The Year in Rock 1966

The Year in Rock 1966

Let’s take a look at what was up with rock music in 1966. The Beatles released their iconic album, Revolver, which was a game-changer for the rock genre. They surprised everyone with their experimental sounds, blending Indian classical music and incorporating backward guitar solos, which was unheard of at the time. The Beach Boys also delivered something different with their album, Pet Sounds, which had orchestral influences and intricate harmonies. The Rolling Stones remained a dominant force in the British invasion scene with their bluesy rock sound in their album, Aftermath, featuring hits such as “Paint It Black” and “Under My Thumb”.

Rock music was in its prime with many sub-genres emerging and gaining popularity. The British Invasion was still going strong with bands such as The Beatles and The Rolling Stones dominating the charts. This era also saw the emergence of psychedelic rock, with bands like Pink Floyd, Jefferson Airplane, and the 13th Floor Elevators experimenting with a new sound that involved the use of distorted guitars, dreamy vocals, and unconventional song structures. Folk rock was also a popular genre with bands like The Byrds and Simon and Garfunkel blending acoustic guitars and harmonies with rock rhythms.  Garage rock was a lesser known sub-genre, but it had a loyal following with bands such as The Sonics and The Seeds known for their raw and energy-fueled performances.

The Beatles had already established their immense popularity across the globe with their previous albums and massive tours. They released their seventh studio album, Revolver, which represented a significant change in their musical style with experimental sounds and psychedelic influences. Some of the most iconic songs of the album include “Eleanor Rigby”, “Yellow Submarine”, and “Taxman”.

However, this was also a year of controversies for the band. The Beatles faced criticism for John Lennon’s infamous statement that they were “more popular than Jesus,” and their subsequent tour faced protests and boycotts. They also stopped touring after a stressful performance in San Francisco due to the overwhelming noise of their enthusiastic fans.

The Beach Boys were at the height of their fame in 1966, known for their signature harmonies and surf rock sound. That year, they released their classic album “Pet Sounds,” which is widely considered one of the greatest albums of all time. It featured hit songs like “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” and “God Only Knows.”

During this time, the band also faced pressure to compete with the Beatles, who were revolutionizing the music industry with their innovative and experimental approach. Despite this, the Beach Boys continued to produce music that stayed true to their unique sound and style.

The Rolling Stones were at the height of their fame and popularity. Their hit songs “Paint it Black” and “Under My Thumb” dominated the charts, and the band’s bad boy image continued to attract hoards of adoring fans. However, this year also marked a turning point for the band as they began to experiment with different musical styles and themes. The album “Aftermath” featured several songs that challenged traditional gender roles, including “Stupid Girl” and “Lady Jane,” while their psychedelic-leaning work on “Their Satanic Majesties Request” would pave the way for artists like Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin. Despite some tensions within the band, 1966 cemented The Rolling Stones as one of the most influential rock bands of all time.

Having already released the classic albums “Bringing It All Back Home” and “Highway 61 Revisited,” which firmly established him as a singular voice in American music, Dylan’s music continued to evolve past his acoustic folk roots. In 1996, he embarked on a controversial tour with his backing band, The Hawks (later to become The Band), which saw him veering away from his folk roots and towards a more electrified sound as he had at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965. The reception to this change was met with often raucous protests throughout the tour.

This transformation is captured on his seminal album “Blonde on Blonde,” which features classics like “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35” and “Just Like a Woman.” The album is widely regarded as one of Dylan’s best recordings coming at the peak of his creativity.

In 1966, Simon and Garfunkel released their fourth studio album, “Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme.” The album was a critical and commercial success, reaching #4 on the US charts and spawning hits such as “Scarborough Fair/Canticle” and “Homeward Bound.” Known for their distinctive harmonies and Simon’s poetic songwriting, they were also involved in the social and political issues of the time, with songs like “The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy)” reflecting the counterculture’s embrace of peace and love. Many consider “Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme” to be their first great album.

The Yardbirds released “Roger the Engineer”. “Roger the Engineer,” also known as “Over Under Sideways Down” in the US, was the Yardbirds’ fourth studio album. It featured the hit singles “Over Under Sideways Down” and “Shapes of Things” and showcased the band’s psychedelic and experimental sound. The album displayed Jeff Beck’s virtuosic guitar skills, including his use of distortion and feedback.

Notable rock albums of 1966, in no particular order or preference!

Pet Sounds – The Beach Boys
Revolver – The Beatles
Blonde On Blonde – Bob Dylan
Face to Face – Kinks
Fresh Cream – Cream
Freak Out! – Frank Zappa And The Mothers Of Invention
Aftermath – The Rolling Stones
Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme – Simon and Garfunkel
If You Can Believe Your Eyes And Ears – The Mama’s and Papa’s
John Mayall & Bluesbreakers-w/E. Clapton – John Mayall/Bluesbreakers
Fifth Dimension – The Byrds
The Sounds of Silence – Simon & Garfunkel
A Quick One – The Who
The Yardbirds/Over Under Sideways Down – The Yardbirds
Sunshine Superman – Donovan
Love – Love
Buffalo Springfield – Buffalo Springfield
The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators – 13th Floor Elevators
The Mamas & the Papas – The Mamas & the Papas
The Young Rascals – The Young Rascals
East-West – Paul Butterfield Blues Band
Animalization (US) – The Animals
From Nowhere/Wild Thing – The Troggs
Dirty Water – The Standells
The Monkees – The Monkees
Daydream – The Lovin’ Spoonful
The Seeds – The Seeds
Hums of The Lovin’ Spoonful – The Lovin’ Spoonful
Jefferson Airplane Takes Off – Jefferson Airplane
And Then…Along Comes The Association – The Association
A Web of Sound – The Seeds
Boom – The Sonics
Small Faces – Small Faces
Gloria – The Shadows of Knight
Them Again – Them
Lightfoot! – Gordon Lightfoot
Hanky Panky – Tommy James and the Shondells
Back Door Men – The Shadows of Knight
For Certain Because (UK) Stop Stop Stop (US) – The Hollies
The Spirit of ’67 – Paul Revere & The Raiders
Take a Ride – Mitch Ryder and The Detroit Wheels
Just Like Us! – Paul Revere & The Raiders
Pretty Flamingo – Manfred Mann
The Feel of Neil Diamond – Neil Diamond
Psychotic Reaction – Count Five
Beau Brummels ’66 – Beau Brummels
Spicks and Specks – Bee Gees
Da Capo – Love
Bus Stop (US) Would You Believe (UK) – The Hollies
Midnight Ride – Paul Revere & the Raiders

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