So far 2017 has been the year of 1997. There have been countless lists (including our own) celebrating the albums that turn 20 this year. And not without good reason; ’97 produced some absolute classics, while also hitting on some sweet nostalgia. For all that’s been said about the records that turn 20 this year, we’ve seen comparatively less of the 50th anniversary records. 1967 was one of the most iconic years in music history – it saw the Summer of Love, Monterey Pop Festival, and some of the most influential artists the world has ever known in their prime. It says a lot that while 1967 was before most of our time, many of us can name our favorite album of ’67 without hesitation.
This is by no means an exhaustive list. With so many amazing albums to choose from, there are some blaring omissions – no Stones, no Doors, no Dylan. See more of the most collected records from 1967 on Discogs!
Check out our take on the best records of 1967:
One of my favorite psych rock records. Still has a very 60s vibe to it, but has a timeless appeal.
– Morgan, Systems Administrator
A critically acclaimed classic, and deservedly so. Alternately beautiful and ugly pop songs adorned with avant-garde flourishes and lyrics that explored the dark underbelly of 1960s NYC. What more can I possibly say about this record that hasn’t already been said a thousand times over?
– Mark, Developer
Sorry to repeat the same from Mark BUT it is my favourite from 1967! Not only is the music completely amazing on this record but the cover is iconic and represents the 60s so well. A true classic.
– Claire, Managing Director of Operations
I knew I wouldn’t be the first to include this record (anyone out there who doesn’t love it?), but I didn’t even make it for the second position… Either way, this was one of the records who boosted my love for music and took it to the next level. Every single track is a masterpiece on its own terms and, in my opinion, their debut record set the bar so high that I cannot think of any other first record that outdid this one. Pure magic.
– Javi, Community Success Coordinator
I decided I had to listen to The Kinks after hearing them referenced countless times by all my favorite bands as a teenager. Their back-catalog is so extensive, I wasn’t really sure where to start, but I’m glad this was my jumping off point. I was hooked from the start, with album-opener “David Watts“: “I am a dull and simple lad / I cannot tell water from champagne / and I have never met the Queen”. These perfectly crafted pop songs are propelled by observational storytelling, biting wit, and a big helping of charm. Morrissey, Weller and Albarn, and a myriad of others are in no small way indebted to Davies and The Kinks. It might not be THE best record of 1967, but it always gets me.
– Jess, Search Engine Marketer
Red House and Highway Chile are authentic bumbumboomb tracks! Can’t say No to Jimi!
– Esther, Community Success Coordinator
Browsing through ’67, this is probably the only ’67-record I own. First introduced to Cohen by a girlfriend, it was only years later that I learned to appreciate the poetry accompanied by serene acoustic guitar.
– Yoram, Community Success Coordinator
A lot of great, iconic records appeared in 1967 – hard to pick a favorite, but I absolutely love Roky Erickson, and in my mind, the 13th Floor Elevators never made a bad record. People talk about the “sophomore slump,” where a hot new band’s second album falls flat – not the case here, Easter Everywhere packs a solid punch with unforgettable psych rock rhythms and guitar work, and of course, Roky’s incredible wailing vocals. A permanent classic.
– Josh, Director of Community Success
– Tim, Community Engagement Specialist
I can’t hear the year 1967 without immediately visualizing the cover of this album. It’s iconic, and from what I understand, essentially the theme music to the Summer of Love. I was born 19 years after that, but it was one of three Beatles albums that soundtracked my own childhood.
– David, Community Success Lead
Discovered this gem by coincidence 2 years ago. Soul, Gospel, Blues, Rock & Roll and Psychedelic Rock: I wasn’t around yet at the time, but to me it sounds like the essence of the sixties has been poured into this one release. Fifty years on, its raw energy still seems to be captured inside the record, bursting out of the grooves every time I play it, but keeping enough of it contained to keep on giving for years to come.
– Lilian, Content Marketing Specialist
So many great albums came out in ’67! This album, which was Aretha’s 11th studio album, is definitely near the top of my list.
– Kirsten, Product Owner
This record is the Queen of Soul’s ascension to the thrown, the voice of GOD revealed to man, proof that Heaven exists in Muscle Shoals, Alabama… I Never Loved A Man The Way I Love You is perfection. Everyone can agree that “Respect” is a masterpiece single, but the title track… “I Never Loved A Man”… the last forty-six seconds is crushing, consecrated, and breathtaking. With songs from Sam Cooke, Ray Charles, Otis Redding, and the Queen herself, I Never Loved A Man The Way That I Love You should be reason enough to make Aretha’s birthday a National Holiday.
– Jeffrey, Public Relations and Strategic Partnerships
Oh, man, where do I even start? In my book, ’67 is the big pivot in rock history. Look at the debut albums that dropped fifty years ago. Look at the trends that took flight, the seasoned vets who were able to express themselves with new and vibrant sounds. This is the year that popular music figured out the twister had passed, stepped out of the house, and saw the world in glorious Technicolor. I’m not even sure that I could narrow 1967 down to a Top 20, let alone a single album (Oh, hey, how are you doing, upcoming blog post topic?). Let me just throw a dart at a map, then: Disraeli Gears is the winner. Granted, the lyrics are…well, they’re peak Summer of Love, man. I don’t think anybody is going to mistake “Sunshine Of Your Love” for a nuanced treatise on humankind’s existential concerns. But when you deliver those words with the gusto that Jack Bruce is able to summon up, or with the earnestness of Eric Clapton, or the sheer I-don’t-give-a-crap-itude of Ginger Baker, the prose practically turns into a selling point. Instrumentally, the list of Cream’s peers at this time is really damn short. The Beatles. The Jimi Hendrix Experience. The Who. End scene. Baker and Bruce were using their background in the jazz world in extremely subtle ways; together they formed one of the most propulsive, agile, and flat-out thunderous rhythm sections in the history of rock. Meanwhile, this is peak Clapton as guitar god. Sure, he was lifting licks left and right from Albert King. Yep, he pilfered the melodic arc of an old pop standard for one of his spotlight solo moments on Disraeli Gears. He still found a way to put his own stamp on everything he played. Those influences that he was wearing on his sleeve managed to coalesce into something beautiful thanks to what may be the greatest guitar tone ever committed to record. It’s like his fingers are just stinging his amp. It sounds so good it’s damn near painful. Ultimately, though, it all has to come down to the songs, and this is as consistently listenable an album as you’re going to find from this year (or, frankly, any other). The material is varied, shifting from blues to pop to pure psychedelic light. There isn’t a wasted moment. For that matter, some of these songs are practically perfect: “Strange Brew” and “Tales Of Brave Ulysses” knock my ears silly every time I start ’em up. You can name me an album from 1967 as good as Disreali Gears, I’ll grant you that much. But you can’t name me one better.
