The Headline News and Key Facts of 1969
On the National Scene
The growing movement against the Vietnam War is symbolized by Moratorium
Day, as thousands across the country turn out to protest U. S. policy. The My Lai massacre by U.S. soldiers
of over 100 Vietnamese civilians is made public.
In June President Nixon announces his "Vietnamization" designed to
help the Vietnamese deal with their own problems, and extricate the U.S. from southeast
"I will say confidently that looking ahead just three years the war
will be over." - President Nixon.
President Nixon selects Warren Burger to replace the retiring Earl
Warren as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
Women's equality becomes a major political issue.
The trial of the Chicago Seven for 1968 protests at the Deomocratic
convention becomes a symbol of radical movement.
Senator Ted Kennedy drives his car off a bridge on Chappaquiddick Island off Martha's
Vineyard, killing his young passenger, Mary Jo Kopechne. This major story was partially drowned out (sorry) by the
moon landing that took place just days later. A week after the accident, Kennedy received a suspended sentence, and
that was the end of it. But many Americans would never look at Kennedy the same way .
The U.S. wins the space race convincingly by landing a man on the moon.
Neil Armstrong, Edwin Aldrin, and Michael Collins fly on board Apollo 11. "Houston... Tranquility Base, here;
the Eagle has landed." Event of the century? Possibly; we all thought so at the time. We met the late
president's challenge and conquered outer space. This gave Americans confidence that we could beat the Russians in
anything... if put to the test.
Sirahan Sirahan convicted in the murder of Robert Kennedy.
Dwight D. Eisenhower dies.
Penthouse begins publication... in plenty of time for the
Thousands of party-goers sludge through the mud to experience four days of rock n' roll at
a place called Woodstock. Heavy press coverage makes the event seem larger than it was and shows the passing of
baby boomers from young children to adult children.
Charles Manson and other members of his cult murder actress Sharon Tate and six
others in a horrible event that was referred to as "Helter Skelter."
The ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) claims that marijuana is harmless to both the
user and society in general.
President Nixon bans the production of chemical weapons.
As the first of the boomers reach their 20's, the cost of medical care begins to rise
First commerical 747 goes into service.
Concord makes the first trans-US flight Seattle to New York.
On January 29th, The Beatles perform in public for the final time as a group in an
impromptu rooftop jam session in England. They record their final sides together in August of that
Hard-rock fully emerges from the experimentation's of the past few years as Led Zeppelin
releases their first two albums.
The Who release "Tommy", the first widely successful "rock-opera".
Diana Ross leaves the Supremes, who were the most successful female and black group in
history, for a solo career.
FM radio's incursions continue with each new station playing only one or two "formats" which has the
unfortunate result of splitting music on stylistic and often racial grounds rather than the previously
all-inclusive policy of AM radio.
Elvis Presley scores his 18th, and final, #1 Pop Hit of his career. He'd score 36 different #1 hits on all
American charts combined, a record for rock performers.
The Doors lead singer Jim Morrison is arrested for indecent exposure during a concert in
"Kick Out The Jams" by The MC5 introduces the prototype for punk rock.
The Isley Brothers, who's ten year career to date has resulted in only three large hits, start their own
label, T-Neck, and score a major smash with the single "It's Your Thing", their first funk record as that style
replaces soul music as the predominant force on the R&B Charts.
Two highly publicized rock concerts mark the end of the decade as first the music festival Woodstock in
upstate New York marks the spiritual conclusion to the sixties and then in December, a concert at the Altamont
Speedway in California headlined by the Rolling Stones turns disastrous as a man is killed by the Hell's Angels
hired for security for the event.
Wynonie Harris, who in 1948 may have been the first true rock singer, dies at the age of
Defying all conventional wisdom, the New
York Mets win their first World Series led by pitcher Tom Seaver.
Meanwhile, the New York Jets win the Super Bowl beating the
Baltimore Colts and defying all logic... except that of Joe Namath.
Movies and Television
Easy Rider (starring Peter Fonda) is the forerunner of a new
wave of youth-oriented movies. The Academy award for Best Picture goes to
Midnight Cowboy starring Jon Voigt and Dustin Hoffman. John Wayne wins
for Best Actor in True Grit. Paul Newman and Robert Redford star in
"Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
The most popular series on TV include Rowan
& Martin's Laugh-In, Gunsmoke, and
The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour is cancelled due to a political controversy.
Dick Cavett begins his late night talk show to compete with Johnny Carson. Room
222 is the seaon's most honored new series.
In time for perhaps the very last of the boomers, Sesame Street debuts
In November 250,000 protestors (mostly
students) march against the war in Washington, D.C. It is only fitting that the decade ends with just as much
excitement and turmoil as it began.
On December 1st the Selective Service
conducts the first draft lottery since 1942, affecting 800,000 males born between 1944 and
Click Here for Billboard's Top Ten
hits of the day in 1969.