50 Essential Albums From 1967

50 Essential Albums From 1967

1967 was one of absolute golden years for music. A deeply culturally and socially important year with several changes around the world, on fashion, politics, technology and many other changes that were reflected on the music being made. There were important releases and debut albums from every kind of musical genre with a vast majority featuring timeless music that the years haven’t aged at all. Seminal albums of Garage Rock, Psychedelic Rock and Pop, the U.S West Coast Sound, the new British invasion and experimental Rock, Jazz, Soul, Blues, Folk , Underground music among so many others were released in 1967. There were important debuts of new bands and artists such as The Doors, The Velvet Underground, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Country Joe & The Fish, Procol Harum, Pink Floyd, Bee Gees, Canned Heat, Big Brother & The Holding Company, Leonard Cohen and David Bowie, there were the maturity, songwriting and artistic evolution of The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Kinks and The Who, there were seminal Soul, Jazz and Blues albums from Otis Redding, Nina Simone and Aretha Franklin among others. In sum, 1967 remains to this day a year almost impossible to beat on what concerns to music. We gathered together 50 of the best album releases from 1967 with no particular order, all of them are essential.

“The Doors“ – The Doors

The debut album of Los Angeles band The Doors. A fresh new approach on Rock music that remains to this day timeless. Includes hits “Light My Fire”, “Break On Through (to the other side)”, “Alabama Song” and Doors classics such as “The End” or “The Crystal Ship” as well as the dark toned “End Of The Night”

“Between the Buttons“ – The Rolling Stones

The prolific Stones were switching musical direction in 1967 and this Psychedelic West Coast influenced album recorded in Los Angeles features all time favorites of the band such as “Let’s Spend The Night Together”, “Ruby Tuesday”, “Yesterday’s Papers” among others.

“Surrealistic Pillow“ – Jefferson Airplane

This psychedelic classic by San Francisco band Jefferson Airplane produced a string of psychedelic rock hits such as “Somebody To Love”, “Plastic Fantastic Lover”, “Today” and the seminal “White Rabbit” maybe the #1 psychedelic signature song of all time.

“Deliver“ – The Mamas & the Papas

The third album by The Mamas & the Papas continues the same path that they started on the previous two albums. Melodic pop and folk at 4 voices, featuring the covers “Dedicated To The One I Love”, “My Girl” and “Twist And Shout” as well as their own “Creeque Alley”.

“The Velvet Underground & Nico“ – The Velvet Underground & Nico

One of the best 1967 albums and as someone once said “at least 20 years ahead of it’s time”, this was the debut Andy Warhol’s put together Velvet Underground album, supposedly produced by Andy Warhol and featuring German Warhol star Nico, she would not be featured on their next albums, also strong innovative albums if not compared to this absolute flawless debut. With a iconic cover art featuring a novelty design by Andy Warhol, a Banana sticker that could be “peel softly” it sold poorly when it first came out but time did it justice and is now considered a masterpiece of rock music and the mother of all alternative rock. Features the classics “Sunday Morning”, “Waiting For My Man”, “Femme Fatale”, “I’ll Be Your Mirror”, and the experimental “Heroin”, “All Tomorrow Parties” and “Venus In Furs”. Would definitely not be the same without Nico even if with Lou Reed masterminding it.

“Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits“ – Bob Dylan

An estabilished name by 1967 with already a vast body of work, Dylan released his greatest hits on this compilation, perfect for a Dylan introduction by featuring songs such as “Blowin’ in the Wind”, “The Times They Are a-Changin'”, “It Ain’t Me Babe”, “Mr. Tambourine Man”, “Like a Rolling Stone” or “Subterranean Homesick Blues”. It is a perfect evening with Dylan.

“The Electric Prunes“ – The Electric Prunes

Psychedelic was the big thing in 1967, the newcomers Electric Prunes released this psychedelic masterpiece that features songs such as “I Had Too Much to Dream (Last Night)”, “Sold to the Highest Bidder” and “Get Me to the World on Time”. Can’t get more psych than this.

“Trogglodynamite“ ‎– The Troggs

The second album by british band The Troggs, noticeable poorer than their debut but still a relevant album with a nice garage rock vibe to it on songs such as “I Can Only Give You Everything” (sort of a proto punk track), “Oh No”, “I Want You to Come into My Life” ,”You Can’t Beat It”, “Baby Come Closer” and “It’s Over”

“Electric Music for the Mind and Body“ – Country Joe and the Fish

One of all time psychedelic records, the debut album by Country Joe and the Fish, another band emerging from the U.S West Coast in 1967, it’s a trippy, acid filled rock from beginning to end on songs such as “Flying High”, “Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine”, “Porpoise Mouth”, “Section 4”, “Bass Strings” and “The Masked Marauder” . Good and accessible psychedelic rock music.