– Tom, Community Success Coordinator
Choosing my favorite album from 1967 is an impossibility. ’67 was too important to pluck one out the pack. So, beyond some of the LP masterpiece highlights of that year like Are You Experienced, Sgt. Pepper’s, Piper At the Gates of Dawn, I Never Loved A Man The Way I Love You, Nina Simone Sings the Blues, Your Good Girl’s Gonna Go Bad, Introducing The Sonics, Mr Spock’s Music from Outer Space, what’s more important to me are the albums that crossed genres to make 1967 the Year of Musical Integration. Understanding the innovations developed in that era is fundamental in truly appreciating everything recorded afterward.
While the previous year (1966) was the height of the “swingin’ 60s”, there was a shift in focus in 1967 to increasingly knock down the artificial walls the music industry had built around musical genres (many of those walls constructed around culture and race). Those boundaries represented and perpetuated institutional inequality, and reinforced the idea of cultural and racial segregation. However, that year in recorded music was different, with the emphasis on musical integration.
Though the mood of late 1960s would increasingly become more jaded, in 1967 people still seemed to have a more hopeful (if not naive) idea that somehow humankind could eventually live harmoniously. Much of the world was seemingly riding on the same soulful groove, with open hearts and minds. Yes, there was incredible social unrest, struggle and strife, but there remained a hope for people to overcome differences to work together for a brighter, more equitable, and peaceful future.
Nowhere was that attitude more reflected than in the music released in that year of musical mind-melding, when genres came together across cultures and across continents, to conduct a sort of psychedelic “sonic summit”. For example, ’67 saw Indian musician Ravi Shankar celebrated by a mainstream American audience at the Monterey Pop Festival, and the sitar expanded its presence on popular recordings.
The 1967 genre-busting also presented itself when rock & roll recommitted itself to the blues in an updated, psychedelic way on LPs by Jimi Hendrix, Captain Beefheart, Cream, and many others. Meanwhile traditional blues musicians in turn, found ways to incorporate certain aspects of the rock aesthetic.
More than any other, the style that seeped into every crevice of the recording industry in 1967 was SOUL MUSIC. There was Soul-Jazz, Soul-Blues, Soul-Folk, Soul Bossa Nova, Rock n Soul, Psych-Soul, Soul-Prog-Rock, etc.
It was a banner year for that genre with classic LPs released by swoon-worthy Brenton Wood, Marlena Shaw, The Isley Brothers, Oscar Toney, Jr, Carla Thomas, Larry Williams & Johnny Guitar Watson, Booker T & The MG’s, Gladys Knight And The Pips, Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell, James Carr, The Marvelettes, Bar-Kays, and two explosive live Motown LPs by Martha Reeves & the Vandellas as well as The Temptations. Not to mention the debut LP by Sly & the Family Stone who rode the Bay Area hippie vibe into psych-soul super stardom.
Otis Redding lived out his final days being the true Ambassador of Soul, with Stax releasing his Live in Europe LP as a document of his mind-blowing European tour. On the other side of the world, he ignited a burning fandom in what he referred to as “the love crowd” at the Monterey Pop Festival. In turn, they influenced his music, which he took in an interesting, soul/folk/pop direction in the months before his death in December of 1967.
Also in 1967, New York’s Latin Boogaloo scene transitioned into the Latin Soul explosion, as traditional elements of Cuban and Puerto Rican music were fused with jazz and sweet soul to create an infectious dance music genre.
Yes, 1967 was a MONSTER year for soul music as the soul groove made it into pop music around the world from Japan to India to Ethiopia to France to South America to Jamaica, and even into country music.
In fact, it was in 1967 that a multi talented young woman named Bobbie Gentry released the watershed album, Ode to Billie Joe which defied classification, all at once being equal parts country, soul, and pop. Gentry’s LP opened the floodgates for other artists to release an endless stream of folksie “story songs” and it ignited the funky-country-soul crossover craze (and countless covers of “Ode to Billie Joe” in just about every musical style and language imaginable). It was a bonafide soul sensation!
Yes, the soul groove, which was born out of the sound of the Civil Rights-era churches preaching hope and determination in the face of overwhelming resistance to social progress, was everywhere at the dusk of the “era of hope”. In fact, it was too big to be contained and thus, it expanded.
Out of soul grew funk music in the mid-1960s and the genre proved to take hold in 1967, just on the cusp of an era of skepticism and conservative backlash launched in the following year. During the American government’s war on social equality movements (there was definitely something funky on the horizon to come in 1968) funk music was gearing up to be at the center of soundtrack for those times. In 1967 it was just revving up with some solid classic LPs.
And that is my response to what is my favorite album of 1967.
– Shannon, Community Success Coordinator