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1969 in music

See also: 1968 in music, other events of 1969, 1970 in music and the list of 'years in music'.

Perhaps the most famous musical events of 1969 are two legendary concerts. At a Rolling Stones concert in Altamont, California[?], a fan was stabbed to death by Hell's Angels, a biker gang that had been hired to provide security for the event. In retrospect, many commentators have concluded that the violence signalled the failure of the so-called "hippies", who espoused an ethos of free love and peace. Even more famous than the Altamont concert is Woodstock, which consisted of dozens of the most famous performers in the world at the time, playing together in an atmosphere of peace with nature and love, with many thousands of concertgoers; it is still one of the largest concerts in the history of the world.

Soul Shakedown[?] was the debut album by Bob Marley & the Wailers, who would go on to become one of the most popular groups around the world. The album achieved very little popularity outside of the group's native country, Jamaica, but began establishing themselves as superstars there. Musically, Soul Shakedown is more ska than reggae, the style of music the Wailers would eventually make world-famous; the pioneering style of the music helped move ska and rocksteady towards reggae.

David Bowie's debut single, "Space Oddity[?]", became a huge hit this year, partially due to the remarkable coincidence that it was released in the same year as American astronauts first landed on the moon. The song, the story of an astronaut named Major Tom who goes into space and is entranced by the beauty of seeing Earth from such a great distance and consequently lets himself float off into space, never again to return, was chosen by the BBC as the theme song for the television coverage of the moon landing. The remainder of the album, Man of Words/Man of Music[?], was too avant-garde for mainstream acceptance, though it established a devoted fanbase for Bowie, who would go on to become one of the most popular musicians in the world.

King Crimson's In the Court of the Crimson King[?] is a pioneering album in the development of prog rock. The album drew upon influences like Procol Harum, The Moody Blues and The Nice to form an original sound melding rock and roll with classical influences in long, avant-garde pieces of music. Similar albums by The Moody Blues, Procol Harum and The Nice, as well as Genesis, Yes and Pink Floyd were also released this year, expanding the range of prog rock and developing it into a full-fledged genre.

Miles Davis' Bitches Brew[?] is widely considered the first successful full-fledged fusion of rock and roll and jazz, as well as being one of the most famous and well-remembered albums by Davis.

The Stooges' eponymous debut, The Stooges[?], was also released this year to little critical or popular acceptance. The album, however, went on to become one of the most important recordings in the early development of punk rock.

Johnny Cash's At San Quentin[?] included his only Top Ten pop hit, "A Boy Named Sue[?]". The album was a sequel to last year's At Folsolm Prison[?]. Also in country music, Merle Haggard's Same Train, Different Time[?], a tribute to Jimmie Rodgers, was enormously popular and influenced the development of the Bakersfield sound into outlaw country[?] within a few years.

Gilberto Gil and Caetano Veloso released enormously popular albums in Brazil, Gilberto Gil[?] and Caetano Veloso[?], respectively. The pair's fusion of bossa nova, samba and other native Brazilian folk influences, melded with politically and socially aware lyrics, kickstarted what came to be known as Tropicalia.

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Albums Released

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Eurovision Song Contest

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