“Are You Experienced?“ – The Jimi Hendrix Experience

Hendrix’s magnificent debut and one of rock’s all time most influential albums. The year of 1967 had barely any weak points on what concerns to music and the amazing quality of so many newcomers makes it a year like no other. The Jimi Hendrix Experience based in London became popular in England and Europe in general during 1966 due to songs such as “Hey Joe”, in 196 their first album is released in two versions, the U.K/European one and the North American one that includes the singles previously released in Europe such as “Purple Haze”, “The Wind Cries Mary”, “Hey Joe”, it omits though “Red House” that is included on the U.K/European releases. Aside of all those smash hits it features also “Fire”, “Foxy Lady” and “Manic Depression”. Jimi Hendrix proves from the start that besides being a talented, innovative musician, was also a hit maker.

“David Bowie“ – David Bowie

David Bowie’s self titled debut album sold poorly and didn’t draw enough attention when it was first released. An album that was rejected even by Bowie later in his career, however, as the time went by, it is an album that can be appreciated for what it is, an album of it’s time, with a musical genre pushing towards the baroque pop. Two years before “Space Oddity” there were songs such as “Sell Me a Coat”, “Rubber Band”, “Love You till Tuesday”, “Little Bombardier” “She’s Got Medals” and “Please Mr. Gravedigger”.

“Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band“ – The Beatles

There is nothing much we can add to what already has been said to this album, always a high ranking no matter what the list is, this was The Beatles psychedelic masterpiece and their own concept album, a trend that was beginning to catch on back then. A 100% studio cooked album with the intention of taking the band on tour without being actually present as their tour days were over by then. It is an outstanding album, and deserves all the merit it has, however, normally music fans tend to forget that as much good as this album is, there were several ones released earlier that year that deserve the same praise and respect. Sadly not including “Strawberry Fields Forever” or “Penny Lane” as these songs were released in a Double A Side single, it makes it up by featuring classics such as “With A Little Help From My Friends”, “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds”, Being For The Benefit of Mr Kite”, “Within You Without You” and the flawless masterpiece “A Day In The Life”

“Flowers“ – The Rolling Stones

One of the best Stones compilation albums, “Flowers” was a north american release that featured singles, B-sides outtakes as well as other songs that not featured on the american versions of the Stones releases at the date. A great selection of songs including “Let’s Spend The Night Together”, “Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing in the Shadow?”, “Ruby Tuesday”, “Lady Jane” ,Out of Time” “Mother’s Little Helper” or Please Go Home”. All members of the band are portrayed as flowers in the cover art with leaves, to the exception of Brian Jones that has no leaves on his flower.

“Canned Heat“ – Canned Heat

The debut of Los Angeles blues band Canned Heat released after their successful Monterey Pop Festival performance. It’s an album 100% Blues that without the strength of tracks such as “On The Road Again” or “Amphetamine Annie” still features a good selection of blues covers like “Rollin’ and Tumblin'”, “Dust My Broom” “Help Me” and “Rich Woman”.

“The Piper at the Gates of Dawn“ – Pink Floyd

Pink Floyd begun their long extensive album discography with this psychedelic masterpiece. English psychedelic music scene was noticeable different from the U.S and you can feel it on this Pink Floyd album that is atmospheric, free, fuzzy, experimental. It’s an acid trip through music with Syd Barret as the leading man and featuring songs such as “Astronomy Domine”, “Lucifer Sam”, “Interstellar Overdrive” , “Bike” and “Flaming”.

“The Byrds’ Greatest Hits“ – The Byrds

The first Byrds Greatest Hits compilation, one of the best sellers of 1967 due to songs like “Mr. Tambourine Man” , “I’ll Feel a Whole Lot Better”, “Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is a Season)” ,”Eight Miles High”, “All I Really Want to Do” or “My Back Pages” .

