The Gist

“Mrs. Robinson,” “Hey Jude,” and Some Utter Schlock

1968 was a year of protest and political upheaval, but the Billboard charts were dominated by novelty hits and a singing Herb Alpert.

Herb Alpert performs in 1966.

ABC Photo Archive/Getty Images

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The political upheaval of 1968 was ferocious, but the Billboard charts still reflected a calm, placid sensibility. Our guest Chris Molanphy looks at the year in radio hits, from Herb Alpert’s debut as a singer to the novelty tracks competing for air time with the Beatles and Simon and Garfunkel. Molanphy writes Slate’s Why Is This Song No. 1? column.

For the Spiel, a debate with Politico Magazine writer Bill Scher: Was Hillary Clinton taking a risk with her “deplorables” comment?

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