Bountiful Harvest: Summer of '67 birthed a slew of classic albums

On June 21, 1967, the first day of summer, the album at the top of the Billboard charts ringing in the Summer of Love was Sounds Like by Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass.

monkeesc2c-01-01.jpgIt was replaced the following week by Headquarters, the latest release from The Monkees, who would be the biggest record sellers of the year and would have albums at the top of the charts for 24 weeks during 1967 (More of The Monkees, released in January, sat at #1 for 18 weeks, and Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd., released in November, topped the charts for five weeks).

Not quite the records one associates with the era of psychedelia and flower power.

But after one week, The Beatles? Sgt. Pepper?s Lonely Hearts Club Band replaced Headquarters at #1 and stayed there for nearly three months, becoming the album most associated with that summer.

It also solidified The Beatles? position as the prime innovators in rock, something their previous single, ?Penny Lane?/?Strawberry Fields Forever,? and the accompanying promotional films, had hinted at.

And less than a month after Pepper?s release, on June 25, The Beatles provided another anthem for the Summer of Love when they appeared as Britain?s representatives on ?Our World,? television?s first worldwide broadcast, decked out in Swinging London finery, performing ?All You Need Is Love.? The single was released in less than two weeks and gave the group yet another #1.

The Beatles also remained the dominant British act of the year at a time when, three years after the British Invasion of 1964, American acts were capturing more of the attention.

The Beatles? chief U.K. rivals, The Rolling Stones, didn?t fare nearly as well during the year. On their Jan. 15 appearance on ?The Ed Sullivan Show,? they were forced to modify the lyrics of ?Let?s Spend The Night Together? to ?Let?s spend some time together.?

Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Brian Jones would all be arrested on drugs charges in the coming months, and their excursion into psychedelia, Their Satanic Majesties Request, was seen as aping The Beatles rather too obviously.
The album still reached #2 stateside, and Got Live If You Want It!, Between the Buttons and Flowers all reached the Top 10 in ?67. But, much of the musical excitement of 1967 was generated by American bands from the West Coast, specifically California.

Even the biggest concert event of the year, the Monterey International Pop Festival, took place in the Golden State, showcasing many West Coast acts and giving a welcome boost to others. The Animals even name-checked the event in their Top 20 hit ?Monterey,? while the group?s previous single, ?San Franciscan Nights,? which reached #9, also tapped into the prevailing zeitgeist, as did Scott McKenzie?s blissed-out ?San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Flowers In Your Hair),? which peaked at #4.

Much had been expected of The Beach Boys as the year began. Though 1966?s Pet Sounds was seen as a relative failure in the U.S., where it ?only? reached #10, it had been widely lauded overseas, and their next single, ?Good Vibrations,? was a worldwide smash.

The follow-up album, Smile, might have overshadowed Sgt. Pepper, had Brian Wilson been able to complete it. But, overwhelmed by his personal problems, Wilson scrapped the album, The Beach Boys turned down an invitation to perform at Monterey, and the album they chose to release that summer was Best of The Beach Boys Vol. 2, which peaked at #50 (though their single ?Heroes and Villains,? also released in the summer, reached #10).

But there were now plenty of other California bands ready to step into the

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