“Big Brother and the Holding Company“ – Big Brother and the Holding Company

The first album of Big Brother and the Holding Company featuring the singer Janis Joplin who would stay with the band for a second one. It’s the kind of album that needed both sides to work as it did, the vocals of Joplin and the musical mastery of the band, featuring the talented guitarists James Gurley and Sam Andrew. The selections of this album includes “Bye, Bye Baby”, “Easy Rider”, “Light is Faster Than Sound”, “Call On Me” , “Down on Me” and “Caterpillar”

“Vanilla Fudge“ – Vanilla Fudge

Not just a covers album as anyone could think, Vanilla Fudge, a New York group of talented trained musicians from picked a selection of famous songs and turned them into their own transforming it in psychedelic rock tracks. The featured songs became slower, heavier and trippier, best examples caugh on “Ticket to Ride”, “She’s Not There” ,”Bang Bang”,”Eleanor Rigby” and the hit “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” .

“Something Else by The Kinks“ – The Kinks

One of The Kinks finest works, catching on the baroque pop trend in some tracks and featuring some of their best songs such as “Death of a Clown”, “David Watts”, “End of the Season”, “Lazy Old Sun”, “Love Me till the Sun Shines” and “Waterloo Sunset”

“Strange Days“ – The Doors

The second album by The Doors released just 9 months after the first. More Psychedelic than it’s predecessor without losing their signature sound, it also became the first rock album including the use of a synthesizer, featured in the title track “Strange Days”. Also features the songs “Love Me Two Times”, “Moonlight Drive”, People Are Strange” and “When The Music’s Over”

“Procol Harum“ – Procol Harum

Debut album for the british band Procol Harum, this psychedelic masterpiece opened the door for Progressive Rock to take off during the next decade. A journey of beautiful songs such as “Conquistador”, “She Wandered Through the Garden Fence” ,”A Christmas Camel”,”Kaleidoscope”, “Salad Days (Are Here Again)” and “Repent Walpurgis”. Absent from it is “A Whiter Shade Of Pale” that had been released as a single only.

“Chelsea Girl“ – Nico

The former Velvet Undergound singer Nico launched her solo career still in 1967, after some internal feud with Lou Reed getting her out of the Velvet Underground and, according to her, lover Jim Morrison of The Doors convinced her that she should follow a solo career. Her debut “Chelsea Girl” it’s a beautiful chamber folk/baroque pop album with simple but well crafted songs that includes compositions by Lou Reed, John Cale, Bob Dylan and Jackson Browne among others. It is an underrated abum to this day, and even not considered good enough for Nico that complained often about the flutes in the album. Featured are songs such as “These Days”, “Chelsea Girl”, “The Fairest Of The Seasons”, “Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams” and “Little Sister” among others.

“Days of Future Passed“ – The Moody Blues

Having started as a basically rhytm’blues band, The Moody Blues shifted into symphonic, psychedelic, proto prog rock concept album with “Days Of The Future Passed”, an album that includes songs such as “Nights In White Satin”, “Tuesday Afternoon”or “The Morning: Another Morning”.

“Disraeli Gears“ – Cream

Second album by Cream contnues the same line of work of it’s predecessor “Fresh Cream”. Features some of Cream’s finest with “Strange Brew”, “Sunshine of Your Love”,”Tales of Brave Ulysses” and “We’re Going Wrong”.

“Magical Mystery Tour“ – The Beatles

Technically not an album but an EP, this was the second Beatles release in 1967 and the soundtrack for their movie same title movie, which came originally into a double single packaging with a total of 6 tracks but was released as an LP in the U.S and later in Europe being the B-Side of their 1967 singles including “Strawberry Fields Forever” and “Penny Lane”. The original release includes “Magical Mystery Tour”, “The Fool on the Hill” , “Your Mother Should Know” and “I Am the Walrus” .

“Forever Changes“ – Love

Love was responsible to suggest The Doors to Elektra records, when both bands were playing the Sunset Strip circuit in Los Angeles and Love, Jim Morrison’s favorite band, was already a band signed by Elektra. This third album of theirs it’s a flawless work of beautiful songs perfect to play from the beginning to the end. A mixed style of baroque pop and rock that shaped Love’s own signature sound. Includes the songs “Alone Again Or”, “A House Is Not a Motel”, “The Red Telephone”, “Andmoreagain” and “Maybe the People Would Be the Times or Between Clark and Hilldale” among others, there isn’t really a bad song in this album.

