Rock, pop, jazz, soul and RnB were changed forever by the albums that came out in 1968.
1. Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis
Miles Davis claimed to have changed the course of music multiple times during his long career from 1944-91. He certainly was at the forefront of such epochal changes in jazz styles such as bebop and cool jazz. But he was definitely the most instrumental in marrying jazz and rock. Filles de Kilimanjaro, coming a full year before he took the plunge into jazz fusion with In A Silent Way, is a transitional album that nonetheless wields great influence. This is the last album he recorded with his 1960s quintet, featuring jazz giants like Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter and Tony Williams.
2. The Beatles by The Beatles
Better known as the White Album, this fragmentary, adult and dark album might be the greatest collection of songs that The Beatles ever put out in their remarkable eight-year run. It was less the Fab Four as a rock monolith and more of John, Paul, George and Ringo recording with a crack backup band called The Beatles. They had initially planned to call the album A Doll’s House (a traditional “doll’s house” is home to many different and unrelated objects), to reflect the musically diverse approach to song styles.
3. At Folsom Prison by Johnny Cash
One of the most successful recording artists from the 1950s Sun Records stable (which also included Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Roy Orbison), Johnny Cash’s career was going nowhere by the end of the 1960s. Plagued with a worsening drug problem and brushes with the law, the “man in black” made his riskiest decision yet by playing two shows for the inmates of Folsom State Prison in California. By turns downbeat, funny, playful and sad, Cash struck a rapport with his audience.