25 Years of Rock – 1965 – 1969

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Vietnam War

Eve of Destruction – Barry McGuire

Lyndon Johnson announces decisions to bomb North Vietnam, and to raise the draft call.

Lyndon Johnson Told the Nation – Tom Paxton

Ways to avoid the draft

My Generation – the Who

US Marines fire on Viet Cong. Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. Sir Winston Churchill dies. Richard Dimbleby provides commentary for Churchill’s funeral. Richard Dimbleby dies.

Catch the Wind – Donovan

Martin Luther King leads civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama

You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling – the Righteous Brothers.

Riots in Los Angeles, Watts District

We Gotta Get Out of This Place – the Animals

Help! – the Beatles

Beatles perform at Shea Stadium. Paul McCartney introduces…

Ticket to Ride – the Beatles

Interview with the Beatles

I’m Down – the Beatles

Beatles interviewed after receiving MBEs. Objection to Beatles reciving MBES.

I Got You Babe – Sonny and Cher

Diana Rigg joins The Avengers. PJ Proby ordered off tour after trouser ripping incident. The mini skirt

I’m Alive – the Hollies

Ronnie Biggs escapes from prison

Subterranean Home Sick Blues – Bob Dylan

President Johnson’s State of the Union address

The Last Time – the Rolling Stones

Edward Heath elected leader of the Conservative Party

Like a Rolling Stone – Bob Dylan

Interview with Mick Jagger

I Can’t Get No Satisfaction – the Rolling Stones

North Sea oil rig Sea Gem. Northeast power cut affects parts of USA and Canada

Go Now – the Moody Blues

Conservatives win Leyton by-election. Rhodesia declares UDI

For Your Love – the Yardbirds

Ed White makes the first walk in space. Gemini 7 and Gemini 6A make first rendezvous in space

Mr Tambourine Man – the Byrds

Anti-Vietnam War demonstrations in Washington. Robert McNamara predicts increase in American military efforts. Vietnamese villagers rendered homeless.

Yesterday – the Beatles

Beatles’ Christmas Record

The main new story in this edition is the Vietnam War. In Britain 1965 is remembered as the year that Winston Churchill died.

Pop music was becoming more sophisticated. The Beatles’ music was becoming more sophisticated (although I don’t think it was a good idea to have another programme ending with a Beatles’ Christmas record). The Rolling Stones were writing their own songs, and the Who made their breakthrough. Surprisingly James Brown, the pioneer of soul music, wasn’t included. There was already a hippy sound coming into pop music, and in America the folk-protest music scene lead by Bob Dylan was really taking off, but then there was a lot to protest about.


The Sound of Silence – Simon and Garfunkel

England wins the World Cup. Kenneth Wolstenholme’s commentary.

England Swings – Roger Miller

Carnaby Street fashions

Dedicated Follower of Fashion – the Kinks

Radio London jingle. Vitalis shampoo commercial. Radio Caroline marooned. Radio Caroline jingle.

Wild Thing – the Trogs

Edward Short, postmaster general, presents white paper outlawing pirate radio, but allowing local radio stations

Paint It Black – the Rolling Stones

Over five hundred billion dollars spent on Vietnam War. Bombing in Vietnam continues. Interview with President Johnson.

The Ballad of the Green Berets – Staff Sergeant Barry Sadler

Charles Whitman shot dead by police after shooting spree at University of Texas

Hey Joe – Jimi Hendrix

Eight students murdered in Chicago. Hendrik Verwoerd stabbed to death. Indira Ghandi elected prime minister of India. Mao Zedong’ Cultural Revolution

For What It’s Worth – Buffalo Springfield

John Lennon gets into trouble after saying the Beatles are more popular than Jesus

Eleanor Rigby – the Beatles

Calls for sanctions against Rhodesia. Speech by Ian Smith.

Summer in the City – the Lovin’ Spoonful

The Man From UNCLE – Montenegro

David McCallum visits Britain before making film in Italy

River Deep Mountain High – Ike and Tina Turner

Muhammad Ali refuses to join US army on religious grounds

Reach Out I’ll Be There – the Four Tops

You Keep Me Hangin’ On – the Supremes

Safari park opened at Longleat. Chi Chi the panda sent to Moscow Zoo to be mated with An An

Good Vibrations – the Beach Boys

Interview with juvenile delinquents

California Dreamin’ – the Mamas and the Papas

Ronald Reagan becomes governor of California. Lurleen Wallace succeeds her husband as governor of Alabama. Edward Brooke becomes first black senator. Labour wins general election

Taxman – the Beatles

Harold Wilson opens new Cavern Club in Liverpool

Rainy Women – Bob Dylan Doctor

Timothy Leery appeals against sentence for drug offences

Eight Miles High – the Byrds

Timothy Leery describes LSD experience

Tomorrow Never Knows – the Beatles

Psychedelic craze

1966 was a transitional year. The Beatles stopped touring. This is the fifth consecutive edition of Twenty-five Years of Rock to end with the Beatles, but the song is nothing like anything they recorded before. The Rolling Stones and the Beach Boys joined the psychedelic bandwagon, as did new acts like Jimi Hendrix and Buffalo Springfield.