“I-Feel-Like-I’m-Fixin’-to-Die“ – Country Joe and the Fish

Second album by the West Coast psychedelic band Country Joe and the Fish, packaged in a novelty art cover that brough an acid trip board game with it, it’s a close call musically to their first album, it features the anti-war anthem “The “Fish” Cheer/I-Feel-Like-I’m-Fixin’-to-Die Rag”, “Magoo” ,Janis” , “Eastern Jam” and “Colors for Susan”

“Axis: Bold as Love“ – The Jimi Hendrix Experience

The second album by The Jimi Hendrix Experience, a more matured and worked on album, it’s not a hit parade as much as their debut is, it shows more concern and work from Hendrix and also more experimental. Included are songs such as “Spanish Castle Magic”, “Little Wing” , “If 6 Was 9″ ,”Castles Made of Sand”, “One Rainy Wish” and “Bold as Love”.

“Their Satanic Majesties Request“ – The Rolling Stones

The psychedelic adventure of the Stones that end up with being one of their (unfairly) most underrated albums. You need to listen to this album for what it is, an experiment, and it does features a great set of songs and several different instruments mostly played by multi-instrumentalist Brian Jones. Features songs such as “Citadel”, “In Another Land”, “2000 Man”, “She’s a Rainbow” and “2000 Light Years From Home” among others.

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“The Who Sell Out“ – The Who

As most of the estabilished acts in 1967, The Who also switched music direction starting with this record. A comcept album imagined to be played like a radio show including advertisements made by the band themselves. It includes some of The Who’s most memorable songs such as “Armenia City in the Sky”, “Mary Anne with the Shaky Hand”, “Our Love Was” , “I Can See for Miles” , “Can’t Reach You” or “Silas Stingy”.

“Songs of Leonard Cohen“ – Leonard Cohen

Canadian Poet-songwriter Leonard Cohen debuted with this wonderful record of his own folk songs such as “Suzanne”, “Sisters of Mercy”, “So Long, Marianne” and “Hey, That’s No Way to Say Goodbye.

“Incense and Peppermints“ – Strawberry Alarm Clock

Interesting psychedelic rock album that hasn’t aged well enough to survive through the years. The band was young, the songs were fair but the only song the album is really worth of and they’re mostly remembered for is “Incense And Peppermints”.

“Moby Grape“ – Moby Grape

Psychedelic debut from psychedelic L.A band Moby Grape, usually forgotten and underrated in favor to others of it’s time, for some it is a psychedelic masterpiece that lacks of recognition. Mostly remembered by the hit “Omaha”

“Happy Together“ – The Turtles

Easy Pop music with a mellow flavor, there is no real rock or psychedelia in here but you’ll find decent cute pop songs such as “Happy Together” and others like “Guide for the Married Man”, “She’d Rather Be with Me” and “Rugs of Woods and Flowers”.

“Mellow Yellow“ – Donovan

The 4th studio album by poet-songwriter Donovan, who amazingly was only 20 years old at time of the release. It is a typical Donovan folk rock album, not his best but still produced the big hit “Mellow Yellow”.

“Underground“ – The Electric Prunes

The second album by psychedelic band The Electric Prunes is a weaker work than it’s predecessor, still embedded into the psychedelic genre features psychedelic greats such as “The Great Banana Hoax”, “Wind-Up Toys, “It’s Not Fair”, “Dr. Do-Good” , “Hideaway” and “Long Day’s Flight”

“Easter Everywhere“ – 13th Floor Elevators

Lots of Electric Jug’s all through the album,lots… this is a trippy album featuring the distinguished sound the band introduced on their debut album. Packaged on a sleeve containing real gold ink, this album became a hard to find item until it was released in 1993 on CD. Includes songs such as “Slip Inside This House”, “Postures (Leave Your Body Behind)”, “Slide Machine” and Bob Dylan’s “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue”

“Tangerine Dream“ – Kaleidoscope

Another great brtish psychedelia album released at the same time frame as Pink Floyd’s “The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn” but less experimental. Critically acclaimed it remains one of the best in it’s genre, featuring songs such as “Please Excuse My Face” , “Dive into Yesterday” “Flight from Ashiya” and “Holidaymaker”

“After Bathing at Baxter’s“ – Jefferson Airplane

The third album by Jefferson Airplane was a less successful follower of “Surrealist Pillow”, but it features another batch of Airplane’s most memorable songs such as “The Ballad of You and Me and Pooneil”, “Martha”, “Two Heads” and “Won’t You Try / Saturday Afternoon”.

