It’s Monday 18th August 1969 and the legendary Woodstock Music Festival – actually named as the ‘Woodstock Music & Art Fair’ – has come to an end. Scheduled to run for three days on a New York dairy farm it has actually run for four and attracted an audience of more than 400,000 people – some with tickets – some without – with traffic jams for miles in every direction!
During a sometimes rainy weekend over 30 acts performed outdoors including the likes of Janis Joplin, Joan Baez, The Who, Jimi Hendrix and Ravi Shankar.
The whole event then symbolized the 60s era of flower power; hippies; peace & love; marijuana and protests about the Vietnam War that is happening the other side of the world. That ‘feeling’ remains still today to those that went to the Fair and those that wished that they had.
The newspapers of the day referred to the event as days and nights of ‘sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll’. Later it was widely regarded as a pivotal moment in popular music history. This year – 2017 – the festival site has been listed on the US National Register of Historic Places.
On Friday 23rd July 1965, Sir Alec Douglas-Home resigned as leader of Britain’s Conservative Party. The Shadow Chancellor Edward Heath and Shadow Foreign Secretary Reginald Maudling were the obvious contenders with a number of ‘possibles’ hovering in the background. In the end only the Shadow Transport Minister Enoch Powell stood.
Reginald Maudling was the most experienced and publicly known of the candidates and was generally considered to be the favourite although Edward Heath was thought to be a reasonable outsider.
It was on today – Tuesday 27th July 1965 – that the vote was announced: was as follows:
Enoch Powell – 15 votes; Reginald Maudling – 133 votes; Edward Heath – 150 votes
The actual rules in place required the victor to have both an absolute majority (which Heath had narrowly achieved) and, in the first ballot, at least a 15% lead of votes actually cast. As Heath had not achieved the latter hurdle, the election could have gone to further rounds but Reginald Maudling conceded defeat and Heath was duly declared leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition in Parliament – a position he held until Friday 19th June 1970 when he became the Prime Minister of Great Britain.
Many in Britain will know this headline coming across the airwaves.
In July 1969 the charts for 5th July showed the Edwin Hawkins Singers ‘Oh Happy Day’ at number 5; ‘Living in the Past’ by Jethrow Tull at 4; ‘The Ballard of John and Yoko’ by the Beatles at 3; ‘In the Ghetto’ by Elvis at 2 and ‘Something in the Air’ by Thunderclap Newman at 1.
12th July has Thunderclap, Elvis and the Beatles in situ but ‘Hello Susie‘ by Amen Corner had shot up from 14 to 4 pushing Jethro Tull to 5.
19th July still has no change at 1 and 2 but last week’s number 9 – the Rolling Stones ‘Honky Tonk Woman’ is now at number 3; the Plastic Ono Band has shot from 21 to 4 with ‘Give Peace a Chance’ causing ‘Hello Susie’ to slip down 1 to 5.
But we are looking at the situation on 26th July 1969 and at Number One – Top of the Pops is/are the Rolling Stones with their …….
‘Honky Tonk Woman’
This will stay at number 1 until 30th August when Zager & Evans’ ‘In the Year 2525’ knocks them down – to number 2!