January 4 – The Doors release their self-titled debut album
February 13 – The Beatles new single “Strawberry Fields Forever / Penny Lane” is released in the United Kingdom
February 13- Jefferson Airplane’s influential album Surrealistic Pillow is released.
February 14 – Aretha Franklin records “Respect” at the New York based Atlantic Studios
March 12 – The Velvet Underground release their debut album, The Velvet Underground and Nico.
March 31 – Kicking off a tour with The Walker Brothers, Cat Stevens and Engelbert Humperdinck at The Astoria London, Jimi Hendrix sets fire to his guitar on stage for the first time. He is taken to the hospital suffering burns to his hands. This guitar-burning act would later become a trademark of Hendrix’s performances.
May 2 – In the United States, Capitol Records pulls the plug on the Beach Boys’ mysterious Smile project. Brian Wilson, who had taken more than a year to compose and produce the album, could not bring himself to finish it.
May 12 – Procol Harum’s musical career begins with the release of the single “A Whiter Shade of Pale”.
May 12 – Pink Floyd stage the first ever rock concert with quadraphonic sound at Queen Elizabeth Hall, England
May 12 – The debut album of The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Are You Experienced is released in the UK.
June 1 – The Beatles album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is released. David Bowie releases his self-titled, debut album, ‘David Bowie
August 4 – The Small Faces release the psychedelic single “Itchycoo Park” reaching #3 in the UK Singles Chart.
August 23 – The debut album of The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Are You Experienced, is released in the US.
November 9 – First issue of Rolling Stone magazine is published
December 10 – Otis Redding and four of the six Bar-Kays die in a plane crash in Lake Monona (Madison, Wisconsin). It was considered to be one of the worst air tragedies in entertainment history, since the Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and the Big Bopper air crash, 8 years earlier, in 1959.
The Who destroys their instruments during a performance on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour.
December -The Moody Blues release Days of Future Passed.
January 13 – Johnny Cash performs his famous concert at Folsom Prison in California.
January 21 – Simon and Garfunkel release album The Graduate Original Soundtrack.
February 18 – David Gilmour joins Pink Floyd, replacing founder Syd Barrett, who checked himself into a psychiatric hospital.
April 4 – James Brown appears on national television, in an attempt to calm feelings of anger in the United States following the assassination of Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.
September 7 – Led Zeppelin performs for the first time; at their first show, they are billed as The Yardbirds (the Yardbirds had disbanded two months earlier, and guitarist Jimmy Page subsequently formed this new group).
November 22 – The Beatles (also known as “The White Album”) by The Beatles is released
December 3 – Elvis Presley’s 1968 Comeback Special airs on NBC.