Monday, September 7, 2009

1969: A Time Line

In his excellent new book, "1969: The Year Everything Changed", author Rob Kirkpatrick put together a Timeline for 1969. Here are some of the highlights, many of which we covered in our month-long salute to '69:

1 - Ohio State defeats USC in The Rose Bowl, 27-16
3 - Ted Kennedy is voted Majority Whip in Congress
7 - The trial of Sirhan Sirhan, assassin of Kennedy's brother Robert, begins
12- Super Bowl III - The New York Jets defeat The Baltimore Colts, 16-7
13 - Led Zeppelin releases their first, self-titled LP ... also released today was the classic "Dusty In Memphis"
30- The Beatles perform their "Rooftop Concert" above Apple Studios in London ... it will be the last time all four Beatles perform together live.

9 - The Boeing 747 takes its maiden flight

1 - Mickey Mantle retires from baseball; Jim Morrison "allegedly" exposes himself during a concert by The Doors in Miami
3 - Apollo 9 launches
10 - "I Am Curious (Yellow)" opens in U.S. theaters
28 - Former President Dwight D. Eisenhower dies (just nine years after leaving office)

4 - Dr. Denton Cooley performs the first artificial heart transplant

18 - Apollo 10 launches
23 - "Tommy", the first Rock Opera, is released by The Who
25 - "Midnight Cowboy" premiers in New York City. It will go on to become the first (and only) X-Rated Film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture.

17 - "Oh! Calcutta!" opens in New York City. It is believed to be the first live stage performance to feature full frontal nudity.
20 - Jimi Hendrix headlines at The Newport Pop Festival.

3 - Brian Jones, founder of The Rolling Stones, is found dead in his swimming pool in Sussex, England.
6 - Led Zeppelin, Jethro Tull and Sly and the Family Stone all perform at The Newport Jazz Festival in Rhode Island. (What do ANY of these acts have to do with jazz?!?!? Was Jann Wenner somehow involved in booking these acts?!?!?)
9 - New York Mets Ace Pitcher Tom Seaver loses his perfect game in the 9th inning against The Chicago Cubs. Heartbreaking as that was to watch, The Mets achieved the ultimate revenge by pulling off a 17 game reversal of the standings, leaving The Cubs a distant second as they went to The World Series for the first time.
14 - "Easy Rider" premiers in New York City
18 - Mary Jo Kopechne drowns in the Ted Kennedy / Chappaquiddick incident.
20 - Man walks on the moon for the very first time.
25 - Ted Kennedy pleads guilty to leaving the scene of an accident ... despite the death of his passenger, Kennedy is never tried for this crime nor does he face any criminal charges of any kind. (It is believed that a large settlement arrangement was made with Mary Jo's family.)
31 - The Zodiac Killer mails coded messages to the editors of The San Francisco Chronicle, The San Francisco Examiner and The Vallejo Times Herald.

8 - Members of the so-called "Manson Family" murder Sharon Tate and several others at the home of Roman Polanski.
9 - The Manson Family strikes again, this time killing Leno and Rosemary LaBianca. Ironically, on the same date, The San Francisco Chronicle publishes the solution to one of The Zodiac Killer's cipher message.
15, 16, 17 - The Woodstock Music And Art Fair (three days of peace, love, music and mud!!!)
17 - Hurricane Camille hits the coast of Mississippi

6 - Lt. William Calley is formally charged for his role in the My Lai massacre.
10 - The Mets move into first place for the first time in the team's history.
17 - "Bob And Carol And Ted And Alice" premiers at The New York Film Festival.
23 - "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" opens in limited release.
24 - The Chicago 8 Trial begins. The Mets clinch The National League Eastern Division Title on the same day.
26 - The Beatles release "Abbey Road", the last LP they recorded together as a band (although "Let It Be" would be released later ... those tracks were from the January, 1969, sessions that inspired the rooftop concert mentioned back in January.) Also on the 26th: "The Brady Bunch" premiers on ABC! (And it hasn't been OFF the air ever since!!!)

