1969 Events and Trivia

1969 Events, Music, Trivia and other Useless Information

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Now playing; Record of the Year:....Aquarius, by the 5th Dimension



World Events

  • As President Nixon took office, the American death toll in the Viet Nam war reached 34,000.
  • CBS canceled one of its most popular shows, The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, because a copy of the show hadn't reached the censors in time. The network was under pressure to dump the politically potent variety show, which Vice President Spiro Agnew had claimed was "subversive."
  • Millions of Americans participated in a Viet Nam Moratorium Day, with candelight vigils and prayers for peace. President Nixon ignored the event, but Vice President Spiro Agnew called the participants "an effete corps of impudent snobs."
  • Veterans' Day ceremonies around the country consisted of pro-America demonstrations. Vice President Agnew called U.S. patriots "the silent majority." Three days later, 250,000 people marched on Washington to protest the war. Simultaneously, 100,000 demonstrated in San Francisco.
  • 340 Harvard students took over the university's administration building. 400 state troopers and police officers cleared them out with tear gas and beatings from nightsticks. At Cornell University, a 36-hour sit-in was held in the student union building by black militants brandishing automatic weapons. At Berkeley, a National Guard helicopter dropped caustic chemicals on a protesters' area called People's Park. 19 University of California faculty members were among those burned by the substance.
  • Max Yasgur's farm near Bethel, New York became the second-largest city in New York, when nearly 400,000 converged on the area for the Woodstock Music And Art Fair. Police looked the other way as the counterculture celebrated its largest gathering with peace, music, sex, drugs and rock and roll. Heavy press coverage makes the event seem larger than it was and shows the passing of baby boomers from young children to adult children.
  • Charles Manson and several members of his cult were charged with the brutal murders of actress Sharon Tate and four others in Los Angeles. Tate was married to film director Roman Polanski.
  • Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman William Fullbright disclosed that the Pentagon and the Nixon administration had been waging an illegal war in Laos, without the required knowledge of the Congress. Meanwhile, Lt. William Calley, Jr. was under investigation on charges that his infantry unit had massacred 450 women, children and other villagers at My Lai, South Viet Nam.
  • Leonard Bernstein stepped down as director of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra.
  • Judy Garland died of a drug overdose at age 47.
  • The counterculture-gone-commercial was evident in many of the year's hit songs, including Everyday People, Age Of Aquarius/Let The Sun Shine In, Come Together, Crimson & Clover and In The Year 2525.
  • Charmin Bathroom Tissue went from obscurity to America's best-seller, due to an ad campaign featuring grocer Mr. Whipple, portrayed by character actor Dick Wilson.
  • Pele scores 1000th goal
  • Boeing 747 and Concorde first flight
  • In time for perhaps the very last of the boomers, Sesame Street debuts on television.
  • But also, Penthouse begins publication... in plenty of time for the boomers.
  • President Nixon announces his "Vietnamization" designed to help the Vietnamese deal with their own problems, and extricate the U.S. from southeast Asia.
  • July 18: Senator Ted Kennedy drives his car off a bridge on Chappaquiddick Island off Martha's Vineyard, killing his young passenger, Mary Jo Kopechne. This major story was partially drowned out (sorry) by the moon landing that took place just days later. A week after the accident, Kennedy received a suspended sentence, and that was the end of it. But many Americans would never look at Kennedy the same way (and few would ever ride in a car with him at the wheel.)
  • July 21: The U.S. wins the space race convincingly by landing a man on the moon. Neil Armstrong, Edwin Aldrin, and Michael Collins fly on board Apollo 11. "Houston... Tranquility Base, here; the Eagle has landed." Event of the century? Possibly; we all thought so at the time. We met the late president's challenge and conquered outer space. This gave Americans confidence that we could beat the Russians in anything... if put to the test.
  • August 10: Charles Manson and other members of his cult murder actress Sharon Tate and six others in a horrible event that was referred to as "Helter Skelter."
  • The ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) claims that marijuana is harmless to both the user and society in general.
  • The U.S. spends no more money than it takes in. That won't happen again till the boomers hit 50.
  • Hurricane Camille hits the Mississippi gulf coast killing 248; damage is set at $1.5 billion.
  • An oil spill off the coast of Santa Barbara spreads over 30 miles of the shoreline. This is the first major of dozens to follow in the next 25 years.
  • Dr. Laurence Peter introduces the world to his "Peter Principle," which states that workers rise to their level of incompetence.
  • President Nixon bans the production of chemical weapons.
  • As the first of the boomers reach their 20's, the cost of medical care begins to rise sharply.
  • October: "I will say confidently that looking ahead just three years the war will be over." - President Nixon.
  • The "Chicago 7" (even though there were actually 8) have their day on court. Attorney William Kunstler, defends David Dellinger, Rennie Davis, Tom Hayden, Abbie Hoffman, Black Panther leader Bobby Seale, Jerry Rubin, Lee Weiner, and chemistry professor John R. Froins. Bobby Seale is gagged and chained to his chair because of his courtroom outbursts and sentences him in November to 4 years in prison for contempt of court. The others get off with relatively light sentences.
  • Defying all conventional wisdom, the New York Mets win their first World Series. Meanwhile, the New York Jets win the Super Bowl, defying all logic... except that of Joe Namath.
  • November: President Nixon appeals to the "great silent majority" to support his Vietnam policy.
  • "Marcus Welby" and "Monthy Python's Flying Circus" debut on television.
  • The Academy award for Best Picture goes to "Midnight Cowboy." John Wayne wins for Best Actor in "True Grit." Paul Newman and Robert Redford star in "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid."
  • November 15: 250,000 protestors (mostly students) march against the war in Washington, D.C. It is only fitting that the decade ends with just as much excitement and turmoil as it began.
  • December 1: The Selective Service conducts the first draft lottery since 1942, affecting 800,000 males born between 1944 and 1950.



