1967: Yesterday Once More

Back in time to Austin and the world fifty years ago

Let's jump back 50 years. Entering 1967, the Monkees' I'm A Believer holds the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100, and as the year ends, the Monkees hold the top spot with Daydream Believer. In fact, the Monkees out-sell the Beatles and the Rolling Stones combined in 1967. It's a landmark year in rock music, with top selling hits by the Association, Doors, Young Rascals, Sam & Dave, Van Morrison, Fifth Dimension, Mamas & Papas, Jefferson Airplane, Four Tops, Buffalo Springfield, Neil Diamond, Who, Beatles, and more. What on earth does a tiny record company start-up in Austin, Texas, think it can offer in this milieu of superstar recording artists?

A Picture of Me by the Sweetarts
Sonobeat's first stereo 45 RPM release, hitting Austin record stores the week of September 4, 1967.
In and around Austin

Austin's population hits 223,981, growing 2.3% from 1966.

Average household income is $7,300. Gasoline hits 33¢ a gallon (but you get S&H Green Stamps, Blue Chip Stamps, or Plaid Stamps at most gas stations, which you paste into booklets until you have enough to redeem for a variety of household goods). A movie ticket $1.25 (amazingly, only about $9 in 2017 dollars). The minimum wage rises to $1.40 an hour, and inflation tops out at 2.78%. The average price of a new home hovers around $14,250 with rentals about $125 a month.

The annual Aqua Festival Battle of the Bands, sponsored by the Austin Civitan Club, features seven Austin rock bands performing non-stop on Friday, September 15th. Admission to the event at the Austin Municipal Auditorium is $1.

Best hamburgers in Austin (this isn't scientific; these are the Sonobeat crew's favorites) are the Frisco at The Night Hawk, the hickory burger at the Holiday House, and the legendary Kum-Bak burger at Dirty Martin's. Favorite Austin Mexican restaurants? El Gallo on South Congress (which, sadly, closes forever in 2017 after 60 years in business) and all-you-can-eat-for-$1.25 at El Toro at 1601 Guadalupe.

The Thirteenth Floor Elevators, Austin's psychedelic icons, release their second album, Easter Everywhere.

On September 27th, Austin holds its first "Love In", at Zilker Park. The Wig, which will break up within a month thereafter and whose members Rusty Wier and Jess Yaryan will co-found Lavender Hill Express, is the first rock band ever to play Zilker Park.

On October 27th, Vulcan Gas Company, which rapidly will become Austin's go-to hippie music venue, opens at 316 Congress Avenue.

On December 15th, The Pleasure Dome opens at 222 East 6th, competing head to head with Vulcan Gas Company. The Thingies, who will record a single for Sonobeat in 1968, play The Pleasure Dome's opening weekend.

The University of Texas Longhorn varsity football team under head coach Darrell Royal goes 6-4 for the season, beating one arch-rival, Oklahoma, in the Red River Shootout on October 14th but taking a heartbreaking 10-7 loss to its other arch-rival, Texas A&M, on November 23rd to end the season ranked 3rd in the Southwest Conference.

Favorite Austin music venues

Broken Spoke (3201 South Lamar)

Chequered Flag (1411 Lavaca)

Club Caravan at the Villa Capri Hotel (2360 North Interregional Highway)

Club Seville at the Sheraton Crest Inn (1st and Congress Avenue)

Downtowner (11th and San Jacinto)

11th Door (1101 Red River)

IL Club (1124 East 11th)

Jade Room (1501 San Jacinto)

Match Box (2513 San Antonio)

New Orleans Club (12th and Red River)

Red Lion (207 West 6th)

Split Rail (217 South Lamar)

Swingers Club (831 West Houston)

Velvatone Lounge (817 East 53-1/2)

Vulcan Gas Company (316 Congress Avenue)

As the world turns...

On January 5th, the Green Bay Packers win the first Superbowl ever; they whack their opponent, the Kansas City Chiefs, 35-10.

On January 27th, Apollo 1 astronauts Gus Grissom, Edward Higgins White, and Roger Chaffee die in a fire that ignites in their command module during a launch pad test.

In February, NASA launches the Lunar Orbiter 3 spacecraft, which will survey the surface of the moon for potential Apollo mission landing zones.

In March, U.K. model Twiggy arrives in the U.S., becoming an instant phenomenon and gracing the cover of Vogue magazine in April, July, and November; in one issue, Vogue describes Twiggy as the "extravaganza that makes the look of the sixties".

On June 1st, the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is released in the U.S.; by July 1st, it hits #1 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums list and remains #1 for 15 consecutive weeks.

On June 5th, the Six Day War between Israel and Egypt begins (it ends June 10th).