16 - The Mets win The World Series by defeating The Baltimore Orioles. AMAZING!!!
22 - Led Zeppelin II is released
29 - Bobby Seale is bound and gagged during The Chicago 8 Trial. (Graham Nash will later write a song about it, titled "Chicago"!) Also on this date, the very first message via ARPANET is sent ... it is the predecessor of the Internet ... without it, you wouldn't be reading Forgotten Hits today!!!

10 - "Sesame Street" debuts on Public Television (then called The National Educational Television Network.) Big Bird, Oscar The Grouch, Cookie Monster and Bert and Ernie have now been part of our lives ... and our childrens' lives ... and our GRANDchildrens' lives for forty years!!!
17 - SALT (Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty) talks begin between The United States and The Soviet Union. (Our WHOLE lives growing up we were warned about The Russians ... who ever even THOUGHT about Iraq or Iran?!?!?)
19 - Apollo 12 lands on the moon's Ocean Of Storms.
20 - The Cleveland Plain Dealer publishes photos of the My Lai massacre. Members of Indians of All Tribes seize Alcatraz Island.

4 - Black Panther Party leaders Fred Hampton and Mark Clark are killed during a raid by The Chicago Police.
6- The Rolling Stones headline a free concert at The Altamont Speedway ... it turns into a complete disaster when a fan is murdered by their hired Hell's Angels bodyguards.
24 - Curt Flood of the St. Louis Cardinals files as a free agent.
31 - Jimi Hendrix and the Band of Gypsys perform a New Year's Eve Concert at New York's Fillmore East.

What a year!!!
Thanks for sticking with us for our '69 Salute! We hope you have enjoyed the show!


All of the 1969 memories have been awesome! What a great year for music. I used to think that 1967 was my favorite year for music of the 60s, but now I am not sure. Over the years I have been lucky enough to interview many of the greats of music. I have included a portion of a 1994 interview from my show with Ritchie Havens about his legendary Woodstock appearance.
Phil Nee
Wrco Fm 100.9
Richland Center Wisconsin


The last of our political commentary, we promise ... and sans comments from me ... just one last back-and-forth on Kennedy ... and even a blurb on Letterman's Squeaky Fromme bit from the other day! (kk)

I saw the Letterman clip. As with any good joke, it's only funny if there is a hint of truth to it. It seems the media is now determining what is truth so we don't have to think for ourselves. Dube

>>>I think kicking Teddy Kennedy around about Chappaquiddick at this point is about as useful as stoning a dead horse. (John Krug)

I think this discussion is inappropriate in this forum, yet I feel compelled to reply.

Through time, there are people who have gotten away with serious things and there are other people who have gotten caught for lesser things. While he didn't go to jail, in his farewell memoir, Senator Kennedy apologized for the event and revealed his ongoing anguish over it. The “court of conscience” is a harsh judge, and courtrooms and prison are not the only way to extract justice. I think all the good Senator Kennedy did has far overshadowed his faults, which he acknowledged and for which he atoned with a life of dignified and dedicated public service. To my mind, justice has been served by Teddy serving his country long and well.

A quote credited to George Carlin says: "We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often." Who among us is without some kind of blame or sin? It's surely not me; if it's you, then go ahead and cast that first stone. But if it's not you, let it go and celebrate the good - in Senator Kennedy and in yourself. Life is too short to be bummed out, and a chip on one's shoulder grows exponentially heavier over time. Just my opinion; others may vary.

"Country Paul" Payton

The real answer to the Teddy K?

Is that "A lot of Money buys a lot of silence"!


Things only a Kennedy could get away with

By Mark Steyn

We are enjoined not to speak ill of the dead. But, when an entire nation — or, at any rate, its "mainstream" media culture — declines to speak the truth about the dead, we are certainly entitled to speak ill of such false eulogists.