San Francisco Events (Mostly Music Related)

  • San Francisco, 1969  -  As a protest against the U.S. government's treatment of Native Americans, approximately one hundred American Indians occupy Alcatraz Island in November. The group, composed primarily of American Indian college students, remains for nineteen months before their forced removal.
  • March 20, 1969  -  Janis Joplin and Her Band opened at Winterland.
  • March 21, 1969  -  San Francisco State College strike ended.
  • March 27, 1969  -  Bo Diddley opened at Winterland.
  • May 7, 1969  -  Grateful Dead and the Airplane perform at the Polo Field in Golden Gate Park.
  • May 24, 1969  -  Haight-Ashbury Festival in the Golden Gate Park Panhandle.
  • May 28, 1969  -  People‚Äôs Park Bail Ball benefit held at Winterland. Creedance Clearwater Revival and the Airplane entertained.
  • June 13, 1969  -  Jefferson Airplane with Grace Slick at the Family Dog Ballroom at the Great Highway. The show was broadcast by KSAN.
  • June 17, 1969  -  Woody Herman and His Orchestra at the Fillmore West.
  • June 25, 1969  -  The Doors, Lonnie Mack, Elvin Bishop Group at the Cow Palace.
  • July 19, 1969  -  The Who appeared at Fillmore West.
  • August 22, 1969  -  Three-day Wild West Festival at Kezar Stadium with Janis Joplin, Turk Murphy, Jefferson Airplane, the Dead, Country Joe, Santana, Sly and the Family Stone, and the Youngbloods.
  • October 9, 1969  -  Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young opened at Fillmore West.
  • October 21, 1969  -  Beat-era author Jack Keroac dies
  • November 13, 1969  -  Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Cold Blood, Joy of Cooking, and Lamb at Winterland.
  • November 15, 1969  -  Thousands of people participated in a peace march.
  • December 6, 1969  -  Rolling Stones appeared at the Altamont Speedway near Livermore after they were denied use of Golden Gate Park. One person was murdered during the show. Marked the end of the San Francisco Rock era.
  • December 22, 1969  -  Radio Free Alcatraz broadcast for first time from Berkeley radio station KPFA.
  • December 31, 1969  -  Jefferson Airplane New Year's show at Winterland.