1966 was the year that the phrases ‘Swinging Sixties’ and ‘Swinging London’ were coined, and it was an optimistic time for Britain with Britain leading the worlds of pop music and fashion, England winning the World Cup. The programme even includes a couple of animal stories.

The US mid-term election results included the former actor Ronal Reagan (surname pronounced incorrectly in the new report) being voted governor of California. A few months after this programme was broadcast he was elected president of the United States.


Magical Mystery Tour – the Beatles

Last Train the Clarksville – the Monkees

The Monkees perform in Britain

Theme from The Monkees – the Monkees

Interview with Davy Jones

I’m a Believer – the Monkees

Israel fights Arab nations in Six Day War

A Whiter Shade of Pale – Procol Harum

Race riots in Detroit

Light My Fire – the Doors

Anti-Vietnam War protests

Al Capone – Prince Buster

Che Guevara killed in Bolivia. SS Torrey Canyon runs aground and creates massive oil spillage

Waterloo Sunset – the Kinks

Hi Ho Silver Lining – Jeff Beck

Interview with American visitors to Carnaby Street. Interview with Twiggy.

Let’s Spend the Night Together – the Rolling Stones

Interview with Mick Jagger after controversy over lyrics of Let’s Spend the Night Together. Mick Jagger and Keith Richard avoid being jailed for drug offences.

We Love You – the Rolling Stones

British Medical Journal warns of dangers of taking LSD. Flower people have love-in at Woburn Park. Interview with Duke of Bedford.

San Francisco – Scott McKenzie

Ed Stewart appeals to listeners to save Radio London

Sweet Soul Music – Arthur Conley

Radio London Jingle. Radio London closes down.

We Shall Overcome – Pete Seeger

Johnnie Walker on Radio Caroline. Radio One is launched

Radio One is Wonderful – Kenny Everett

Beefeaters – Johnny Dankworth

Tony Blackburn introduces…

Flowers in the Rain – the Move

Radio One – Jimi Hendrix

Purple Haze – Jimi Hendrix

Till Death Us Do Part

See Emily Play – Pink Floyd

Interview with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Brian Epstein dies. Interview with the Beatles.

Within You and Without You – the Beatles

Third phase of LSD

Cliff Richard says Paul McCartney was wrong to admit to taking LSD, and will be giving up show business career for the church.

Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds – the Beatles

Harold Wilson announces devaluation of the pound. Coronation of the Shah of Iran. Steve Race goes behind the scenes on Beatles’ latest record…

All You Need is Love – the Beatles

Doctor Christian Barnard carries out first heart transplant. Canada celebrates centenary, and hosts Expo ’67. Charles De Gaulle supports Quebec separatists.

Itchycoo Park – the Small Faces

Beatles open Apple Boutique. The Fool play at the opening party.

White Rabbit – Jefferson Airplane

This was the middle episode of the original twenty-five part series.

Rather incongruously the programme begins with Magical Mystery Tour which was the Beatles’ Christmas special. It was a mixed year for the Beatles, they made their most celebrated album, and their most famous tv appearance, but they lost their manager.

There are a lot of anthems here from the hippy/psychedelic era by the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Scott McKenzie, the Pink Floyd, Procol Harum, Jefferson Airplane and others. Jimi Hendrix should have featured in the introduction in the first programme.

Al Capone was probably included because it was the inspiration for the Specials’ then recent hit Gangster.

1967 was the year that Radio 1 started, and the programme includes the station’s opening moments. In 1987, to mark Radio 1’s twentieth anniversary, this edition only was repeated under the title The Year in Rock.


Lazy Sunday – the Small Faces

Government cuts. Harold Wilson endorses “I’m Backing Britain” campaign.

Mrs Robinson – Simon and Garfunkel

US sends warships to North Korea following capture of USS Pueblo. Viet Cong launch Tet Offinsive

Dance to the Music – Sly and the Family Stone

Student demonstrations in Paris

Revolution – the Beatles

Anti-Vietnam War protest in London turns into riot outside American Embassy. Student unrest in Berlin following assassination attempt on student leader Rudi Dutschke

Fire – the Crazy World of Arthur Brown

Malcolm Muggeridge resigns as rector of Edinburgh University over students taking drugs

Jumpin’ Jack Flash – the Rolling Stones

Brian Jones fined for possession of cannabis resin. Mick Jagger and Marianne Faithful bailed for drugs charges. Eugene McCarthy and Bobby Kennedy run for Democratic presidential candidate. Lyndon Johnson announces he will not stand for re-election.

All Along the Watchtower – Jimi Hendrix

Martin Luther King assassinated

We’re Going Wrong – Cream

Bobby Kennedy assassinated. Edward Kennedy speaks at his brother’s funeral.

Hey Jude – the Beatles

Demonstrations outside Democratic convention. Hubert Humphrey becomes Democratic presidential candidate.

Fire Brigade – the Move

Sabre Dance – Love Sculpture

Soviet troops invade Czechoslovakia

Alabatross – Fleetwood Mac

Protests against government’s immigration policy. Enoch Powell makes “Rivers of Blood” speech.

