Pink Floyd – Piper at the gates of dawn (The ’59) #059

The ’59 2018 #059: 180228

Pink Floyd – Piper at the gates of dawn (1967)

This year, Jem of Jemtunes, born in 1959, turns 59. So ‘The ’59’ celebrates 59 years of cracking tunes with a few albums from each year – 1959 through 2018. We’re currently at year 9 – 1967.

Piper at the Gates of Dawn was the debut studio album from Pink Floyd, and the only one made under founding member Syd Barrett’s leadership. The album, named after the title of chapter seven of Kenneth Grahame’s ‘The Wind in the Willows’ and featuring a cover photo of the band taken by Vic Singh, was recorded from February to May 1967 and released on 5 August 1967.

Since its release, the album has been hailed as one of the best psychedelic rock albums. In 1973, it was packaged with the band’s second album, A Saucerful of Secrets, and released as ‘A Nice Pair’ to introduce new fans to the band’s early work after the success of ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’. Special limited editions of the album were issued to mark its thirtieth and fortieth anniversaries in 1997 and 2007, respectively, with the latter release containing bonus tracks.

In 2012, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn was voted 347th on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the “500 Greatest Albums of All Time”.

Jimi Hendrix – Are you experienced (The ’59) #058

The ’59 2018 #058: 180227

Jimi Hendrix – Are you experienced (1967)

This year, Jem of Jemtunes, born in 1959, turns 59. So ‘The ’59’ celebrates 59 years of cracking tunes with a few albums from each year – 1959 through 2018. We’re currently at year 9 – 1967.

Are You Experienced was the debut from the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Released in 1967, the LP was an immediate critical and commercial success, and it is widely regarded as one of the greatest debuts in the history of rock music. The album features Jimi Hendrix’s innovative approach to songwriting and guitar playing which soon established a new direction in psychedelic and hard rock music.

By mid-1966, Hendrix was struggling to earn a living playing the R&B circuit as a backing guitarist. After being referred to Chas Chandler, who was leaving the Animals and interested in managing and producing artists, Hendrix was signed to a management and production contract with Chandler and ex-Animals manager Michael Jeffery. Chandler brought Hendrix to London and began recruiting members for a band designed to showcase the guitarist’s talents, the Jimi Hendrix Experience. In late October, after having been rejected by Decca Records, the Experience signed with Track, a new label formed by the Who’s managers Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp.

Are You Experienced and its preceding singles were recorded over a five-month period from late October 1966 through early April 1967. The album was completed in sixteen recording sessions at three London locations, including De Lane Lea Studios, CBS, and Olympic. Released in the UK on May 12, 1967, Are You Experienced spent 33 weeks on the charts, peaking at number two. The album was issued in the US on August 23 by Reprise Records, where it reached number five on the Billboard 200, remaining on the chart for 106 weeks, 27 of those in the Top 40. The album also spent 70 weeks on the US Billboard R&B chart, where it peaked at No.10. The US version contained some of Hendrix’s best known songs, including the Experience’s first three singles, which, though omitted from the British edition of the LP, were top ten hits in the UK: “Purple Haze”, “Hey Joe”, and “The Wind Cries Mary”.

The Velvet Underground & Nico (The ’59) #057

The ’59 2018 #057: 180226

The Velvet Underground & Nico (1967)

This year, Jem of Jemtunes, born in 1959, turns 59. So ‘The ’59’ celebrates 59 years of cracking tunes with a few albums from each year – 1959 through 2018. We’re currently at year 9 – 1967.

The Velvet Underground was an American rock band formed in 1964 in New York City by singer/guitarist Lou Reed, multi-instrumentalist John Cale, guitarist Sterling Morrison, and drummer Angus MacLise (replaced by Moe Tucker in 1965). The band was initially active between 1965 and 1973, and was briefly managed by the pop artist Andy Warhol, serving as the house band at the Factory and Warhol’s Exploding Plastic Inevitable events from 1966 to 1967. Their debut was released in March 1967 by Verve Records.

Accompanied by vocalist Nico, the album was recorded in 1966 while the band were featured on Andy Warhol’s Exploding Plastic Inevitable multimedia event tour, which gained attention for its experimental performance sensibilities and controversial lyrical topics, including drug abuse, prostitution, sadomasochism and sexual deviancy.