Technology Events

  • Honeywell releases the H316 "Kitchen Computer", the first home computer, priced at $10,600 in the Neiman Marcus catalog.
  • Advanced Micro Devices is founded by Jerry Sanders and seven others from Fairchild Semiconductor.
  • Intel announces a 1 kilobit RAM chip (that's only 128 Bytes!), which has a significantly larger capacity than any previously produced memory chip.
  • For the Busicom project, Intel's Marcian (Ted) Hoff and Stan Mazor design a 4-bit CPU chip set architecture that could receive instructions and perform simple functions on data. The CPU becomes the 4004 microprocessor
  • ARPANET (later to become a little thing called the Internet) commissioned by DoD for research into networking. First set up with 4 nodes: Stanford, UCLA, UCSB, and U. of Utah. First attempt at sending packets was from UCLA to Stanford on October 29. The first 2 characters were successfully transferred, but the third keystroke crashed the system. (hmmmm...maybe Bill Gates was involved!)



1969 Oscar Nominations   (winner is underlined)

Best Picture
    Anne of the Thousand Days
    Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
    Hello, Dolly!
    Midnight Cowboy
    Z
Best Director
    Arthur Penn for Alice's Restaurant
    Costa-Gavras for Z
    George Roy Hill for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
    John Schlesinger for Midnight Cowboy
    Sydney Pollack for They Shoot Horses, Don't They?
Best Actor
    Dustin Hoffman for Midnight Cowboy
    John Wayne for True Grit
    Jon Voight for Midnight Cowboy
    Peter O'Toole for Goodbye, Mr. Chips
    Richard Burton for Anne of the Thousand Days
Best Actress
    Genevieve Bujold for Anne of the Thousand Days
    Jane Fonda for They Shoot Horses, Don't They?
    Jean Simmons for The Happy Ending
    Liza Minnelli for The Sterile Cuckoo
    Maggie Smith for The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
Best Supporting Actor
    Anthony Quayle for Anne of the Thousand Days
    Elliott Gould for Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice
    Gig Young for They Shoot Horses, Don't They?
    Jack Nicholson for Easy Rider
    Rupert Crosse for The Reivers
Best Supporting Actress
    Catherine Burns for Last Summer
    Dyan Cannon for Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice
    Goldie Hawn for Cactus Flower
    Susannah York for They Shoot Horses, Don't They?
    Sylvia Miles for Midnight Cowboy



1969 Grammy Winners

Record of the Year
Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In; 5th Dimension
Album of the Year
Blood, Sweat and Tears; Blood, Sweat and Tears
Song of the Year
Games People Play; Joe South - songwriter
Best New Artist of 1969
Crosby, Stills and Nash
Best Contemporary Song
Games People Play; Joe South - songwriter
Best Contemporary Vocal Performance - Male
Everybody's Talkin'; Harry Nilsson
Best Contemporary Vocal Performance - Female
Is That All There Is; Peggy Lee
Best Contemporary Vocal Performance By a Group
Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In; 5th Dimension
Best Contemporary Performance By a Chorus
Love Theme From Romeo and Juliet; Percy Faith Orchestra and Chorus
Best Contemporary Instrumental Performance
Variations on a Theme by Eric Satie; Blood, Sweat and Tears
Best Rhythm and Blues Song
Color Him Father; Richard Spencer - songwriter
Best Rhythm and Blues Vocal Performance - Male
The Chokin' Kind; Joe Simon
Best Rhythm and Blues Vocal Performance - Female
Share Your Love With Me; Aretha Franklin
Best Rhythm and Blues Vocal Performance By a Group or Duo
It's Your Thing; Isley Brothers
Best Country Song
A Boy Named Sue; Shel Silverstein - songwriter
Best Country Vocal Performance - Male
A Boy Named Sue; Johnny Cash
Best Country Vocal Performance - Female
Stand by Your Man; Tammy Wynette
Best Country Performance By a Duo or Group
MacArthur Park; Waylon Jennings and the Kimberlys
Best Instrumental Arrangement
Love Theme From Romeo and Juliet; Henry Mancini - arranger
Best Instrumental Theme
Midnight Cowboy; John Barry - composer
Best Score From an Original Cast Show Album
Promises, Promises Burt Bacharach and Hal Davis - composers
Best Original Score Written for Motion Picture or Television
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid; Burt Bacharach - composer
Album of the Year - Classical
Switched-On Bach; Walter Carlos
Best Album Cover
America the Beautiful; Kelbish-painting, Stahlberg-graphics



