We’ve come to the end of November, which means that shameless (desperate?) retailers in the US have been shoving Christmas down our throats for the past five weeks. It’s been a good month, though. Fall is my favorite season, and this month we had a few big 50th album anniversaries as well as some major reissues. Let’s tidy up those loose ends from November 1968 before stores begin stocking those heart-shaped boxes of chocolate for February.
November: Tommy Roe – Single: Dizzy
This chunk of bubblegum was released in the US in November, but not until January ’69 in Australia and March ’69 in the UK. With instrumental backing by the Wrecking Crew, it was a major hit on both sides of the Atlantic. It reached #1 on the US Billboard Hot 100 for four weeks in March of ’69, #1 in Canada in March of ’69, and #1 in the UK in June of ’69.
November: Tommy James and the Shondells – Single: Crimson and Clover
Crimson and Clover spent sixteen weeks on the US charts where it reached #1 in February ’69. It was the group’s most successful single, and it’s a classic track I’ve yet to tire of.
November: Sly and the Family Stone – Single: Everyday People
Everyday People was the band’s first single to reach #1 on both the Soul chart and the US Billboard Hot 100. It maintained the top spot on the Hot 100 for four weeks from February to March of 1969. Here’s a cool live clip of them performing the song. Where have you gone, Sly?
November: Nico – The Marble Index
The Marble Index was German artist Nico’s second solo album, and it was produced by John Cale. Though mostly ignored upon its release, it became a highly influential avant-garde album. I started to write a proper stand-alone post on it, but I just haven’t absorbed it enough. I own and like her previous record, Chelsea Girl, but this one is a bit stark for me despite the amount of depressing music in my collection. It is a very interesting listen, however, and I’ll probably come back to it down the road.
11/1/68: The Turtles – The Turtles Present the Battle of the Bands
The Turtles’ fourth release was a concept album with the band pretending to be a different group on each track, and apparently imitating the worst groomsmen photo ever on the cover. It peaked at #128 on the Billboard Pop Albums chart, but singles Elenore and You Showed Me both reached #6 on the singles chart.
11/5/68: Nixon wins
I wonder if someday things will improve to the point where they’re only that bad again.
11/11/68: John & Yoko – Unfinished Music No. 1: Two Virgins
The title of this album is the answer to the question, “What to you get when an insanely talented and arrogant songwriter/musician gets turned on to an avant-garde artist and heroin at the same time?” I’m not gonna lie, though – as a child, I had the corner of the page of my brother’s copy of Nicholas Schaffner’s The Beatles Forever with this photo on it bent for quick access to the nekid lady. Pasty junkies. Boy howdy.
11/14/68: National Turn In Your Draft Card Day
11/22/68: Fleetwood Mack – Single: Albatross
Inspired by Santo and Johnny’s Sleep Walk (1959), this Peter Green-penned instrumental was Fleetwood Mac’s only #1 single in the UK. They apparently really dug it in the Netherlands, where it also reached the top spot. It climbed to #4 in the US.
11/22/68: Canned Heat – Single: Going Up the Country
The second of Alan Wilson’s big hits for the band, Going Up the Country remains a Counterculture anthem. Lately, we’ve been repeatedly entertained by a clip of it in a car commercial. I think that’s what it’s selling, anyway. I make my wife laugh when I try to sing it. I sound like I’m imitating Kermit the Frog as a member of Canned Heat. Or something like that.
11/22/68: Star Trek – the first interracial kiss on television
Have you ever heard someone defend their degree of open-mindedness by saying something along the lines of “I don’t care what the color of someone’s skin is – black, brown, green, whatever…”? For Captain Kirk, this was the literal truth.
Even an Indigenous Spacewoman! (O.k., a white woman wearing dark makeup, pretending to be an Indigenous Spacewoman.)
11/26/68: Cream bids farewell at the Royal Albert Hall