During twelve unforgettable months in the middle of the turbulent Sixties, America saw the rise of innovative new sounds that would change popular music as we knew it. In 1965: The Most Revolutionary Year in Music, music historian Andrew Grant Jackson (Still the Greatest: The Essential Songs of The Beatles’ Solo Careers) chronicles a ground-breaking year of creativity fueled by rivalries between musicians and continents, sweeping social changes, and technological breakthroughs.
While the Beatles played Shea Stadium and made their first major artistic statement with Rubber Soul, the Rolling Stones topped the American charts for the first time with the sexually aggressive “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” and the Who staked out their territory with the classic “My Generation.” Bob Dylan released his six-minute opus “Like a Rolling Stone” from Highway 61 Revisited and sent shock waves through the music community when he went electric at the Newport Folk Festival. Barry Maguire sang of the “Eve of Destruction” and Simon and Garfunkel released their first number-one hit with “The Sounds of Silence.”
Never before had popular music been so diverse. Soul and funk became prime forces of desegregation as James Brown scored his first Top Ten songs, the Temptations topped the charts with “My Girl,” and Otis Redding released the classic LP Otis Blue with his composition “Respect.” Meanwhile, The Righteous Brothers’ version of “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’” became the longest song to hit number one. Country music reached new heights with the Nashville and Bakersfield sounds. John Coltrane released his jazz masterpiece A Love Supreme. Bob Marley released his first album with the Wailers. And in Northern California, the Grateful Dead gave their first performances at Ken Kesey’s “Acid Test” parties.
Jackson weaves fascinating and often surprising stories into a panoramic narrative of the seismic cultural shifts wrought by the Civil Rights Movement, feminism, Youthquake, the miniskirt, the Pill, psychedelics, and Vietnam. 1965 is a fascinating account of a defining year that produced some of the greatest songs, albums, and artists of all time.