In its coverage of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy's passing, America's TV networks are creepily reminiscent of those plays Sam Shepard used to write about some dysfunctional inbred hardscrabble Appalachian household where there's a baby buried in the backyard but everyone agreed years ago never to mention it. In this case, the unmentionable corpse is Mary Jo Kopechne, 1940-1969. If you have to bring up the, ah, circumstances of that year of decease, keep it general, keep it vague. As Kennedy flack Ted Sorensen put it in Time magazine: "Both a plane crash in Massachusetts in 1964 and the ugly automobile accident on Chappaquiddick Island in 1969 almost cost him his life …"

That's the way to do it! An "accident," "ugly" in some unspecified way, just happened to happen — and only to him, nobody else. Ted's the star, and there's no room to namecheck the bit players. What befell him was … a thing, a place. As Joan Vennochi wrote in The Boston Globe: "Like all figures in history — and like those in the Bible, for that matter — Kennedy came with flaws. Moses had a temper. Peter betrayed Jesus. Kennedy had Chappaquiddick, a moment of tremendous moral collapse." Actually, Peter denied Jesus, rather than "betrayed" him, but close enough for Catholic-lite Massachusetts. And if Moses having a temper never led him to leave some gal at the bottom of the Red Sea, well, let's face it, he doesn't have Ted's tremendous legislative legacy, does he?

Perhaps it's kinder simply to airbrush out of the record the name of the unfortunate complicating factor on the receiving end of that moment of "tremendous moral collapse." When Kennedy cheerleaders do get around to mentioning her, it's usually to add insult to fatal injury. As Teddy's biographer Adam Clymer wrote, Edward Kennedy's "achievements as a senator have towered over his time, changing the lives of far more Americans than remember the name Mary Jo Kopechne."

You can't make an omelet without breaking chicks, right? I don't know how many lives the senator changed — he certainly changed Mary Jo's — but you're struck less by the precise arithmetic than by the basic equation: How many changed lives justify leaving a human being struggling for breath for up to five hours pressed up against the window in a small, shrinking air pocket in Teddy's Oldsmobile? If the senator had managed to change the lives of even more Americans, would it have been OK to leave a couple more broads down there? Hey, why not?

At the Huffington Post, Melissa Lafsky mused on what Mary Jo "would have thought about arguably being a catalyst for the most successful Senate career in history … Who knows — maybe she'd feel it was worth it." What true-believing liberal lass wouldn't be honored to be dispatched by that death panel? We are all flawed, and most of us are weak, and in hellish moments, at a split-second's notice, confronting the choice that will define us ever after, many of us will fail the test.

Perhaps Mary Jo could have been saved; perhaps she would have died anyway. What is true is that Edward Kennedy made her death a certainty. When a man (if you'll forgive the expression) confronts the truth of what he has done, what does honor require? Six years before Chappaquiddick, in the wake of Britain's comparatively very minor "Profumo scandal," the eponymous John Profumo, Her Majesty's Secretary of State for War, resigned from the House of Commons and the Queen's Privy Council and disappeared amid the tenements of the East End to do good works washing dishes and helping with children's playgroups, in anonymity, for the last 40 years of his life. With the exception of one newspaper article to mark the centenary of his charitable mission, he never uttered another word in public again.

Ted Kennedy went a different route. He got kitted out with a neck brace and went on TV and announced the invention of the "Kennedy curse," a concept that yoked him to his murdered brothers as a fellow victim — and not, as Mary Jo perhaps realized in those final hours, the perpetrator. He dared us to call his bluff, and, when we didn't, he made all of us complicit in what he'd done. We are all prey to human frailty, but few of us get to inflict ours on an entire nation. His defenders would argue that he redeemed himself with his "progressive" agenda, up to and including health care "reform." It was an odd kind of "redemption": In a cooing paean to the senator on a cringe-makingly obsequious edition of NPR's "Diane Rehm Show," Edward Klein of Newsweek fondly recalled that one of Ted's "favorite topics of humor was, indeed, Chappaquiddick itself. He would ask people, 'Have you heard any new jokes about Chappaquiddick?'"


