January 1968 - Johnny Cash records two live shows at California's Folsom Prison along with June Carter and Carl Perkins. The resulting live album goes to #1 on the country charts and revives his career.January 1968 - Los Angeles, CA rock band Steppenwolf release their debut album including the single "Born to Be Wild" which charts at #2 US, #30 UK.January 1968 - The Beatles are #1 in both the US and UK in January with "Hello Goodbye". In London they launch their own company, Apple Corps, with a store, a recording studio and record label.January 1968 - Louisiana group John Fred & His Playboy Band knock the Beatles from the top spot in the US with the single "Judy in Disguise (With Glasses)" a parody of the Beatles song "Lucy In The Sky with Diamonds". The song also reaches #3 on the UK charts.February 1968 - UK band Pink Floyd's lead singer and song writer Syd Barrett is checked into a psychiatric hospital and the band replaces him with David Gilmour. February 1968 - UK band Manfred Mann have a UK #1 and US #10 hit single with their cover of Bob Dylan's "Quinn the Eskimo (Mighty Quinn)".February 1968 - Fifties doo wop sensation Frankie Lymon, who went to #1 as a teenager in 1956 with the single "Why Do Fools Fall In Love", dies of a heroin overdose at age 25.February 1968 - Cicero, IL rockers, American Breed, go to #5 US, #24 UK with the single "Bend Me, Shape Me". February 1968 - The Beatles, Donovan, Mike Love, Mia Farrow and others travel to India to study transcendental meditation with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.February 1968 - Oxford, Ohio band The Lemon Pipers score a #1 with the psychedelic  pop single "Green Tambourine" on Buddah Records. The song is considered the first "bubblegum" rock song to top the charts.March 1968 - Otis Redding's posthumous single "(Sittin' On) The Dock of The Bay" goes to #1 US and #3 UK. March 1968 - The Monkees have a #3 US, #12 UK hit single with "Valleri". It would be their sixth and final top ten single.March 1968 - San Francisco concert promoter Bill Graham rents a vacant New York theater and opens the Fillmore East concert venue, to complement his west coast venue. The San Francisco Fillmore was an important venue in the growth of the SF psychedelic music scene.April 1968 - Bobby Goldsboro updates the teen tradegy genre with the melodramatic song "Honey (I Miss You)" which tops the US charts for five weeks.April 1968 - The musical Hair opens on Broadway for the first of 1,750 performances. It would spawn several Top 40 hits including "Aquarius", "Good Morning Starshine" and the title song "Hair".April 1968 - Simon and Garfunkel release the album Bookends which goes to #1 in the US and UK. The single "Mrs. Robinson" would go to #1 US, #4 UK in June helped by the movie - The Graduate.May 1968 - Janis Joplin leaves the group Big Brother and the Holding Company. Looking for a more R&B Stax/Volt style sound she forms backup group The Kozmic Blues Band.May 1968 - Houston, TX based R&B vocal group Archie Bell & The Drells go to #1 US with their single "Tighten Up". May 1968 - "Young Girl" by California band Gary Puckett and The Union Gap hits #2 US and #1 in the UK.May 1968 - Canadian Irish folk band The Irish Rovers break into the US top ten with "The Unicorn".  June 1968 - San Diego, CA band Iron Butterfly release the album In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, considered to be one of the earliest examples of the emerging rock genre of Heavy Metal. The 17 minute long title song is edited down and released as a single and hits #30 in the US.June 1968 - After venturing deep into psychedelia The Rolling Stones return to their blues roots with the song "Jumpin' Jack Flash" which hits #1 in the UK and #3 US.July 1968 - El Cerrito, CA band Creedence Clearwater Revival release their debut LP and hit #11 US with their cover of the fifties rockabilly hit "Suzie Q".July 1968 - Scottish folk rocker, Donovan, comes out with an early heavy metal sound on the psychedelic single "Hurdy Gurdy Man" which peaks at #4 UK, #5 US. August 1968 - Classical guitar with orchestral backing make for an unlikely #2 US instrumental hit for American guitarist Mason Williams and the song "Classical Gas". August 1968 - American band Tommy James and the Shondells have a #1 hit in the UK with "Mony Mony" it goes to #8 US.August 1968 - Los Angeles rock band The Doors have their first #1 album and their second and last #1 single with "Hello, I Love You". The single went to #15 UK, there first UK chart success. The band would tour Europe in 1968.August 1968 - New Jersey band The Rascals have their third and final #1 hit with "People Got To Be Free".August 1968 - The Beatles release the first single on their own Apple label "Hey Jude" backed with "Revolution". The over 7 minute song went to #1 in both the US and UK. They also released a promotional film for the song (shown above).October 1968 - Mary Hopkin has a #1 UK and #2 US hit with "Those Were The Days" produced by Paul McCartney and released on the Apple label.November 1968 - Irish singer/songwriter Van Morrison releases his second solo album Astral Weeks to significant critical acclaim, but modest sales. November 1968 - Gritty voiced UK blues singer Joe Cocker has a UK #1 with his cover of the Beatles song "With A Little Help From My Friends".December 1968 - Motown artist Marvin Gaye hits #1 in the US and UK with the single "I Heard It Through The Grapevine".December 1968 - Diana Ross & The Supremes top the US charts (#15 UK) with the single "Love Child". It is the 11th US #1 single for The Supremes.December 1968 - NBC-TV airs the Elvis comeback special - featuring Presley and his original backing band playing live, mostly acoustic versions of his own songs and other favorites in front of a studio audience.
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