15 epic and influential American rock albums from 1969

These 15 rock masterpieces were the best albums from rock in the final year of the 1960s.
Creedence Clearwater Revival in concert
Creedence Clearwater Revival in concert / Michael Putland/GettyImages
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13. Santana – Santana

While much of this album was pulled from a long, improvisational studio jam, the best-known track from Carlos Santana’s debut album is “Evil Ways,” an eternal classic that has featured in a wide variety of films and television shows as either a representation of its era or as a sensational mood piece.

Of course, Santana’s guitar chops are on full display throughout, especially on the transcendent closing track “Soul Sacrifice,” which has long been regarded as a highlight of the 1969 Woodstock festival – an appearance that also boosted this album’s critical and commercial success.

12. Happy Trails – Quicksilver Messenger Service

Jam bands owe a debt of gratitude to the second album from Quicksilver Messenger Service, as this West Coast-flavored rock album’s entire first side is devoted to a long jam session based on Bo Diddley's “Who Do You Love,” (Diddley also produced one of the best opening songs from a debut album from the 1950s) with each section devoted to a solo from a different instrument.

An entertaining and enthralling showcase of the group’s terrific chops, this album has far more in common with the band's feted live performances of the era as opposed to the more pastoral and sedate sounds found on their debut album.