1965 was the official birth of “folk rock,” a term first used by U.S. press outlets to describe The Byrds.
But the folk rock revolution was most visibly in effect at the Newport Folk Festival in July when Bob Dylan made a last minute decision to play with a fully-amplifed band. The night has gone down in history as the moment American music culture changed, as fans reportedly booed Dylan for his choice to go electric. He had already released Bringing It All Back Home, though, which featured Dylan and and electric band on side-one.
Earlier in the year, Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass released Whipped Cream & Other Delights, featuring an album cover that is now a pop culture icon. The record became the band’s most popular effort.
Some of Motown’s biggest hits came out this year. The Supremes, Martha and the Vandellas, Four Tops and The Temptations had popular releases, while Smokey Robinson had writing credits on records by several bands (including non-Motown acts including The Zombies) in addition to his band The Miracles’ own album.
The Beatles released several records, including Help! and Rubber Soul.
It was a big year for debuts as well with introductions to The Who, Tom Jones, Bert Jansch, Marianne Faithful, The Lovin’ Spoonful, Four Tops, Herman’s Hermits, The Moody Blues, The Wailers, Merle Haggard, and The Shangri-Las.
Meanwhile, the Grateful Dead formed as The Warlocks in northern California before changing their name and going on to create their own cultural revolution that is still relevant 50 years later.
Could 1965 be the Greatest Year in Music? Let us know in the comments or across social media with #XPNGreatestYear.
Bringing It All Back Home – Bob Dylan
Highway 61 Revisited – Bob Dylan
Whipped Cream & Other Delights – Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass
The Rolling Stones, Now! – The Rolling Stones
The Zombies – The Zombies
Help! – The Beatles
Rubber Soul – The Beatles
My Generation – The Who
A Love Supreme – John Coltrane
Orange Blossom Special – Johnny Cash
People Get Ready – The Impressions
Herman’s Hermits – Herman’s Hermits
Summer Days (and Summer Nights!!) – The Beach Boys
The Heliocentric Worlds of Sun Ra, Volume One – Sun Ra
Look at Us – Sonny & Cher
Turn! Turn! Turn! – The Byrds
Jackson C. Frank – Jackson C. Frank
Leader of the Pack – The Shangri-Las
The Temptations sing Smokey – The Temptations
Otis Blue / Otis Redding Sings Soul – Otis Redding
Soul Dressing – Booker T. & The M.G.’s
Dance Party – Martha and the Vandellas
Bert Jansch – Bert Jansch
I Go to Pieces – Peter and Gordon
What’s Bin Did and What’s Bin Hid – Donovan
Maiden Voyage – Herbie Hancock
Along Came Jones – Tom Jones
The Astrud Gilberto Album – Astrud Gilberto
L-O-V-E – Nat King Cole
Orbisongs – Roy Orbison
My Funny Valentine – Miles Davis
Ev’rything’s Coming Up Dusty – Dusty Springfield
Going to a Go-Go – Smokey Robinson and the Miracles
Pastel Blues – Nina Simone
The Angry Young Them – Them
For Your Love – The Yardbirds
Having a Rave Up with The Yardbirds – The Yardbirds
The Magnificent Moodies – The Moody Blues
More Hits by The Supremes– The Supremes
Four Tops’ Second Album – Four Tops
The Kink Kontroversy – The Kinks
Do You Believe in Magic – The Lovin’ Spoonful
Downtown – Petula Clark
Hang On Sloopy – The McCoys