That was the year: 1969

© Corbis

Another trip back through time and the pages of GT. This time we look back at the world of guitars, music and international events as the '60s drew to a close...


Apollo 11 lands on the moon and the world is amazed as we watch the first moon walk live on TV.

Maiden voyage of the Queen Elizabeth 2 ocean liner; both the Boeing 747 and Concorde perform their maiden flights; the Harrier Jump Jet enters service with the RAF; the new Victoria Line of the London Underground is opened by the Queen; the halfpenny ceases to be legal tender; and Swansea is granted city status.

The Beatles get legal as George, John and Ringo start proceedings against Paul. John Lennon marries Yoko Ono eight days after McCartney marries Linda Eastman.

Noel Redding quits the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Mick Taylor joins the Rolling Stones and almost a month later Brian Jones is found dead in his swimming pool.

Jimi Hendrix headlines the Woodstock Festival, Chuck Berry plays at the Toronto Peace Festival and Lennon decides to quit The Beatles after his performance there.

Eponymous albums are all the rage and include Led Zeppelin's debut, Free, Santana, Mott The Hoople, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Blind Faith, The Band, Neil Young, Chicago Transit Authority, The Doobie Brothers, The Velvet Underground and Yes.

Outstanding British albums include The Who's Tommy, Family Entertainment by Family, King Crimson's In The Court Of The Crimson King, Goodbye by Cream, The Beatles' Abbey Road, A Salty Dog by Procol Harum, Spooky Tooth's Spooky Two, Stand Up by Jethro Tull, Fleetwood Mac's Then Play On and From Genesis to Revelation by Genesis.

Gibson reintroduces the '50s designs of the Les Paul now that the man himself is part of their advisory team. However they also produce the Les Paul Personal, a mighty strange beast with low impedance pickups, expanded electronics and a microphone socket fitted on the upper body edge.

As the name implies it's based on Paul's own instrument of the day but it fails to rank highly on the popularity charts.

The British Musical Instrument Fair in London sees the launch of the Vox Giants, a range of guitars and a bass, spearheaded by the VG 12, a Gretsch-styled 12-string guitar manufactured in Japan.

As such it's an entirely new look for Vox and features a bolt-on neck, gold-plated hardware, painted f-holes plus a bound neck and body.

Fender unveils their Rosewood Telecaster, a weighty beast that is essentially a basic Tele but with a solid rosewood body and neck.

It is strangely charismatic and popularised by George Harrison using one during The Beatles' performance on the roof of the Apple building in London.

To ease the player's burden later models would feature hollowed chambers within the body but these early ones are a real man's guitar.