We’re putting down a marker with this episode, and the follow-up: the highest highs and the lowest lows of the entire Rock Era occurred in 1969. It’s a year so big, we had to cut it in two, in order to serve it up properly.
We start in January, with The Beatles on The Roof, a 42-minute outdoor concert that definitely warmed up the neighborhood of Mayfair, London, England. Then we catch up with their friends and rivals, The Rolling Stones.
The Stones broke out HUGE in 68 and 69, the beginning of an incredible five-year run: from Beggars Banquet on through to Exile On Main Street. Peak Stones, the sweet spot for the World’s Greatest Rock N Roll Band.
Brian Jones is out, Mick Taylor is in. We talk about how that happened, and how it impacted the Stones’ sound and attitude. Another influence starts seeping in: American Country Music, thanks to Keith’s new best buddy, Gram Parsons.
Brian’s tragic--and still unexplained--demise changes the Hyde Park Concert from a coming-out party into a memorial service. Emotion and conviction carry the day, and Hyde Park sets a very high and hopeful bar; it’s an early example of How To Successfully Pull Off A Really Big Concert.
During that “Moon-Crazy Summer” of 1969, NASA pulls off something really big. It’s the single greatest feat--so far--of human exploration: The Apollo 11 mission to the moon and back. We look at the moon landing through the Rock N Roll lens; we’ll talk about space travel, science fiction, and fantasy...in books, film, television, and most of all, in Rock Music.
Then David Bowie, with his lifelong knack for being ahead of his time, said take your protein pills and put your helmet on.
And we did.
And in just a short time we got used to it, became a little jaded about it.
That comes later. Here and now in the summer of 1969; stardust, golden, billion year old carbon...got to get ourselves back to the garden.
We’ll open Part Two at Yasgur’s Farm in upstate New York, and we’ll light a candle in the rain.
Head over to Pantheon Podcasts for full show notes.