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Take a Trip to the Sixties

Updated: Apr 23, 2023

(Disclaimer: The blog writers are not suggesting any other trip, other than a trip down memory Lane.)

As you know our Summer Concert is based on songs of the Sixties. If you didn’t know, you definitely haven’t been paying attention!

The Fifties were black & white, but the Sixties were in technicolor! How was it possible for decades of change to take place in just ten years?

By the 1960s, the first teenage generation free from conscription emerged in Britain. Young people were finally given a voice and freedom to do what they wanted. By the early 1960s, teenagers were already significantly different to those of a decade ago.

One of the biggest, defining aspects of the 1960s was music. The Sixties has some very iconic songs none more so than:

The Twist which heralded in the new decade; some are timeless, others are of the time and may sound a little dated now, but they were new and innovative in their day.

Like our repertoire, it was an eclectic mix of styles from protest songs to psychedelic out of this world renditions.

Music was an essential part of the revolution, with "the London sound" being regarded as including the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Who, the Kinks and the Small Faces, bands that were additionally the mainstay of pirate radio stations like Radio Caroline, Wonderful Radio London and Swinging Radio England.

Psychedelic rock from artists such as Pink Floyd, Cream, Procol Harum and the Jimi Hendrix Experience grew significantly in popularity.

Large venues included Hyde, Alexandra and Finsbury Parks, Clapham Common and the Empire Pool (which became Wembley Arena). This sort of music was heard on TV shows such as the BBC's Top of the Pops (where the Rolling Stones were the first band to perform with "I Wanna Be Your Man"),and

ITV's Ready Steady Go! (which would feature Manfred Mann's "5-4-3-2-1" as its theme tune and from 1967 on BBC Radio One.

Hard to imagine now that this was all so new and unheard of before and some parents of the day were shocked at the music, fashion (with skirts so short they were dry cleaned by the inch) and long hair (which looking back doesn’t seem as long and as shocking now).

Sub cultures in the 1960's

The Mods and Rockers were two conflicting British youth subcultures that started to spring up in the early 1960s. For Rockers it was about Motor Bikes and Rock and Roll. For the Mods it was all about fashion, music and style.

In the late 1960's, a subculture of skinheads emerged who began to adopt the style and fashion associated with Jamaica and its music. Boots got bigger, hair and trousers got shorter.

Recreational drugs were also synonymous with the Sixties and became more commonly used in the latter part of the decade. Images of the Woodstock festival show people high on marijuana and LSD, dancing in fields with paint on their face and their hair flowing free. Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds has been recognised as a key work in the psychedelic genre. Rumours of the connection between the title of "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" and the initialism "LSD" began circulating shortly after the release of the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band LP in June 1967. PaulMcCartney gave two interviews in June admitting to having taken the drug.

It was very difficult for anyone in show business to avoid becoming involved in drugs in some way and as easily influenced young people looking for fun, many were encouraged to follow their idols and take hallucinogenic drugs. LSD made people feel happy and optimistic and helped bring about the ‘hippy’ movement. The effects of these drugs were also reflected in psychedelic art and films, bringing new, vibrant and exciting colours and patterns to the forefront.

The Swinging Sixties saw a flourishing in art, music and fashion, and was symbolised by the city's "pop and fashion exports", the mod and psychedelic subculture.

Mary Quant's miniskirt designs; popular fashion models such as Twiggy, Jean Shrimpton and Pattie Boyd (the wife of Beatles guitarist George Harrison who gained international fame for her embodiment of the "British female 'look' – mini-skirt, long, straight hair and wide-eyed loveliness). that was anyone.

Popular iconic shopping areas such as London's King's Road, Kensington and Carnaby Street were created; the political activism of the anti-nuclear movement; and the sexual liberation movement were also started. When walking down the Kings Road SW6 you would literally trip over anyone that was anyone.

Major News Stories in 1960s include:

The Great Train Robbery was the robbery of £2.3million (about £30 million today) from a Royal Mail Train

Man lands on the Moon

The Pill was first introduced in the UK

The IRA fights against the British

John F Kennedy wins presidential Election

Berlin was divided into East and West by barbed wire laid down by the Soviets

Soviet missile shoots down the US U2 spy plane

Aluminium Cans were used for the first time

The US announces 3,500 American soldiers are going to be sent to Vietnam

Xerox introduces the first photocopier

Fidel Castro nationalises American oil, sugar and other US interests in Cuba

OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) is formed.

Chubby Checker and The Twist starts a new dance craze

1966 England win the World Cup

The 1960s was a decade of rapid change. Blink for one second and youwould have missed it. It was the period that finally allowed people the liberty and individuality many had fought for and what we take for granted nowadays.

The sixties began bleak and restricted, but by the end, people were full of hope and optimism for a better future. Now we know what Charlie Fleischer meant by, “If you remember the ’60s, you really weren’t there”. I guess I wasn’t really there…

We will have great fun recreating the Sixties Sound. Download the new music and listen to the tracks which are now in Dropbox ready to sing together again on 25 April.

Ringo clearly was there!

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