1968 Vietnam War

1968 Vietnam War

When we remember the 1960s,  LSD, civil rights, black nationalism, feminism, political unrest, assassinations, and Vietnam come to mind with a Magical Mystery Tour soundtrack played by the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin,and Jimi Hendrix.
And if one had to pick one year of that tumultuous decade that was "more" 1960s than any other, 1968 would be a prime candidate.
And if Vietnam was the salient feature of that decade, 1968 was a year that many Americans decided that the war was a waste of life and limb.
On January 26, 1968 in Time Magazine, General Westmoreland said, "the Communists seem to have run temporarily out of steam." 
Three days later, the nation that heralded George Washington's Christmas night crossing of the Delaware River and sneak attack on the Hessian troops barracked in Trenton, was angered when the North Vietnamese and Vietcong launched the surprise Tet Offensive. The US and South Vietnamese forces defeated the attacks, but at home those military reports of a weakened enemy were questioned.
1968 Vietnam War

December 31, 1968:  the bloodiest year of the war came to an end. 536,000 American servicemen were stationed in Vietnam, an increase of over 50,000 from 1967.
Estimates from Headquarters U.S. Military Assistance Command Vietnam indicated that US and Vietnamese forces had killed 181,150 Viet Cong and North Vietnamese during 1968.
However, Allied losses were also up: 27,915 South Vietnamese, 14,584 Americans (a 56 percent increase over 1967), and 979 South Koreans, Australians, New Zealanders, and Thais were reported killed during 1968.
Since January 1961, more than 31,000 U.S. servicemen had been killed in Vietnam and over 200,000 U.S. personnel had been wounded.
The war that year had cost $77 billion (1968) dollars--$526 billion today.



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Felix Pappalardi

Happy Birthday

Felix Pappalardi

Felix Pappalardi was born on December 30, 1939 in the Bronx.
Pappalardi is famous in the lore of 1960s music because of his association with Cream (as a producer) and as  the bassist for Mountain.
He studied classical music at the University of Michigan, but couldn't earn a living when he returned to NYC.  Like so many other musicians of his time, he found the Greenwich Village folk scene.
He became an arranger and producer of that scene working with Tim Hardin, the Youngbloods, Joan Baez, Richard & Mimi Farina, Ian & Sylvia, and Fred Neil.
It was his work with Creme that brought fame to his name. He and his wife, Gail Collins, wrote "Stange Brew" with Eric Clapton.

In 1968, Pappalardi began working with Leslie West and produced a solo album for him.
After Cream disbanded, Pappalardi and West formed  Mountain. A New York Times headline read: A new rock group called Mountain may not entirely replace the late, honestly lamented British band Cream, but it is carrying on the tradition with power and respect. (click for article >>> Mountain forms)
Mountain performed at the Woodstock Music and Art Fair on Saturday of that famous weekend. Here is Pappalardi singing "Theme from an Imaginary Western" at Woodstock

Felix Pappalardi After Mountain's breakup, Papparlardi returned to  production, a return reputedly forced due to hearing loss from Mountains loud performances.

Felix Pappalardi

Felix Pappalardi In 1979, Pappalardi released his first proper solo album, Don't Worry, Ma,
Felix Pappalardi
Felix Pappalardi’s solo album cover
Felix Pappalardi On April 17, 1983, Gail Colins shot Pappalardi once in the neck and he died. She claimed it was an accident, but a jury found her guilty of criminally negligent homicide. She was sentenced to four years.

Felix Pappalardi More from the Ultimate Classic Rock site about Gail Collins's death in 2013 >>> Gail Collins's death)Felix Pappal
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Rick Danko

Rick Danko

Born on December 29, 1942

Thank you for that voice. Did you come out singing?

Thank you for that smile. Did you come out smiling?

Without your love I’m nothing at all

Like an empty hall it’s a lonely fall

Since you’ve been gone it’s a losing battle

Stampeding cattle they rattle my walls

Because I was wet, tired, hungry, and worried whether our car was still where we left it on the side of 17B, Tony and I left the Woodstock Music and Art Fair after Sunday afternoon's deluge.

No Hendrix. No Crosby Stills and Nash. And no Band. Damn it, no Band. Big Pink. Bob Dylan. Tears of Rage. Woodstock.

I did see the Band later and they were as good as I'd hoped. And I had great hopes.

And later still I got to see a solo Rick a few times at The Turning Point in Sparkhill, NY. One of those times, my wife and I brought our young teenage son who was a fan and an aspiring guitarist. At a point, Rick, with a smile as big as the stage, asked the audience, "Does anyone have a heavy?" meaning a guitar pick.

Our son had one, handed it to Rick and got Rick's in return.

Get much better? I think not.

Rick did make a difference.

Carol Gaffin wrote after Rick's death:

On December 10, 1999, Rick Danko died as he had lived - simply, without fanfare, pomp or pretense. If the tears, prayers and tributes that followed are any indication, this country boy whose goal was to "help the neighborhood" certainly succeeded. The world is a much better place because of Rick Danko, and a much sadder one without him.

Link to Band site bio >>> Rick bio

The NYT article about Rick when he died >>> NYT article

And just because he was a December baby so close to Christmas...
Rick Danko


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