Though the record was a commercial failure upon release and was almost entirely ignored by contemporary critics, it’s now widely recognized as one of the greatest and most influential albums in the history of popular music. In 1982, musician Brian Eno famously stated that while the album initially only sold approximately 30,000 copies, “everyone who bought one of those 30,000 copies started a band.”

In 2003, it ranked 13th on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

The Rolling Stones – Their Satanic Majesties request (The ’59) #056

The ’59 2018 #056: 180225

The Rolling Stones – Their Satanic Majesties Request (1967)

This year, Jem of Jemtunes, born in 1959, turns 59. So ‘The ’59’ celebrates 59 years of cracking tunes with a few albums from each year – 1959 through 2018. We’re currently at year 9 – 1967.

Their Satanic Majesties Request is the sixth British and eighth American studio album by the Rolling Stones, released in December 1967 by Decca Records in the UK and London Records in the United States.

Recording sessions saw the band experimenting widely with a psychedelic sound in the studio, incorporating elements such as unconventional instruments, sound effects, string arrangements, and African rhythms. The album’s title is a play on the “Her Britannic Majesty requests and requires …” text that appears inside a British passport. It is the first Stones album to feature the same track listings in both its UK and US versions.

On its release the album was criticised as being derivative of the contemporaneous work of the Beatles, particularly their June 1967 release Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, with the similarities extending to the LP’s lenticular cover. In subsequent decades, however, it has gradually risen in critical reputation.

The Rolling Stones – Between the Buttons (The ’59) #055

The ’59 2018 #055: 180224

The Rolling Stones – Between the Buttons (1967)

This year, Jem of Jemtunes, born in 1959, turns 59. So ‘The ’59’ celebrates 59 years of cracking tunes with a few albums from each year – 1959 through 2018. We’re currently at year 9 – 1967.

Between the Buttons is the fifth British and seventh American studio album by The Rolling Stones, released on 20 January 1967 in the UK and 21 January in the US as the follow-up to Aftermath. It was the beginning of the Stones’ brief foray into psychedelia.

In 2012, the American version of Between the Buttons, which included “Let’s Spend the Night Together” and “Ruby Tuesday”, was ranked No.357 on Rolling Stone magazine’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

The Beatles – Sgt. Pepper’s lonely hearts club band (The ’59) #054

The ’59 2018 #054: 180223

The Beatles – Sgt. Pepper’s lonely hearts club band (1967)

This year, Jem of Jemtunes, born in 1959, turns 59. So ‘The ’59’ celebrates 59 years of cracking tunes with a few albums from each year – 1959 through 2018. We’re currently at year 9 – 1967.

Released on 26 May 1967 in the UK and 2 June 1967 in the United States, Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was an immediate commercial and critical success, spending 27 weeks at the top of the UK albums chart and 15 weeks at number one in the US. On release, the album was lauded by the vast majority of critics for its innovations in music production, songwriting and graphic design, for bridging a cultural divide between popular music and high art, and for providing a musical representation of its generation and the contemporary counterculture. It won four Grammy Awards in 1968, including Album of the Year, the first rock LP to receive this honour.

In February 1967, after recording the title track “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”, McCartney suggested that the Beatles should release an entire album that would represent a performance by the fictional Sgt. Pepper band. This alter ego group would give them the freedom to experiment musically. During the recording sessions, the band furthered the technological progression they had made with their 1966 album Revolver. Knowing they would not have to perform the tracks live, they adopted an experimental approach to composition and recording on songs such as “With a Little Help from My Friends”, “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” and “A Day in the Life”. Producer George Martin and engineer Geoff Emerick’s innovative recording of the album included the liberal application of sound shaping signal processing and the use of a 40-piece orchestra performing aleatoric crescendos. Recording was completed on 21 April 1967.

The cover, depicting the Beatles posing in front of a tableau of celebrities and historical figures, was designed by the British pop artists Peter Blake and Jann Haworth. (And yes, I can tell you who each of them is from the numbered outline above, if you care to ask).

Donovan – Sunshine Superman (The ’59) #053

The ’59 2018 #053: 180222

Donovan – Sunshine Superman (1966)

This year, Jem of Jemtunes, born in 1959, turns 59. So ‘The ’59’ celebrates 59 years of cracking tunes with a few albums from each year – 1959 through 2018. We’re currently at year 8 – 1966.

Sunshine Superman was the third album from folk singer-songwriter Donovan. It was released in the US in September 1966, but was not released in the UK because of a contractual dispute.

In June 1967, Donovan’s management team found a way around this by releasing the album (under its original name) but this time comprising a compilation of the Sunshine Superman and Mellow Yellow albums.

