A Pop Revolution

ABOUT The Author And Historian Ron Gattway

The author and historian Ron Gattway
Eye am an author/historian/publisher/satirist. Eye was born in Fulford Maternity Hospital because there was no room at the inn. Eye am the product of a mixed marriage: my mother was a woman, and my father was a man, so I had a difficult upbringing. Eye am also a racist, as eye am particula More...



Here is an extract from 'A Pop Revolution' by the invisible man

The best album of 1969? 

Led Zeppelin by Led Zeppelin
peaked in the UK charts at No.6
peaked in the US charts at No.10
produced by Jimmy Page
released in January
It was a bizarre coincidence that as the brilliant Cream were bowing out of the rock scene in November 1968, a new act were filling their considerable void. Whilst Cream are hailed as the first supergroup, Led Zeppelin (or the New Yardbirds, as they were initially known) were themselves drawn from previous dalliances in the world of pop. In fact, Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones were prolific session men who had been hired to lend their professional expertise to a plethora of rather unlikely pop songs. Their CV makes for interesting viewing as they offered their assistance to a variety of pop acts. Now at last, Page and Jones were stepping out from the shadows of the recording studio, determined to make their own mark. They hired Robert Plant and John Bonham from the heart of the Black Country of the West Midlands, and it wasn’t long before their new appointments were vindicated, as Led Zeppelin cemented their reputation as one of the hottest live acts on the globe. In between live performances, this particular fab four managed bouts of recording which helped give birth to their debut long player. It is famed for being recorded with much haste and little expense, and lambasted for being a little too plagiaristic for some scoffers. However, it is not unnatural for a new group, finding their feet, to draw upon their own musical influences in their first recorded tracks. Whilst the debate rages on about the originality of their debut album, the musicianship is of the highest order. True, Robert Plant was still in his infant stages as a songwriter and by his own admission had not yet blossomed as a vocalist, but the foursome’s interpretation of the blues was without equal from a group of white English lads. Their rendition of Willie Dixon’s ‘You Shook Me’ is an obvious highlight. ‘Dazed And Confused’ meanwhile is a Page original that was intended for the Yardbirds. Here is its finest version before the group would fail to resist the temptation to play prolonged live attempts of this classic which at times would last the guts of half an hour. I once found myself driving along to the sound of ‘Dazed And Confused’, wondering if it was wise to be steering my way through such a heavy, sinister-sounding track. Elsewhere, the album-opener ‘Good Times, Bad Times’ and ‘the sonic mayhem of ‘Communication Breakdown’ were much shorter and thus laden with high energy. John Paul Jones’s prowess on keyboards also is in evidence on the vengeful ‘Your Time Is Gonna Come’. No sooner had this album made a triumphant invasion of Transatlantic album charts than a follow-up surfaced later in 1969 to reinforce the mighty Zep as the originators of a new genre, heavy metal. If nothing else, their first album is the greatest karaoke offering ever, and no 21st century fledgling rock act dare bypass this important manual which has left all imitators and competitors trailing miles behind.
The album’s best song? How Many More Times
English Division One soccer champions: Leeds United
English FA Cup final : Manchester City 1 Leicester City 0
English League Cup winners: Swindon Town
Scottish Division One soccer champions: Glasgow Celtic
Scottish FA Cup final: Glasgow Celtic 4 Glasgow Rangers 0
Scottish League Cup winners: Glasgow Celtic
Irish League soccer champions: Linfield; Irish Cup winners: Ards
League Of Ireland soccer champions: Waterford; cup winners: Shamrock Rovers
European Cup final: AC Milan 4 Ajax Amsterdam 1
European Cup-Winners’ Cup final: Slovan Bratislava 3 Barcelona 2
European Fairs’ Cup final: Newcastle United beat Ujpest Dozsa 6-2 on aggregate
English county cricket champions: Glamorgan
Five Nations’ rugby union champions: Wales (triple crown)
Formula One world drivers’ champion: Jackie Stewart
Gaelic football All-Ireland champions: Kerry; hurling champions: Kilkenny
British Open golf champion: Tony Jacklin
US Masters golf champion: George Archer
US Open golf champion: Orville Moody
USPGA golf champion: Ray Floyd
Rugby league Challenge Cup final: Castleford 11 Salford 6
Wimbledon men’s singles tennis champion: Rod Laver
Wimbledon ladies’ singles tennis champion: Ann Jones
The Aintree Grand National steeplechase winner: Highland Wedding
The Epsom Derby winner: Blakeney
The Ryder Cup: Great Britain & Ireland 16 USA 16

1969 songs extract from the book 'A Pop Revolution' by the invisible man

The best 10 songs of 1969? 

