Music of 1968: From Fun to Funk, From Hope to Hate

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"Music of 1968"

(Originally broadcast August 15, 2008 by WCBE 90.5-FM, Columbus, OH.
Copyright, WCBE. Used by permission)

Observers have said that the events of 1968 created a social mess that we're still trying to clean up. 1968 was an earthquake that is still sending aftershocks through America's cultural landscape. A seismic shift rumbled through music in 1968, too. Aretha Franklin ascended to her throne as the Queen of Soul that year. James Brown became Soul Brother Number in the aftermath of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination. The Beatles unwittingly set in motion Charles Manson's murderous mayhem with the inclusion of "Helter Skelter" on their 1968 White Album. The Rolling Stones made a rare but timely political statement with "Street Fightin' Man."

Oddly enough, in all the chaos, bubblegum music burst loudly on the scene. The success of The Archies grabbed the attention of both Curtis Mayfield and Berry Gordy. These two music legends caught the first wave of " tween commercial clout" and produced top-selling songs by The Five Stairsteps (Mayfield) and The Jackson Five (Gordy), who would eclipse The Stairsteps. Finally, after a long rock & soul gestation, Funk was born that year, in the form of Sly and The Family Stone's big breakthrough. Join us as we "Dance To The Music" through 1968, a year unlike any other before or since.






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