Sunshine Superman was named after Donovan’s hit single released in the US in July 1966. The tracks from Sunshine Superman and Mellow Yellow were not mixed into stereo, with the exception of “Season of the Witch”, until the 2011 2-CD deluxe edition issued by UK EMI.

In 2017, Sunshine Superman was ranked the 199th greatest album of the 1960s by Pitchfork.

Cream – Fresh Cream (The ’59) #052

The ’59 2018 #052: 180221

Cream – Fresh Cream (1966)

This year, Jem of Jemtunes, born in 1959, turns 59. So ‘The ’59’ celebrates 59 years of cracking tunes with a few albums from each year – 1959 through 2018. We’re currently at year 8 – 1966.

Cream’s debut was released in the UK on 9 December 1966, as the first LP on the Reaction Records label, owned by producer Robert Stigwood. It was released in both mono and stereo versions, at the same time as the release of the single “I Feel Free”. It peaked at No.6 on the album charts.

The mono versions were deleted not long after release and for many years only the stereo recordings were available. However, the UK mono album was reissued on CD for the first time in Japan in late 2013 as part of a deluxe SHM-CD and SHM-SACD sets with both editions also containing the UK stereo counterpart.

In January 2017, it was again reissued in a 3CD box-set containing mono and stereo versions of the original UK and US release along with singles and b-sides.

The Beach Boys – Pet Sounds (The ’59) #051

The ’59 2018 #051: 180220

The Beach Boys – Pet Sounds (1966)

This year, Jem of Jemtunes, born in 1959, turns 59. So ‘The ’59’ celebrates 59 years of cracking tunes with a few albums from each year – 1959 through 2018. We’re currently at year 8 – 1966.

Pet Sounds was the eleventh studio album from the Beach Boys, released on May 16, 1966. It initially met with a lukewarm critical and commercial response in the United States, peaking at number 10 in the Billboard 200, a significantly lower placement than the band’s preceding albums. In the UK, it was hailed by the music press and was an immediate commercial success, peaking at number 2 in the Top 40 Albums Chart and remaining among the top ten positions for six months. Originally promoted as “the most progressive pop album ever”, Pet Sounds attracted recognition for its ambitious recording and unusually sophisticated music, and is widely considered to be one of the most influential albums in music history.

The album was produced and arranged by Brian Wilson, who also wrote and composed almost all of its music. Most of the recording sessions were conducted between January and April 1966, a year after he had quit touring with the Beach Boys in order to focus more attention on writing and recording. For Pet Sounds, Wilson’s goal was to create “the greatest rock album ever made”—a personalized work with no filler tracks. It is sometimes considered a Wilson solo album, repeating the themes and ideas he had introduced with The Beach Boys Today! one year earlier. The album’s lead single, “Caroline, No”, was issued as his official solo debut. It was followed by two singles credited to the group: “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” (backed with “God Only Knows”) and “Sloop John B”.

Pet Sounds is regarded by musicologists as an early concept album that advanced the field of music production, introducing non-standard harmonies and timbres and incorporating elements of pop, jazz, exotica, classical, and the avant-garde. A heralding work of psychedelia, the album furthered an aesthetic trend within rock by helping it transform from dance music into music that was made for listening to, elevating itself to the level of art rock.

In 2004, Pet Sounds was preserved in the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” One year earlier, Rolling Stone ranked it second on its list of the “500 Greatest Albums of All Time”.

The Bluesbreakers (aka ‘The Beano album’) (The ’59) #50

The ’59 2018 #50: 180219

John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers (with Eric Clapton) [aka ‘The Beano Album’] (1966)

This year, Jem of Jemtunes, born in 1959, turns 59. So ‘The ’59’ celebrates 59 years of cracking tunes with a few albums from each year – 1959 through 2018. We’re currently at year 8 – 1966.

Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton (a.k.a. The Beano Album) is a 1966 blues/blues rock album recorded by John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton as part of the band. It is the second album credited to John Mayall after the live John Mayall Plays John Mayall. Clapton left to form Cream after this recording, though would team up again in 1971 for the double LP Back to the Roots.

It is also known as The Beano Album (for obvious reasons from the cover photo). Clapton stated in his autobiography that he was reading The Beano on the cover because he felt like being “uncooperative” during the photo shoot.The photographer was Derek Wedgbury and the location was near the Old Kent Road in London.