1968 – Bubblegum Rock

  • The first ATM is installed by the First Philadelphia Bank
  • A huge supply of oil is discovered in Alaska.
  • The price of the Hershey bar goes up to 10 cents.
  • All artificial birth control methods are condemned by Pope Paul VI
  • As US cigarette sales start to decline manufacturers begin adding more tar and nicotine to them
  • The first of many US commercial jet planes is hijacked and forced to fly to Cuba
  • NYC installs the first emergency 911 phone system
  • Draft cards are burned and across US College campuses there are war protest rallies held on National Turn in Your Draft Card Day.

Bubblegum Rock

  • Bubblegum rock infiltrates the AM radio airwaves. To this kind of music which was a lot of fun to listen to you could rock and bop and pop some bubble gum for sure. Among the groups that stood out was Tommy James and the Shondells with “Hanky Panky”.
  • The newly created FM radio outlets start playing longer singles, present more controversial material and less restrictive styles
  • Soul music rises to the top with 20 number 1 R&B hits.
  • Psychedelic rock is presented by Sly and the Family Stone and other major hits are scored by Marvin Gaye and the Temptations on the Motown record label.
  • The Beatles score it big with “Hey Jude” and release their double LP “The White Album
  • Blues-rock band Cream performs for the last time in November at the Royal Albert Hall in England and they disband afterward.
  • For the very first time, the term “heavy metal” appears in the Steppenwolf song “Born to Be Wild


  • American black athletes protest at the Mexico City Olympics.
  • The Detroit Tigers win the World Series.
  • Green Bay Packers win the Super Bowl.
  • The 3rd Wimbledon is won by tennis great Billie Jean King.

Movies and TV

  • The debut of 60 Minutes on CBS
  • Elvis Presley scores it big with the highly rated TV show The ’68 Comeback Special. Dressed from head to toe in leather he gives a dynamite performance of his old hits
  • Motion picture event of the year is Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: Space Odyssey.
  • Scoring the biggest hit of the year is “Funny Girl” for which the starring actress Barbara Streisand will go on to share the Best Actress Oscar with Katherine Hepburn for her starring role in “Lion in Winter”.
  • Other movie hits include “The Odd Couple”, “Bullitt”, and “Romeo and Juliet”.
  • The new most popular series on TV is Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-in
  • Other popular shows are Gomer Pyle USMC, Bonanza, Mayberry RFD and Family Affair
  • Classic variety and comedy series becomes The Carol Burnett Show


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