In the music
- One of the most beloved and significant jazz musicians dies, aged 40 from liver cancer. John Coltrane's profoundly innovative and spiritual saxophone-playing not only won him generations of fans and two posthumous Grammys, but also inspired Bishop Franzo King to build the Saint John Coltrane African Orthodox Church in San Francisco.
- Tamla Motown stalwarts the Four Tops had top ten hits with Standing in the Shadows of Love, Bernadette, Seven Rooms of Gloom and Walk Away Renee.
- Aretha Franklin makes it into the UK charts with Baby I Love You, Chain of Fools, a version of the Stones' (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction and Respect which gets to no. 10.
- Otis Redding brings the house down with Try A Little Tenderness at the Monterey Pop Festival in June. Tragically, Redding dies aged just 26 in a plane crash six months later.
- The Monterey Pop Festival (California) is considered the first major music festival and a blueprint for Woodstock (see '69). Redding, Lou Rawls and Hugh Masekela play alongside artists like Janis Joplin and The Who.
- It heralds the 'Summer of Love' - a fruition of the hippie philosophy which believed in peace, love, equality and respect, was devoid of racism and did impact on some of the black youth. An infamous and incredibly talented icon of hippie culture who made his American debut at the festival was Jimi Hendrix. The film of the gig captures Hendrix's iconic burning and smashing of his guitar.
- Back in the UK the rocksteady beat of 007 (Shanty Town) was taken on by the British mod movement as an anthem. When the Jamaican rude boy star, Desmond Dekker, visited England after the song's success he was surprised by his following. By '69 he'd be the first Jamaican to have a no.1 in Britain.