone’s requests.
    They still have such presence today!
    Would have loved to seen them live, including the Keyboardist, Ray M.
    Very fortunate to have grown up with that playing on AM radio!

    Reply this comment
  7. Micky
    #7 Micky 27 January, 2021, 09:26

    I was 16 then. It was a great time but it sure didn’t take long to fall apart. I was 18 in 69. Not a good time to be 18 draft wise. I think Zappa was the difinitive spokesperson for the times. We’re only in it for the money. Snms it up in my mind then and now.

    Reply this comment
  8. Da Mick
    #8 Da Mick 12 October, 2021, 12:50

    There will never be a year like that again. When you look at this list, one wonders how it was even possible for all this amazing music, and the cultural phenomenon that it represented to be happening everywhere at the same time. Sure everyone fed off one another, and the vibes that were out there, but for all this to be released within the span of one year meant that all these folks were home writing all this music, and developing all these recordings at roughly the same time. Unlike Micky, I was 13 in 1967, but as the writer of this article alludes to, like so many others, I was in a band, even then. This incredible array of music that came in in 1967 literally was like a door swinging open in our young minds, (if you’ll forgive the dramatic psychedelic imagery). Where before, most rock music was basically pop music (and a lot of it was pretty damn good), and the music you heard was centered around the top 20 on AM radio, the records mentioned here brought LPs, and the more wide-ranging and deeper music beyond hits, concepts and artwork they represented into focus, and into the imagination. I can vividly remember seeing and hearing so many of these LPs mentioned for the first time. And in many cases it was a shock. Somebody from my band brought over “Sgt. Pepper” to one of our practices, and we didn’t know what to make or think of the different look of the Beatles, and certainly did not know what to make of that record! I also remember crowding around a record player in my neighbor’s house *who was a year older than us) listening to The Doors first records, as well as Cream. In retrospect, it felt like we were in some kind of underground group, or cult, ourselves hiding out and listening to these new, strange (and surely forbidden if our parents only knew) records, by these wild looking cats on the album covers. These types of experiences are why such music becomes ingrained deep in a young person’s soul for life. What an amazingly wonderful time to have been young. And no matter how old we get, we’ll always have that music that represents a form of connection to a time, a place, and a mindset of like-minded people.

    Reply this comment
  9. Da Mick
    #9 Da Mick 12 October, 2021, 15:37

    Gypsy, I’m so sorry that you apparently missed the Rascals when they came around with their “Once Upon A Dream” tour in 2013 (was it really that long ago already?), as the show was magnificent, and an unimaginable gift to longtime Rascals fans (With profound thanks to Little Steven for making it happen.) And, yes, Eddie made me cry while singing “How Can I Be Sure.”

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