“Bee Gees 1st“ – Bee Gees

Years before Disco, the Bee Gees were doing good Beatles inspired pop and baroque pop songs, their debut features some of it’s best examples in songs as “”Turn of the Century”, “Red Chair, Fade Away”, “In My Own Time”, “New York Mining Disaster 1941” and “Close Another Door”

“King & Queen“ – Otis Redding and Carla Thomas

The last studio album of Otis Redding before his death, this record made together with Carla Thomas became a reference for Soul music and it still sounds as good as it was when it first came out, not surprising seeing the string of hits featured on it such as “Knock on Wood”, “Tell It Like It Is”, “Bring It On Home to Me” and”It Takes Two”.

“The 5000 Spirits or the Layers of the Onion“ – The Incredible String Band

This album from Scotish psychedelic folk band The Incredible String Band fusioned succesfully oriental influences with scotish folk resulting in a mellow chilling album that includes songs such as “Chinese White”, “You Know What You Could Be”, “The Mad Hatter’s Song”, “My Name Is Death”, “Gently Tender”, “Way Back in the 1960s”

“I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You“ – Aretha Franklin

The 11th album of the Soul Queen Aretha Franklin opens up with the powerful “Respect” and the album just gets better. A fitting beginning where songs like “Drown in My Own Tears” , “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)”, “Baby, Baby, Baby”, “Good Times”, “Do Right Woman, Do Right Man” and “A Change Is Gonna Come” are included.

“The Serpent Power“ ‎– The Serpent Power

An album that sounds like a crossing between Jefferson Airplane and The Doors, with a strong Doors influence most noticeable on the track “Endless Tunnel”, sugested songs are “Don’t You Listen To Her”, “Forget”, “Dope Again” and ” Endless Tunnel”

“Reach Out“ – Four Tops

An absolute Four Tops classic, this album features so many hits that can be almost mistaken by a greatest hits compilation. Starting out with the signature song “Reach Out I’ll Be There”and including “Standing in the Shadows of Love”, “Walk Away Renée”, “Bernadette”,”Cherish” , Tim Hardin’s “If I Were a Carpenter”, The Monkees “Last Train to Clarksville” and “I’m a Believer” among others.

“The Best Of The Lovin’ Spoonful“ – The Lovin’ Spoonful

The first greatest hits compilation of New York folk rock band The Lovin’ Spoonful, a fitting introduction to the band that features pretty much their all time hits (to this day) such as “Do You Believe in Magic?”, “Jug Band Music”, “You Didn’t Have To Be So Nice”, “Daydream” and “Summer In The City” among others.

“Clear Light“ – Clear Light

This album by short-lived L.A band Clear Light features the unique characteristic of including two leading drummers on their tracks. An Elektra records release, it knew several known musicians, on their line ups. The band was produced and managed by the legendary Paul A. Rothchild On this album features the final line up of the band with Douglas Lubhan that is also featured on several Doors albums as bass guitarist and Dallas Taylor, also a drummer that collaborated with The Doors.The vocals were by Cliff DeYoung that soon after followed an acting career and still is a working actor to this day. This is a solid album, not just a psychedelic experience, sadly the band went separate ways after it, but they left this great document of their talent. Among so many great tracks it’s included “Sand”, “A Child’s Smile”, “The Ballad of Freddie and Larry”, “Mr. Blue”, “They Who Have Nothing” and “She’s Ready to Be Free” (on CD only)

“Smiley Smile“ – The Beach Boys

The experimental phase of The Beach Boys continued with this album, didn’t reached the same success as it’s predecessor “Pet Sounds”. Musically it features strong tracks such as “Heroes and Villains” and “Good Vibrations”, but lack of orientation and turmoil within the band didn’t let this album get the production and concept it deserved.

“Matthew and Son“ – Cat Stevens

Cat Steven’s debut album is filled with baroque pop and folk compositions, the title theme is possibly the most memorable song from the album, but it is worth to be listen to “Matthew and Son”, “Here Comes My Baby”, “Bring Another Bottle Baby”, “Baby Get Your Head Screwed On” and “Hummingbird”

“Silk & Soul“ – Nina Simone

There is not such thing as a bad Nina Simone album, weaker, maybe, but this is not the case, it is another fantastic release, the 13th by the talented Jazz musician, and that aside of featuring the classic “Go To Hell” also features “It Be’s That Way Sometime”, “The Look Of Love”, “Cherish”, “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free” and “Turn Me On”

Listen to the playlist made by Pop Expresso on Spotify featuring 50 songs from these albums:

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