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It was a turning point in the history of rock'n'roll... Radio X counts down the albums that soundtrack the glorious days of '66.
The duo of Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel made a huge splash with their second album, that featured the epic title track (Sound Of Silence) and the hit I Am A Rock.
The influential folk rock outfit led by the charismatic Arthur Lee issued their debut album in March. It included a cover of Hey Joe, soon to be recorded by Jimi Hendrix.
Jagger and Richards raised their songwriting game with their fourth studio album, including the classic Mother’s Little Helper, the delicate Lady Jane and the downright nasty Under My Thumb and Stupid Girl.
Dylan’s seventh album was a double set and set the template for singer-songwiters for the second half of the 60s. Starting with the raucous Rainy Day Women #12 & 35, the four sides included I Want You, Visions Of Johanna, Just Like A Woman and Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat.
The mod favourites fronted by Steve Marriott released their debut album, featuring Whatcha Gonna Do About It and the hit Sha-La-La-La-Lee.
Incredibly this was the Californian group’s eleventh album, but one that changed the face of the music business. Featuring the all-time classic tracks Wouldn’t It Be Nice, God Only Knows, Sloop John B and Caroline No, this was testament to Brian Wilson’s songwriting and production skills.
Whaddya mean you’ve never heard of it? In the 60s, the Fab Four’s US record label Capitol would squeeze extra albums out of the group by shaving off tracks from the British LPs and creating these American-only oddities. So, the US version of Revolver loses three tracks, which appear on this compilation, alongside tracks from Help! and Rubber Soul. It was originally issued in this mildly shocking pop-art sleeve - the “butcher” cover was quickly withdrawn and replaced with something blander.
Frank Zappa’s debut album with his wild and wacky psychedelic rock orchestra was a big influence on Paul McCartney and includes the classic Who Are The Brain Police?
The British blues rock band had an ever-evolving line-up of guitar legends, including Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page, but this album came from the Jeff Beck era and was commonly known as “Roger The Engineer”, due to the sleeve drawing of one of the studio staff by bassist Chris Dreja.
The third album by the Californian folk rock pioneers was the first to be recorded without founder member Gene Clark. It spawned the psychedelic hit Eight Miles High.
All change for the Fab Four. The summer of ’66 saw the band give up live performances and concentrate on becoming a studio band. This game-changing album was their seventh full-length outing, kicks off with George Harrison’s Taxman and ends with John Lennon’s psychedelic masterpiece Tomorrow Never Knows. In between you get Paul’s Eleanor Rigby, Ringo goes sailing in the Yellow Submarine, there’s R&B, chamber music, psych-rock, folk-rock, R&B, Indian sounds… everything you could possibly want.
The follow-up to Sounds Of Silence showcases Paul Simon’s acoustic folk ballads, with covers of the traditional Scarborough Fair and the original 59th Street Bridge Street Song (Feelin’ Groovy).
Ray Davies’s fourth album was a Pop Art classic and signalled a change of direction for the band. Out went the R&B stompers and in came the psychedelic music hall numbers: Dandy, Rosie Won’t You Please Come Home and the huge hit Sunny Afternoon.
The debut album from the teeny-pop band was released to coincide with the first airing of their TV series and famously all the instruments were recorded by session musicians. It included the massive hit Last Train To Clarksville and, of course, the Theme From The Monkees.
This pioneering acid rock album did little business at the time but is now considered a landmark in psychedelia. The group featured the legendary Roky Erickson on vocals and guitar.
The first big Stones compilation was first issued in March of ’66, but a British version didn’t appear until November, had a different sleeve and included the new single Have You Seen Your Mother Baby, Standing In The Shadow?”
The debut album from the blues-rock supergroup of Ginger Baker, Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce, released alongside their classic single I Feel Free.
The second album from the Modfathers featured the classic So Sad About Us, the hilarious John Entwistle song Boris The Spider and Pete Townshend’s first stab at a mini-rock opera, A Quick One While He’s Away.
The debut album from the folk rock band that launched Neil Young and Stephen Stills. The album was reissued a year later to include the massive hit For What It’s Worth.