Our Sheet Music Heritage – 1967 – Movies

By Tony Walas / author Visions of Music – Sheet Music in the Twentieth Century

As we continue to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love, let’s look back at the movies of 1967, via the vintage sheet music covers from my collection. These magical musical artifacts remind us of the memorable films that hit the big screen during the course of that year. The distinctive covers generally reflect the theater posters, and help us recall the plots . . . the actors . . . and the era.

1967 was a pivotal year for films. Just as the counterculture started to strongly question the social norms, so too a batch of new producers and directors began to spark a revolution of their own. They reflected the changing attitudes about sex, religion, interpersonal relationships, government, and the connection between the individual and the government, in the movies they were making. During the mid-to-late sixties, there was a new approach to filmmaking generating some unique visual styles. Especially with such blockbuster releases as Bonnie And Clyde and The Graduate, many long-held taboos would be broken.

Bonnie And Clyde
The tag line on the film poster reads “They’re young…they’re in love…and they kill people.” Yes, that’s exactly what the movie Bonnie And Clyde delivers. Plenty of violence all around, including the final scene (spoiler alert) where the two (played by Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway) are ambushed and gunned-down. Posed, family-style snapshot of them and their gang is seen on the cover.
Scarborough Fair / Canticle
The Graduate, released in 1967, was a triumph for Dustin Hoffman. He plays a directionless and unsure college graduate, who gets seduced by an older woman, but then falls in love with her daughter. Music by Paul Simon includes the hit “Mrs. Robinson,” along with this gentle folk song “Scarborough Fair” which was interwoven with anti-war lyrics – “Canticle” – (this was during Vietnam). Artful illustration loosely based on one of the film’s classic scenes.













Addressing the problem of race relations was a contemporary topic that was openly treated, while presenting the audience with some positive viewpoints. A certain youthful idealism was coming to the forefront in 1967, sending messages of hope, tolerance and understanding. Yes, this was an overall period of unbridled optimism and belief in change, and young people especially were looking to find direction in their lives. Certain movies were trying to reflect those ideals, and point the way to a better future.

Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner Described on the cover as being “A LOVE STORY OF TODAY”, the movie Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner presented an in-your-face challenge to the traditional attitudes towards the controversial subject of interracial dating and marriage. Winning Academy Awards for Best Actress (Katharine Hepburn) and Best Writing (Original Screenplay), the film affirmed that love can overcome all problems. The four main actors appear on the cover.
To Sir, With Love Performed by Lulu, and reaching #1 on Billboard, “To Sir, With Love” was the title song for the 1967 movie starring Sidney Poitier again, this time as a teacher dealing with the issues of race and respect in his classroom. The blurb on the movie poster calls it “A story as fresh as the girls in their minis . . . and as tough as the kids in his East London school.” The sheet music cover describes the action as “He teaches London’s turned-on teens to cool it and call him ‘Sir’!”













The increasing popularity of drugs and the drug culture in 1967, and its subsequent misuse by all classes and races led to movies like Valley Of The Dolls, which put a realistic face on this social problem.

Valley Of The Dolls – Theme From

In the context of the time, the term “dolls” was a slang drug reference to downers or sleeping pills. By 1967, many types of drugs were becoming a prevalent part of more than just the counterculture, making their way into the homes and lifestyles of mainstream communities.

The film was based on the novel by Jacqueline Susann, and the original movie poster goes on to declare that it was “THE MOTION PICTURE THAT SHOWS WHAT AMERICA’S ALL TIME #1 BEST SELLER FIRST PUT INTO WORDS.” It goes on to give further details that “In the Valley Of The Dolls, it’s instant turn-on…pills to put you to sleep at night, kick you awake in the morning, make life seem great – instant love, instant excitement…ultimate hell!”

While Dory Previn and Andre Previn wrote the theme song, which was recorded by Dionne Warwick, the soundtrack score was composed by the talented John Williams.

Pictured on the sheet music cover are Barbara Perkins, Patty Duke, and the ill-fated Sharon Tate, who was gruesomely murdered.

Spy films continued to be the “movies du jour,” ever since the release of Dr. No in 1962 and the introduction of “Bond, James Bond” to moviegoers around the world. 1967 saw the release of the fifth installment of the series – You Only Live Twice – with a continuation of Sean Connery in the leading role.

You Only Live Twice

According to the poster “…and TWICE is the only way to live!” Captivating illustration on the cover epitomizes the magnetism and charisma of the Bond character – surrounded by gorgeous women. Now in his fifth appearance, the large promotional text at the top reads “Sean Connery IS James Bond.” The theme by John Barry and Leslie Bricusse was sung by Nancy Sinatra.




Next time: We’ll jump back an additional fifty years, and look at the sheet music published exactly one hundred years ago, as we set the set the controls of the WABAC machine (under Mr. Peabody’s direction) to the year 1917.