Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band‘s 3rd studio album was released on 16 June 1969.
In 1968, Beefheart found himself without a label, and a completed album waiting to be released (the sessions would not be released until 1971′s Mirror Man), when Don Van Vliet’s (Beefheart) high school friend, Frank Zappa offered him complete artistic freedom to release an album on Zappa’s Straight label (Trout Mask Replica was the second album on Straight, following Alice Cooper’s Pretties for You released in May 1969).
Van Vliet prepared for the recording session by having the band all live in the same house, where band members later confirmed that they were not allowed to leave, frequently abused, verbally and physically, rationed food (being fed soybeans for a month), and subjected to grueling rehearsal sessions that lasted 14 hours.
The resulting album is one of the most original, confounding, alienating, and engrossing albums ever released. “Then and now, it stands outside time, trends, fads, hypes, the rise and fall of whole genres eclectic as walking Christmas trees, constituting a genre unto itself: truly, a musical Monolith if ever there was one,” Lester Bangs wrote.
It was a commercial disaster in the US, but peaked (for a week) at #21 in the UK.
The Wild Bunch premiered in Los Angeles, CA on 18 June 1969.
The film was immediately declared a masterpiece by some critics (e.g. Vincent Canby and Roger Ebert) and criticized for its violence by others. Sam Peckinpah had been effected by the sanitized violence on TV and in the movies, especially compared with the violence of the Vietnam War shown on the nightly news. He saw the violence in The Wild Bunch as “ugly, brutalizing, and bloody awful; it’s not fun and games and cowboys and Indians. It’s a terrible, ugly thing, and yet there’s a certain response that you get from it, an excitement, because we’re all violent people.“
The film was a box office success and earned 2 Academy Award nominations: Best Original Screenplay (Walon Green, Sam Peckinpah, Roy Sickner) and Best Original Score (Jerry Fielding). Both awards went to Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (screenwriter William Goldman and composer Burt Bacharach).