Fifty years ago today, the fabled Summer of Love was but a hazy memory as the optimism associated with those halcyon days had given way to anger and dismay over the Vietnam War, where casualties were mounting. The bulk of the American people still supported the effort, mind you, but anti-war sentiment was spreading.
The month’s headlines included the announcement from the U.S. Public Health Service that it was studying possible harmful effects associated with the era’s color TVs. It may sound like a whack-a-do health myth but, earlier in the year, some of GE’s first color TVs had misaligned shields on their vacuum tubes. That meant that anyone sitting directly right in front of the TV, such as kids watching cartoons, was bathed in x-rays.
New movies released this month included Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, In Cold Blood, Valley of the Dolls, Doctor Dolittle and The Graduate.
The month’s biggest headline from the music world was the untimely death of Otis Redding, who died in a plane crash on the 10th. New albums included Jimi Hendrix Experience’s Axis: Bold as Love; Traffic’s Mr. Fantasy; the Rolling Stones’ Their Satanic Majesties Request; the Who’s The Who Sell Out; the Beach Boys’ Wild Honey; and Bob Dylan’s John Wesley Harding.
Here’s a sampling of the month’s magazine covers:
If you’re interested in seeing the era through the eyes of Life magazine, Google has the year’s final issue (a double) available to browse. The ads are always fun.
And, with that, here’s today’s top 5: December 29, 1967, via Weekly Top 40. (The charts are actually for the week ending on the 30th.)
1) The Beatles – “Hello, Goodbye.” The Fab Four top the charts with this fun 45…
2) Gladys Knight & the Pips – “I Heard It Through the Grapevine.” Nowadays, this song brings to mind Marvin Gaye, who released his version a year later (though he actually recorded it before Gladys & Co.). This week, Gladys and the Pips hit No. 2 with it; and here she is, a few years later, singing it and “The Masquerade Is Over.”
3) The Monkees – “Daydream Believer.” Princess Eugenie’s favorite song is the week’s No. 3.
4) Smokey Robinson and the Miracles – “I Second That Emotion.” The week’s No. 4 is this classic…
5) The Union Gap Featuring Gary Puckett – “Woman, Woman.” The week’s No. 5 would hit No. 4 in two weeks, and would stay there for four weeks before spiraling down the charts.
And two bonuses…
6) The Letterman – “Goin’ Out of My Head/Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You.” One of the week’s “powerplays” is this swingin’ medley, which jumps from No. 59 to 48.
7) Dusty Springfield – “What’s It Gonna Be.” And here’s another “powerplay,” which holds steady at No. 49. (It’s a great, great song.)