He Ain’t Heavy , He’s My Brother by The Hollies
 Long before the emergence of Madchester or before Manchester became a mecca for the indie/new wave scene, it was the Hollies who originally flew the flag for this city. The group regularly flirted with the upper echelons of the UK singles chart, having been ‘top of the pops’ in 1965 with ‘I’m Alive’. However, arguably their greatest ‘sixties recording was this slice of brotherly love, ably assisted by a prominent harmonica, strings, and the group’s trademark harmonies.
If I Can Dream by Elvis Presley
The king of rock ‘n’ roll made a belated attempt to regain his throne by abandoning his mediocre acting career and returning to what he always did best: singing and performing. A ‘Comeback Special’ was filmed and screened to wide acclaim with Elvis showcasing a new tune, ‘If I Can Dream’. It wasn’t exactly hip-swivelling stuff, but ‘If I Can Dream’ is a mini-epic which reminded one and all of the majesty of Mr P. Buoyed by this comeback, Elvis enjoyed a brief flurry of big hits.
I Want You (She’s So Heavy) by The Beatles
After group relations were frayed by the sessions for the not-yet released ‘Let It Be’ album, the once fab four managed to patch up their differences and re-enlisted George Martin for the more harmonious ‘Abbey Road’ project. Determined to go out on a high, John Lennon weighs in with the lengthy and slightly disturbing ‘I Want You (She’s So Heavy)’. Dominated by guitar and Lennon’s unremitting demand of ‘I want you’, the song ends abruptly when Lennon states: cut the tape ‘there’.
Nothing Is Easy by Jethro Tull
 Long-haired flautist Ian Anderson carved out his own niche in the world of rock with a number of unique singles and albums. Nothing is indeed easy but Jethro Tull serve up a treat with this item from their ‘Stand Up’ album. Not only is the flute-playing a joy to behold, but the intro is out of this world. Jethro Tull are largely unheard of by the 21st century audience of X Factor devotees. One can feel nothing but sympathy for those who are oblivious of this quirky recording.
  Ramble On by Led Zeppelin
Ace guitarist Jimmy Page alternated between acoustic guitar and electric guitar while Bonzo Bonham’s drumming was both sedate and ferocious as the mighty Zeppelin demonstrated their light and shade dynamic in this outstanding piece from their second album. Robert Plant meanwhile revisits the well-worn theme of the rolling stone, born under a wanderin’ star who is unable to settle down and whose itchy feet set out for pastures new. Here was a new band really hitting its awesome stride.
Reflections Of My Life by Marmalade
Marmalade were the toast of the airwaves with their own joyful rendition of the Beatles’ ‘Ob-La-Di-Ob-La-Da’ which reached the top of the pops in the UK in early 1969. At the end of the year, the gang were back again with something completely different. ‘Reflections Of My Life’ was a sensitive tune and didn’t belong in the happy-go-lucky bracket. The track is notable for a backwards guitar whilst also decorated with strings. It is one of the best sad songs in popular music.
Someday We’ll Be Together by Diana Ross & The Supremes
The Supremes closed out the decade by occupying familiar territory, the summit of the Billboard Hot 100. It was something of a bitter-sweet triumph as this was the swansong for the leading Supreme, Diana Ross, who had just announced that this single would be her last with the group, as she prepared to launch her own solo career. Whether the song title suggested a group reunion was open to question, but the tragic death of original Supreme, Flo Ballard in 1976, scuppered any such hopes.
 Something In The Air by Thunderclap Newman
There was certainly something in the air in 1968, which was something of a year of protests and riots. This theme surfaces in this memorable tune from the short-lived ‘Thunderclap Newman’. This revolutionary single was a call to arms which if nothing else climbed to the peak position of the UK chart in mid-summer. This studio band included Jimmy McCulloch, future guitarist with Wings and the song was produced by Pete Townshend. It was his only involvement with a UK chart-topper.

Wonderful World , Beautiful People by Jimmy Cliff
Before Jimmy Cliff found fame with his leading role in the film, ‘The Harder They Come’, he made a few forays into the UK charts. Notable among them was this single which revealed Cliff’s longing for a better world. Cliff even exhorts Prime Minister Wilson and President Nixon in mid-song, though one could argue that his pleas fell on deaf ears. Here was another song that fell into the skinhead reggae category as Jamaican music found an unlikely audience with working-class white men.
You Can’t Always Get What You Want by The Rolling Stones
1969 witnessed the death of Rolling Stone, Brian Jones, (who was almost certainly murdered) while Marianne Faithfull nearly joined him a few days later when she overdosed. Undaunted by these traumas, Mick Jagger rode on regardless, as he went down to the demonstration to get his fair share of abuse! A choir was thrown in to this epic for good measure. This was the long closing track to the critically acclaimed ‘Let It Bleed’ album which had opened with the equally remarkable ‘Gimme Shelter’.