On the Road Again – Canned Heat

Ian Paisley speaks out against nationalist march in Derry.

The Mighty Quinn – Manfred Mann

Men of the Year Lunch. Melody Maker Readers Pop Poll Awards

This Wheel’s on Fire – Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger and the Trinity

Richard Nixon becomes Republican candidate, with Spiro Agnew as his running mate. Nixon elected president.

With a Little Help From My Friends – Joe Cocker

Jackie Kennedy marries Aristotle Onassis

Everlasting Love – Love Affair

Apollo 8, the first manned orbit of the Moon

Nights in White Satin – the Moody Blues

Vietnam peace talks in Paris become deadlocked

In 1968 the hippy movement went from love-ins to protests. It was a violent year with the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy, the continuing Vietnam War, protests against the Vietnam War, the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, and the start of the troubles in Northern Ireland. The best news of the year was the first manned orbit of the Moon, another stage closer to getting men on the Moon.

The music in this programme is almost the start of the early seventies rock and pop scene. The main charts were moving from rock to pop, the Rolling Stones had jumped on the psychedelic bandwagon but quickly returned to their rhythm and blues style, Sly and the Family Stone were making funk music, and Cream and Can were the roots of prog rock. It also marked the start of a new era in American politics.


Something in the Air – Thunderclap Newman

President Nixon on first Moon landing. London School of Economics closes after students break down protective gates. London Street Commune in Piccadilly, interviews with squatters. Ronald Reagan imposes curfew at University of Berkley

Street Fighting Man – the Rolling Stones

Rolling Stones give free concert in Hyde Park and pay tribute to Brian Jones

Honky Tonk Woman – the Rolling Stones

Prince Charles invested as Prince of Wales

Je t’Amie Moi No Plus – Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg

Charles de Gaulle resigns. Bernadette Devlin becomes Britain’s youngest ever MP. British Troops sent into Northern Ireland

Bad Moon Rising – Credence Clearwater Revival

Concorde’s maiden flight. Boeing launches 747.

Get Back – the Beatles

Paul McCartney marries Linda Eastman. John Lennon marries Yoko Ono and stages bed-in for peace

The Ballad of John and Yoko – the Beatles

Interview with John Lennon

Give Peace a Chance – Plastic Ono Band

Reports of atrocities in South Vietnam. Second Lieutenant William Calley court martialled following My Lai Massacre.

Also Sprach Zarapthrustra – Richard Strauss

Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin become first men on the Moon

Space Oddity – David Bowie

President Nixon speaks to Apollo 11 astronauts

Star Spangled Banner – Jimi Hendrix

Country Joe McDonald addresses audience at Woodstock Music and Art Fair. Interviews with attendees at Woodstock.

Soul Sacrifice – Santana

Country Joe McDonald introduces…

I Feel Like I’m Fixin’ to Die – Country Joe and the Fish

Nixon announces plan to withdraw American troops from Vietnam

I Heard It Through the Grapevine – Marvin Gaye

Rolling Stones fan stabbed to death at concert in Altamont, California

Sympathy For the Devil – the Rolling Stones

Charles Manson and five followers charged with the murder of Sharon Tate

Hare Krishna Mantra – Radha Krishna Temple

Pinball Wizard – the Who

The Who perform their rock opera Tommy. Edward Kennedy interviewed after Chappaquiddick incident

Oh Well – Fleetwood Mac

Melody Maker Readers’ Awards

Living in the Past – Jethro Tull

Benjamin Spock addresses largest anti-Vietnam War demonstration in Washington

A Whole Lotta Love – Led Zeppelin

Something in the Air sets this programme up very nicely for the last year of the sixties (and the end of the first half of the thirty part series). It was a bad year for the Rolling Stones, Brian Jones died and the Altamont concert ended in tragedy. The Who broke new ground with the first rock opera, and Oh Well by Fleetwood Mac was the theme tune to Twenty-five Years of Rock. But the biggest pop music event of 1969 was Woodstock, and we hear performances by Jimi Hendrix, Santana and Country Joe McDonald and the Fish.

If the 1960 programme gave little indication of the type of music that was coming in the next decade, the 1969 programme features two influential new acts. The programme plays out with Led Zeppelin who were a major influence on some of the rock bands of the early seventies, and there’s David Bowie who would be a major influence in the seventies and beyond.

Space Oddity ties in with the biggest news event of the year, the first Moon landing. Oddly the series doesn’t include any of the other Moon landings apart from the failed attempt in 1970. Meanwhile back on Earth President Nixon pledged to end the United Sates’ involvement in Vietnam, but it would be a slow process.

One thought on “25 Years of Rock – 1965 – 1969

  1. Something in the Air was used in the climactic scene of the 1969 Peter Sellers film The Magic Christian. The eccentric millionaire, played by Peter Sellers, hires three industrial vats, which he fills with sewage and then throws bank notes into the vats and invites members of the public to help themselves to the money, which they do. It’s the ultimate comment on sixties capitalism.


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