The Summer of Love begins in, yes, June, conciding with the Monterey Pop Festival (June 16th through 18th), when tens of thousands of young people – mostly self-identifing as hippies or flower children – converge in San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury district.

In August, Thurgood Marshall is confirmed by the Senate, becoming the first black justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.

On September 20th, Hurricane Beulah makes landfall over Padre Island, Texas, killing almost 60, and spawning a record 115 tornadoes throughout south and central Texas, including 6 in the Austin area.

On October 26th, U.S. Navy pilot John McCain is shot down over North Vietnam, captured, and held at the infamous "Hanoi Hilton"; he remains a POW until March 1973.

On November 9th, the issue #1 of Rolling Stone hits magazine racks with John Lennon gracing the cover.

Time's Man of the Year is U.S. president Lyndon Johnson, the first U.S. president from the State of Texas.

Among future celebrities born in 1967 are novelist Meg Cabot; commedians Louis C.K. and Jamie Foxx; film and TV stars Laura Dern, Michelle Forbes (born in Austin, she grows up to play Ensign Ro in Star Trek: The Next Generation), Benicio Del Toro, Vin Diesel, Nicole Kidman, Will Ferrell, Julia Roberts, and Jimmy Kimmel; composer Michael Giaccino (if you don't know Michael, you know his soundtracks: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Zootopia, among dozens), Nirvana front man Kurt Cobain, Harry Connick Jr., Dave Matthews, Tony Braxton, Vanilla Ice, R. Kelly, and country superstar Tim McGraw.

Among notable losses in 1967 are R&B singer Otis Redding and four members of soul group the Bar-Kays (private airplane crash), film vixen Jayne Mansfield, The Wizard of Oz's Cowardly Lion Bert Lahr, movie icons Spencer Tracy and Vivien Leigh, Beatles manager Brian Epstein, Pulitzer prizewinning poet Carl Sandberg, writer and satirist Dorothy Parker, Argentine revolutionary "Che" Guevara, and folk singer and songwriter Woody Guthrie.

Some of the year's best and most popular

Best Picture of 1967 (Oscars®): In The Heat Of The Night starring Sidney Poitier and Rod Steiger (who also wins Best Actor for his role in the film).

Top Grossing Film at the Box Office: The Graduate, starring Dustin Hoffman, Ann Bancroft, and Katharine Ross and directed by Mike Nichols, takes in $104,901,839 at the box office (approximately $758,050,000 in 2017 dollars).

Outstanding Comedy Series for the 1966-'67 season (Emmys®): The Monkees; yes, the TV show featuring a made-up band that in 1967 sold more records than the Beatles and Rolling Stones combined.

Outstanding Drama Series for the 1966-'67 season (Emmys®): Mission: Impossible, starring Martin Landau, Greg Morris, Peter Lupus, and Barbara Bain. Peter Graves joins the cast as James Phelps in the series' second season beginning in Fall 1967.

Top Hot 100 Single of the Year (Billboard Magazine): To Sir, With Love • Lulu.

Best Record of the Year (Grammys®): Strangers In The Night • Frank Sinatra.

Best New Artist of the Year (Grammys®): Oops! There's no Best New Artist of the Year awarded in 1967 (perhaps because hard-to-top showman-singer Tom Jones has won in 1966?).

Best Song of the Year (Grammys®): Michelle • John Lennon & Paul McCartney, performed, of course, by the Beatles.

Fashion trends: For women, it's full-length empire waist dresses, mini skimmers, and paisley print shift dresses. For men, it's v-neck pullover sweaters, pleated flannel slacks, and Fleur-de-Lis print shirts. And, of course, if you're a hippie, tie-dye T-shirts, handmade headbands, beaded vests, denim bell bottoms, and Birkenstocks.

Most popular car: Chevrolet Camaro, with a base sticker price of $2,466 (about $17,820 in 2017 dollars). The Camaro convertible comes in second.

Favorite newborn boy's name: Michael, which took the top spot beginning in 1961, still holds it in 1967, and will continue to hold the #1 position through 1998.

Favorite newborn girls' name: Lisa takes the top spot and will hold that position for the following two years.

Sonobeat in '67

Sonobeat launches in 1967 with four stereo 45 RPM releases: A Picture of Me by the Sweetarts is first, released the week of September 4th, followed a week later by There Will Never Be Another You by the Lee Arlano Trio. Night Life by Don Dean is released the week of October 30th, and Visions by Lavender Hill Express hits Austin record stores the week of December 11th.

In The Heat Of The Night movie poster
In The Heat Of The Night is the Best Picture of the Year and will spawn two sequels, including 1970's They Call Me Mister Tibbs! with Sidney Poitier reprising the title role.
Camaro celebrates 50 years
The Chevy Camero also celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2017.
Steve Lagreca / Shutterstock.com