Top 50 Songs of 1969

1. SUGAR SUGAR Archies
2. AQUARIUS c/w LET THE SUNSHINE IN Fifth Dimension
3. I CAN'T GET NEXT TO YOU Temptations
4. HONKY TONK WOMEN Rolling Stones
5. EVERYDAY PEOPLE Sly & The Family Stone
6. DIZZY Tommy Roe
7. HOT FUN IN THE SUMMERTIME Sly & The Family Stone
8. I'LL NEVER FALL IN LOVE AGAIN Tom Jones
9. BUILD ME UP BUTTERCUP Foundations
10. CRIMSON AND CLOVER Tommy James & The Shondells
11. ONE Three Dog Night
12. CRYSTAL BLUE PERSUASION Tommy James & The Shondells
13. HAIR Cowsills
14. TOO BUSY THINKING ABOUT MY BABY Marvin Gaye
15. LOVE THEME FROM "ROMEO AND JULIET" Henry Mancini & His Orchestra
16. GET TOGETHER Youngbloods
17. GRAZIN' IN THE GRASS Friends of Distinction
18. SUSPICIOUS MINDS Elvis Presley
19. PROUD MARY Creedence Clearwater Revival
20. WHAT DOES IT TAKE (TO WIN YOUR LOVE) Jnr. Walker & The All Stars
21. IT'S YOUR THING Isley Brothers
22. SWEET CAROLINE Neil Diamond
23. JEAN Oliver
24. BAD MOON RISING Creedence Clearwater Revival
25. GET BACK Beatles
26. IN THE YEAR 2525 Zager & Evans
27. SPINNING WHEEL Blood, Sweat & Tears
28. BABY, I LOVE YOU Andy Kim
29. GOING IN CIRCLES Friends Of Distinction
30. HURT SO BAD Lettermen
31. GREEN RIVER Creedence Clearwater Revival
32. MY CHERIE AMOUR Stevie Wonder
33. EASY TO BE HARD Three Dog Night
34. BABY IT'S YOU Smith
35. IN THE GHETTO Elvis Presley
36. A BOY NAMED SUE Johnny Cash
37. BABY, BABY DON'T CRY Smokey Robinson & The Miracles
38. ONLY THE STRONG SURVIVE Jerry Butler
39. TIME OF THE SEASON Zombies
40. WEDDING BELL BLUES Fifth Dimension
41. LITTLE WOMAN Bobby Sherman
42. LOVE (CAN MAKE YOU HAPPY) Mercy
43. GOOD MORNING STARSHINE Oliver
44. THESE EYES Guess Who
45. YOU'VE MADE ME SO VERY HAPPY Blood, Sweat & Tears
46. PUT A LITTLE LOVE IN YOUR HEART Jackie DeShannon
47. DO YOUR THING Watts 103rd St. Rhythm Band
48. I'D WAIT A MILLION YEARS Grass Roots
49. TOUCH ME Doors
50. MORE TODAY THAN YESTERDAY Spiral Starecase


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