11 Albums That Turned 50 in 2017

11 Albums That Turned 50 in 2017


Fifty years ago was 1967 and what a wonderful time that was for music. Rock, pop, soul, blues and experimental groundbreaking artists that combined all of those genres were thriving in the charts and beyond. 

It's pretty hard to believe that this list of albums have been around since then, however, they have truly stood the test of time and remain some of the greatest albums ever recorded. 

The Doors  – The Doors

Central to the progression of psychedelic rock, and critically acclaimed - the original album has sold more than 20 million copies, and has been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame; "Light My Fire" was also inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. It has been reissued several times, including a 2007 remaster and a 2017 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition, available here.

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band – The Beatles

An immediate commercial and critical success, spending 27 weeks at the top of the UK albums chart and 15 weeks at number one in the US. On release, the album was lauded by the vast majority of critics for its innovations in music production, songwriting and graphic design, for bridging a cultural divide between popular music and legitimate art, and for providing a musical representation of its generation and the contemporary counterculture. It won four Grammy Awards in 1968, including Album of the Year, the first rock LP to receive this honour.

Are You Experienced – Jimi Hendrix

Widely regarded as one of the greatest debuts in the history of rock music. The album features Jimi Hendrix's innovative approach to songwriting and electric guitar playing which soon established a new direction in psychedelic and hard rock music.

I Never Loved A Man The Way I Love You – Aretha Franklin

The 11th studio album by Aretha and her first on signing with Atlantic Records (where she is still to this day!). The album included two top-10 singles: "Respect" which hit #1 globally, and "I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)" peaked at number 9 in the USA. The album was rated the 10th best album of the 1960s by Pitchfork.

Aretha's 50 years at Atlantic Records was celebrated with a special release, A Brand New Me, featuring all of her classic songs with the addition fo the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, available here.

Disraeli Gears – Cream

Cream's American breakthrough album, becoming a massive seller in 1968. The album was #1 for two weeks on the Australian album chart. The album features the two singles "Strange Brew" and "Sunshine of Your Love". In 1999, the album was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

Again - Buffalo Springfield

Recording for this album took place over a protracted nine-month span during 1967. Several factors may have contributed to this, including that bassist Bruce Palmer had been deported in January and had re-entered the United States illegally to continue working with the band, and guitarist Neil Young had quit and rejoined the group on several occasions, notably absent for the band's appearance at the famed Monterey Pop Festival where David Crosby substituted in his place at the request of guitarist Stephen Stills. The album features the first recordings of songs written by guitarist Richie Furay, who had not contributed any material to the debut.

The Doors  -  Strange Days 

1967 was a busy year for the band! This one was also a commercial success, reaching #3 on the Billboard album chart and eventually earning platinum certification. The album also yielded the Top 30 hit singles "People Are Strange" and "Love Me Two Times". Strange Days was recorded during tour breaks between May and August 1967 at Sunset Sound Recorders in Hollywood (the same studio as their first LP). In contrast to the 1966 sessions, producer Paul A. Rothchild and engineer Bruce Botnick employed a cutting-edge 8-track recording machine. The protracted sessions allowed the band to experiment in the studio and further augment their otherworldly sound with unusual instrumentation and sonic manipulation. 

Get the 50th Anniversary Expanded Deluxe Edition on CD or vinyl here. 

Electric Music For The Mind and Body – Country Joe and The Fish

One of the first psychedelic albums to come out of San Francisco. Tracks from the LP, especially "Section 43", "Grace", and "Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine" were staples on progressive rock radio often played back to back. A version of the song "Love" was performed at the 1969 Woodstock Festival, and "Grace" is a tribute to Jefferson Airplane's lead singer, Grace Slick.

Smiley Smile – Beach Boys

This album generated the band's lowest chart placement to that point. Critics and fans generally received the album with confusion and disappointment. Only one single was issued from Smiley Smile: "Heroes and Villains". "Good Vibrations" and "Gettin' Hungry" were also released, but the former was issued a year earlier, while the latter was not credited to the band. Devised as a simplified version of their then-forthcoming Smile…a different, much more elaborately constructed LP…Smiley Smile contrasts significantly with its minimalist approach and lo-fi production.

1st – Bee Gees

The third studio album and their first international full-length recording after two albums distributed only in Australia and New Zealand. Reflecting the group's early style, Bee Gees' 1st was a psychedelic pop album. The album cover was designed by Klaus Voormann who had previously done the cover for Revolver by The Beatles. 

The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn - Pink Floyd

The debut studio album by Pink Floyd, and the only one made under founding member Syd Barrett's leadership. The album, named after the title of chapter seven of Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows and featuring a kaleidoscopic cover photo of the band taken by Vic Singh, was recorded from February to May 1967 and released in August 1967. It was produced by Beatles engineer Norman Smith.


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