It’s now 1965 and A CHANGE IS GONNA COME not only as a song but as a way of life in America, but first the song. Sam Cooke’s hit from that year inspired Bob Dylan to begin writing a more personal selection of tunes. Bob Dylan recorded BRING IT ALL BACK HOME over a two day period with one 8 hour session recording side one (the electric side), followed by the second day recording side 2 the acoustic side. When released this landmark album set the bar higher for all other artists. This his fifth LP was his first Top Ten (#6 BILLBOARD) album. The sheer audacity of Dylan to release an album without “fillers” was unique. Dylan challenged his past (folk) while confronting his future (electric). Other artists upon hearing this album were inspired and challenged at the very least to experiment more with their music.

NOTE: Sam Cooke’s debuted the song A CHANGE IS GONNA COME on THE TONIGHT SHOW, February 7, 1964. Received well that performance’s review was unfortunately lost in the press as The Beatles debuted on Ed Sullivan two nights later.

For me the memorable songs of 1965 including the entire Motown mega-roster of hits, the Rolling Stones HEART OF STONE (a “re-make of Otis Redding’s PAIN MY HEART) and of course the “most played single of all time” The Righteous Brothers YOU’VE LOST THAT  LOVING FEELING, a Phil Spector WALL OF SOUND song written by Brill Building’s team of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil. Rumor has it that this tune(YLTLF) is a response to the heartaches expressed in The Four Tops BABY I NEED YOUR LOVIN. This Spector (label) record capitalized on a phrase “something beautiful is dying”. The actual recording clocks in at a whopping 3:45 but is falsely listed on the label as 3:05 in hopes of capturing the program directors attention of being only a “3 minute” song, the standard for the day.

My philosophy about listening to music has been to “listen eagerly, to sit in the stillness, the quietness of the space, so that you can hear only the music; that is the melody and the words. Simply rest in the presence of the music”. From the time of the white AM radio in the kitchen to the transistor I received for Christmas that is what I attempted to do.

In the beginning of the year prior to his inaugural address LBJ delivered the “State of the Union” thus declaring our time as” the great Society” . A few months later Grace Slick, her husband, and her brother-in-law would form a rock band in San Francisco using that same name. But were we truly a Great Society?

Our neighbors to the north, Canada, had recently changed their flag losing the Union Jack and adopting the Maple Leaf, a smack at the imperialistic past associated with Great Britain.

Promised as it was, the USA was running neck and neck with the USSR in the”space race”, the ultimate prize being to successfully land a man on the moon. To this end the USA purposely”crashed” Ranger B on the moon’s surface while it was photographing possible lunar landing sites.

In the far east the U.S. started bombing North Vietnam (Rolling Thunder), a deed that will continue for 3+ years. 3500 additional ground troops were sent, followed by doubling the draft quota from 17,000 to 35,000 soldiers per month. At home men started to burn their draft cards, later an act which would be classified as illegal. Civil rights activists clashed in Selma, Alabama leading LBJ to announce the basis for the Voting Rights Act of 65. The SDS (Students For A Democratic Society) marched  on Washington as “teach-ins” were being held at major universities.

The movie HELP is released featuring the song of the same name which  authored by John Lennon was meant as a true cry out for help. SATISFACTION by The Rolling Stones is Number One on the charts as Bob Dylan stuns the crowd at the Newport Folk Festival by plugging it. His 1965 release HIGHWAY 61 REVISITED yields the hit LIKE A ROLLING STONE.

The War on Poverty, another LBJ initiative a.k.a. the Social Security Act of 1965, offers Medicare and Medicaid, meanwhile the streets of Watts are burning.  The Beatles play SHEA STADIUM, the very first stadium show, to 55,600 screaming fans as TV audiences are preparing to view one of the worst programs ever made, MY MOTHER THE CAR. Not to be outdone by the Beatles, Pope Paul VI holds mass at Yankee Stadium. A few weeks later, a 25-year-old Catholic Worker Movement  member sets himself on fire at the United Nations.

RUBBER SOUL is released in December, for a total of four BEATLE albums in 1965.

November brought the GREAT BLACKOUT to the Northeast and Canada. We, The Great Society as proclaimed only a few months before by LBJ, yet I’m not too sure.

See you next time….Chapter14: SWEET SOUL MUSIC .Comments?