Who was that lady I saw you with last night?

Beats me!

Why did the Last Lion cross the road?

To sleep it off!

What do you call 200 Kennedy sycophants at the bottom of a Chappaquiddick pond?

A great start, but bad news for NPR guest-bookers!

"He was a guy's guy," chortled Edward Klein. Which is one way of putting it.

When a man is capable of what Ted Kennedy did that night in 1969 and in the weeks afterward, what else is he capable of? An NPR listener said the senator's passing marked "the end of civility in the U.S. Congress." Yes, indeed. Who among us does not mourn the lost "civility" of the 1987 Supreme Court hearings? Considering the nomination of Judge Bork, Ted Kennedy rose on the Senate floor and announced that "Robert Bork's America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit down at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens' doors in midnight raids, schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution."


"Liberals" (in the debased contemporary American sense of the term) would have reason to find Borkian jurisprudence uncongenial but to suggest the judge and former solicitor-general favored resegregation of lunch counters is a slander not merely vile but so preposterous that, like his explanation for Chappaquiddick, only a Kennedy could get away with it. If you had to identify a single speech that marked "the end of civility" in American politics, that's a shoo-in. If a towering giant cares so much about humanity in general, why get hung up on his carelessness with humans in particular? For Kennedy's comrades, the cost was worth it. For the rest of us, it was a high price to pay. And, for Ted himself, who knows? He buried three brothers, and as many nephews, and, as the years took their toll, it looked sometimes as if the only Kennedy son to grow old had had to grow old for all of them. Did he truly believe, as surely as Melissa Lafsky and Co. do, that his indispensability to the republic trumped all else? That Camelot — that "fleeting wisp of glory," that "one brief shining moment" — must run forever, even if "How To Handle A Woman" gets dropped from the score.

The senator's actions in the hours and days after emerging from that pond tell us something ugly about Kennedy the man.

That he got away with it tells us something ugly about American public life.

-- submitted by The Joneses

OK, OK ... I said I wouldn't comment ... but I just HAVE to!!! I had forgotten all about the whole neck brace thing ... when Kennedy attended Mary Jo Kopechne's funeral, he was wearing a collar ... reportedly the ONLY time he was EVER seen wearing it after the accident (but coincidently, the entire time the cameras were rolling!!!) In his book "1969: The Year Everything Changed", author Rob Kirkpatrick writes "Kennedy attended Kopechne's funeral on July 22 in Plymouth, Pennsylvania, wearing a brace around his neck. Doctors had reportedly said that he suffered a concussion, but many people looked upon the neck brace cynically, suspecting that he'd worn it to remind people that he, too, was a victim in this tragedy."

Kennedy's biography is quoted a couple of times in the two emails above ... here's another quote from biographer Robert Sherrill: "One can expand this nightmare to Kopechne hanging on for hours, slowing dying of terror and asphyxiation, while Kennedy tossed and turned on his bed in the Shiretown Inn and grumbled about the noises from the party next door, worrying about his own comfort and his political future." The fact that he would ... or could ... EVER joke about this incident is beyond my comprehension!!! (kk)

re: THE '69 CHARTS:

Although "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" was the No. 1 album for 1969 on the Billboard year-end chart, in Cash Box it finished second to the cast LP from "Hair."

The complete Cash Box year-end chart can be viewed here:

BTW, reagrding The Top 50 Songs Of Summer, 1969, you might want to point out that the differences in the chart dates contribute in part to the differences in the rankings of some songs. The dates on the local charts are based on when they debuted, whereas the national charts were dated a week later than published... so records that hit their peaks in late May / early June received points for an extra week on the national charts, while records that hit their peaks in late August / early September got credit for an extra week on the local charts. The effect of this can be seen by comparing the rankings for "Get Back," which was No. 1 at the beginning of the eligibility period, and "Honky Tonk Women," which was No. 1 at the end of that period.
– Randy Price

So noted ... thanks, Randy! (kk)