A personal reflection of the 1960s

Ready_Steady_Go!We hope that the Sheepfair weekend will bring back some great memories for people who were around to witness the Swinging Sixties. In this blog, past committee member Chris Penney gives an insight on his memories of the 1960s.

If you were born between 1941 and 1956 (late ’42 in my case!) you can definitely claim to have been around for the “Swinging Sixties” – either as an “early-teenager” or a “late-twenty-something” by the end of 1969! But, for the first quarter of the decade, very little happened that was different from the late1950s! Except in a few trendy celebrity areas (like London’s Carnaby Street) for most of us the highlights of the week were still BBC’s Juke Box Jury and ITV’s Oh Boy! Then from October 1962 – April 1963 there was increasing interest in the Beatles’ first four Parlophone releases, followed by the Rolling Stones’ first release in June 1963.

For me, The Swinging Sixties really began in August 1963, when Ready Steady Go! became Friday-night’s must-see-show and the Beatles released their 5th Parlophone single She Loves You! – which went viral on both sides of the Atlantic.

Many more UK pop groups soon arrived on the scene – leading, by the summer of 1964, to huge rivalry between Mods and Rockers, especially in coastal resorts.

Things calmed down with the cooler autumn days, but then – just in time for 1965 and the second half of the decade – came the pivotal moment of the 1960s’ music scene: pirate station Radio London (“Big L”) began full transmission on 23 December 1964, really capturing and reflecting the mood of the younger generation!

The remainder of the ’60s is history. 1965 and 1966 were both golden years – especially with the bonus of England winning the World Cup!

In 1967 the government acted (spitefully – but pointlessly, in the opinion of many) and closed down the pirate radio stations. But by then the mood was firmly set for a popular music evolution on both sides of the Atlantic into the ’70s and beyond (initially via ground-breaking LPs like the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds and the Beatles’ Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band etc). 1967 later became known as the Summer of Love with some of America’s hippy and anti-war culture reaching over here.

1968 saw the first Isle of Wight Festival, while1969 saw the first landing on the Moon, Colour tv then really took off when BBC1 switched from black/white and we became hooked on colourful space “soaps” shows such as Star Trek. Beam me up, Scotty!