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Rock hits of 1968

This is the other side of the Summer of Love...

Top 10 Major Rock Hits of 1968

The major rock hits of 1968 epitomize the ruthlessness of creative freedom between the Summer of Love and Woodstock... The best songs of 1968 largely eschewed the hippie trappings that dominated the next two years. The most important bands of the decade, including the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, made some of their greatest albums that year. What's the best on our list of the top 10 songs of 1968? Definitely the timelessness of music...

10. Steppenwolf - "Born to Be Wild"

The counterculture classic Steppenwolf is practically a musical symbol of the late 60s. The signature opening guitar riff, John Kay's throaty growl, and the idealistic theme of complete and uncompromising freedom conjure up an image of a motorcycle parade roaming endless stretches of gray highway in search of... what? Ah, the 60s!

9. The Kinks - "Waterloo Sunset"

By 1968, Kinks frontman Ray Davis had pushed aside his band's familiar three-chord garage rock and replaced it with a more musically lush and ambitious setting. Over the next few years, he enveloped the mores of Victorian England with pastoral melodies that were both nostalgic nods to his country's heritage and sarcastic jabs... X…

8. Big Brother & the Holding Company - "Piece of My Heart"

Without Janis Joplin, Big Brother & the Holding Company were a little-known San Francisco blues-rock band that barely stood out in the city's crowded scene. But Joplin lifted them up with her loud, muscular voice that conveyed as much joy as pain... Their breakout hit, a cover of an Aretha Franklin R&B song, was taken by Joplin into complete control. It sounds magical...

7. Cream - "White Room"

The third album of the power trio Cream, titled "Wheels of Fire" and consisting of half live and half new material, begins to reign when the band is on stage. But the studio track, the record-opening hit single, "White Room" represents one of Cream's greatest performances! Of particular note is Eric Clapton's guitar, which sounds smoother than Jack Bruce's tense vocals...

6. The Rolling Stones - "Jumpin' Jack Flash"

The Rolling Stones were at the height of their popularity in 1968... After the failed psychedelic experiment of 1967's "Their Satanic Majesties Request", the Stones ditched the kaleidoscopic imagery and embarked on a new set of blues-inspired songs. Most of the tracks were included in the magnificent Beggars Banquet album... And "Jumpin' Jack Flash" became the pearl of the record!

5. The Beatles - "Hey Jude"

Recorded during intense sessions with the White Album, but released as a single a couple of months prior, "Hey Jude" depicts the Beatles in their most popular form... It's a prime example of how the entire band temporarily bridges their differences for one of the their most popular and fun songs...

4. The Band - "The Weight"

This band was an underground legend even before their debut album came out. They supported Bob Dylan during his controversial and confrontational tour of Britain in 1966 and recorded a ton of songs with him at their home in Woodstock, New York. And just like Dylan's "John Wesley Harding" released in late 1967, "Music From Big Pink" is a powerful record shrouded in hippie backlash. "The Weight" is an album timeless classic that is still being re-recorded by new generations of artists after more than 40 years...

3. The Beatles - "While My Guitar Gently Weeps"

Even though the Beatles had a huge responsibility for the Summer of Love, thanks to Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band", 1968 proved to be a continuous peace and love for them ... The four members mainly acted as support groups for each other on the double disc "White Album". George Harrison's guitar epic is the centerpiece of the album. One of the band's best...

2. The Jimi Hendrix Experience - "All Along the Watchtower"

Like the Beatles, Hendrix followed up two 1967 masterpieces with a double album that was more complex and daring than anything he had ever recorded. “Electric Ladyland” is filled with guitar motifs, studio thoughts and excursions into psychedelic blues… One of the album’s most traditional tracks is also its finest – a cover of Dylan’s recent song “All Along the Watchtower” that stands proudly above the original…

1. The Rolling Stones - "Sympathy for the Devil"

Beggars Banquet - This Rolling Stones album is filled with bluesy covers and songs that sound like blues covers, as well as a heightened sense of menace that will consume the band in the next few years. “Sympathy for the Devil” is the introduction to it all: a simmering six-minute cauldron fueled by a conga reputable darkness that boils over from one of Keith Richards’ most brutal guitar solos ever… It’s the other side of Summer of Love.

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