What do I remember about the music of 1967? Let’s see, not very much! It’s not that I was partaking in the stimulants that characterized the awakening psychedelic era. I was much too young for that. Besides, my dad was a cop! Rather, it was more a case of, I was just busy. What I do remember, is that it was the year my family moved from the tiny hamlet of Bala, situated on the southwest corner of Lake Muskoka to the much larger town of Bracebridge, located on the northeast corner of the lake.
On the personal side of the ledger, it was also the year of one of the highest points of my life and one of the lowest points [if that is possible at the relatively tender age of 12]. The high point came in February when I scored the winning goal in the fourth period of overtime to help my team capture the Muskoka Parry Sound Peewee D hockey championship. I can still recall with crystal clarity the puck coming out to me from the side boards, backhanding it towards the net, watching it slide along the ice and hit the metal bar at the back of the net, the arena erupting. It was an incredible moment! The low point came a couple of months later when our elementary school principal banned me from participating in track and field day because he thought I was being disrespectful. I wasn’t being disrespectful, I was just trying to help resolve a difference of opinion amongst the judges. But the curmudgeonly Mr. Whitehead didn’t see it that way and he didn’t give me a chance to explain myself. What really hurt, was that I was confident that I was going to take home a bucket load of first place ribbons that day because my chief rival was away on vacation [ironically enough, the same guy who passed the puck to me when I scored the winning goal]. Oh, the tragedies and triumphs of childhood!
Now that I have bared my soul, let’s get back to the music. Actually, the year wasn’t totally lost on me. In 1967 I became a bonafide Rolling Stones fan when they released Ruby Tuesday. By doing so, I wasn’t giving up on the Beatles. No, indeed! It was more a case of I was simply expanding my musical likes. That expanded list included The Turtles, who hit the airwaves with Happy Together! What an awesome song! It also included [and this is a huge admission] The Monkees. You see, guys weren’t supposed to like The Monkees, but I really liked Daydream Believer. I liked it even more when it was added to the soundtrack of the 90s chick flick movie, Now and Then [another huge admission … guys aren’t supposed to like chick flicks!]
A trivia question for you. Did you know that Davey Jones, lead singer of The Monkees, appeared on the Ed Sullivan show the night the Beatles made their first appearance in 1964?
Other likes from ’67 included, Groovin’ by The Young Rascals, The Rain, the Park and Other Things by the Cowsills, and To Sir With Love by Lulu, which was featured in the extraordinary film of the same name starring Sidney Poitier.
The Cowsills were an interesting band. Made up of five brothers, a sister [Susan] and their mother [Barbara], they sold a lot of records in the late sixties. Their music was pure bubble gum, but I quite liked it, perhaps because I really had a thing for Susan. Major crush! In an interview many years later with Barbara Walters, the band admitted that they made no money despite selling over 30 million albums. As they told Barbara, we knew how to make records and the record company knew how to make money. Although they were taken advantage of, they were also the inspiration for the 1970s TV hit, The Partridge Family.
There were a ton of great songs released by new bands in 1967. Perhaps the biggest, was A Whiter Shade of Pale by Procul Harum, for me, the most beautiful song ever written.
One of my favorite songs from that year was one recorded by the Mojo Men, called Sit Down I Think I Love You. It was written by Stephen Stills and originally recorded by Buffalo Springfield.
As for the Beatles, it was another big year, perhaps their biggest, as they released Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and Magical Mystery Tour. As good as these two albums were though, I have to admit I’m not in alignment with most music aficionados who consider Sgt. Pepper’s to be the best rock album of all time. It’s not even in my top five favorite Beatles albums. I did like some of the songs they released off of those two discs though, particularly All You Need Is Love and Penny Lane. I also really liked Hello Goodbye, which was released separately at the end of the year.
One thing I didn’t know about that year was the Monterey Pop Festival which took place in August. It featured The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Janis Joplin, the Who and the Mamas and the Papas. It became the template for the Woodstock Music Festival which would take place two years later. It also signaled both a changing of the guard and a changing of the culture, as a number of new musical acts burst onto the scene giving rock a much harder edge as it headed into 1968.