3 WORDS Introducing the 60s; a celebration
in words and photos
6 WHEN? The essential 60s timeline;
what happened when
10 CARS The E-Type: surely the most
beautiful car ever made
18 TV ‘Mind how you go’, as George Dixon
would have said
24 BIKES 60s superbikes – Commando,
Rocket 3 and Trident
31 TRAVEL The most beautiful plane that
ever flew – Concorde
36 HI-FI When every home had a radiogram
in the sitting room
41 RADIO Ahoy there, me hearties!
The great days of pirate radio
45 TRAVEL The decade of the motorway
(now they’re decayed!)
51 GIRLS In 60 they were in corsets, by 69
they were into cannabis
56 MUSIC Eric, Herman and Freddie:
The great 60s pop frontmen
74 CARS Cortinas, Vivas and Escorts; smart
cars for every family
80 MUSIC Three West Coast divas; very
different from Cilla and Lulu
87 FOOBALL Ee-aye-addio, we won the cup!
Well, in 66 we really did
91 SPORT A Saturday afternoon fixture;
off-road riding on television
95 VAN LIFE The automotive truckin’ legend
that was the Ford Transit
98 STRANGE Great musical eccentrics:
Tiny Tim and Viv Stanshall
103 MUSIC Who was best, The Beatles or
The Stones? We decide
106 MUSIC The very sad story of Stu Sutcliffe:
The lost Beatle
109 BIKES It was to be the bike of the future:
the great Ariel Arrow
Was there ever a decade like it and, indeed, will we ever see its like again? Well, the answer is most definitely ‘no’ to both questions, Firstly, though, let’s establish when exactly we’re talking about.
There is an argument that, stylistically at least, the decade actually started in 1962 or 1963, and that those opening couple of years had more in common with the monochrome 50s than the Kodachrome 60s. Certainly Philip Larkin famously thought so, and Beatlophiles would claim that the 60s ran from Please Please Me to Sergeant Pepper or, at the latest, the Abbey Road album – which narrows it down a lot. I’m not so sure, though.
There is a case to be made for the 60s having begun even earlier. Mary Quant opened her first boutique in 1955, the Mini was launched in 1959, and the satire movement was getting under way in 1961.
I would admit that, politically, the 60s didn’t start until late 1963 or 64, but the whole point of the 60s was that the ‘authorities’ – what was suddenly becoming known as ‘the establishment’ – certainly didn’t lead; it followed far behind. Indeed, as Tony Blair’s Cool Britannia initiatives showed, it still hasn’t caught up. At the other end of the scale, maybe the 60s did end in about 73, with the coming of Glam Rock, which was an unspeakable parody of everything the two previous decades had held dear. Some folk say that David Bowie’s early career was very 60s, but I don’t know – the 60s was about innocence, whereas Ziggy Stardust was very knowing and very worldly.
For me the 60s ended with the great rock festivals: Woodstock in the States, and the Isle of Wight over here. Never in the Western world had so many people come together other than to fight each other. Neither of them was a free festival, though, and by then bands weren’t just turning up to play for the fun of it. Managers were hustling ruthlessly.
Being at either event was seen as a shrewd career move. The cynicism had cut in. And then there were the two festivals that were overshadowed by death, again one in the UK and one in the USA: Altamont and Hyde Park. All four took place in 1969. By then both The Beatles and Cream had broken up, and we’d seen the first rock casualties.
It wasn’t all going sour, as many have claimed. It was changing, as it had to. The 70s would be a very different time, the next, inevitable step along the way. Not such a step forward in many ways, maybe, but certainly The Next Thing. So, by my admittedly contrary reckoning, the 60s did begin around about 1960, and did end in 1969… except that they didn’t.
End in 1969, that is. You see, the 60s have never really gone away. It was certainly the most influential decade since the English Civil War (yes, OK, in rather different ways); you can see and hear its legacy every single day – fashion, art and music are constantly looking back at the 60s, trying to recapture the freshness and the vitality of those years – and feel it, too, in terms of attitudes, actions and reactions.
This magazine celebrates that glorious decade – the few short years that changed us all, forever, and for the better. It’s about what was new and fresh, what was exciting and exhilarating. It’s about colour and vivacity, electricity and dynamism. It’s about cheeky, fresh-faced disc jockeys bobbing about on the high seas, the coming of the motorways that revolutionised the way we travelled. It’s about winning the World Cup, the mini-skirt, the contraceptive pill, mahogany stereograms in the front parlour, cameras that gave you photos as soon as you took the picture, movies that were like nothing you had ever seen before, and listening to great music on tiny, chrome-fronted transistor radios.
It’s about fun, when fun was fine and fresh and free. And if it’s nostalgic, then that’s OK.
END OF PREVIEW • Written by Steven Myatt • ©2006 Myatt Media Ltd / Mortons Media Group Ltd
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