Lennon famously said The Beatles were more popular than Jesus, Lennon left The Beatles in 1970.

That same year he released the ‘John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band’ album, which he recorded with his Japanese wife Yoko Ono. His album ‘Imagine’ followed in 1971. The title song became an anthem for anti-war movements. More classic albums followed. On 8th December 1980, Lennon was shot and killed outside his New York apartment by a deranged fan. In the late 1950s, a flourishing culture of groups began to emerge, often out of the declining skiffle scene, in major urban centres in the UK like Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham and London.

This was particularly true in Liverpool, where it has been estimated that there were around 350 different bands active, often playing ballrooms, concert halls and clubs. Beat bands were heavily influenced by American bands of the era, such as Buddy Holly and the Crickets (from which group The Beatles derived their name), as well as earlier British groups such as The Shadows. After the national success of the Beatles in Britain from 1962, a number of Liverpool performers were able to follow them into the charts, including Gerry & The Pacemakers, The Searchers, and Cilla Black.

Among the most successful beat acts from Birmingham were The Spencer Davis Group and The Moody Blues. From London, the term Tottenham Sound was largely based around The Dave Clark Five, but other London bands that benefited from the beat boom of this era included the Rolling Stones and The Yardbirds. The first non-Liverpool, non-Brian Epstein-managed band to break through in the UK were Freddie and the Dreamers, who were based in Manchester as were Herman's Hermits and The Hollies. The beat movement provided most of the bands responsible for the British invasion of the American pop charts in the period after 1964, and furnished the model for many important developments in pop and rock music.


 John Winston Ono Lennon


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The lyrics, "If you're going to San Francisco, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair", inspired thousands of young people from all over the world to travel to San Francisco, sometimes wearing flowers in their hair and distributing flowers to passers-by, earning them the name, "Flower Children". Bands like the Grateful Dead, Big Brother and the Holding Company (with Janis Joplin), and Jefferson Airplane lived in the Haight.

Flower child originated as a synonym for hippie, especially among the idealistic young people who gathered in San Francisco and environs during the Summer of Love in 1967. It was the custom of "flower children" to wear and distribute flowers or floral-themed decorations to symbolize ideals of universal belonging, peace and love. The mass media picked up on the term and used it to refer in a broad sense to any hippie. Flower children were also associated with the flower power political movement, which originated in ideas written by Allen Ginsberg in 1965.

Twiggy in 1967, at the height of her modelling career, showing the look that made her famous One month after the Daily Express article, Twiggy posed for her first shoot for Vogue. A year later, she had appeared in 13 separate fashion shoots in international Vogue editions. The term originated in the mid-1960s after American political activists like Allen Ginsberg and Abbie Hoffman advocated the giving of flowers as a means of peaceful protest.

Images of flower-wielding protesters at the 1967 Pentagon March, such as Marc Riboud's image of Jan Rose Kasmir titled Flower Child and Bernie Boston's Pulitzer prize-nominated photograph Flower Power, popularized the association of flowers with the counterculture movement of the 1960s. Hippies embraced the symbolism by dressing in clothing with embroidered flowers and vibrant colors, wearing flowers in their hair, and distributing flowers to the public, becoming known as flower children.



Flower child originated as a synonym for hippie, especially among the idealistic young people who gathered in San Francisco and environs during the Summer of Love in 1967. It was the custom of "flower children" to wear and distribute flowers or floral-themed decorations to symbolize ideals of universal belonging, peace and love. The mass media picked up on the term and used it to refer in a broad sense to any hippie. Flower children were also associated with the flower power political movement, which originated in ideas written by Allen Ginsberg in 1965.

Twiggy in 1967, at the height of her modelling career, showing the look that made her famous One month after the Daily Express article, Twiggy posed for her first shoot for Vogue. A year later, she had appeared in 13 separate fashion shoots in international Vogue editions.

The term originated in the mid-1960s after American political activists like Allen Ginsberg and Abbie Hoffman advocated the giving of flowers as a means of peaceful protest. Images of flower-wielding protesters at the 1967 Pentagon March, such as Marc Riboud's image of Jan Rose Kasmir titled Flower Child and Bernie Boston's Pulitzer prize-nominated photograph Flower Power, popularized the association of flowers with the counter culture movement of the 1960s.

Hippies embraced the symbolism by dressing in clothing with embroidered flowers and vibrant colors, wearing flowers in their hair, and distributing flowers to the public, becoming known as flower children.


Iron Butterfly


Iron Butterfly. That’s the name of a rock group – a rock group from 1968. The name made eminent sense then, of course. It was the time of psychedelic music – music associated with mind-altering, hallucinogenic drugs. Butterfly imagery was cool at the time, part of the “counter-cultural” fare and quite acceptable. As for the “iron” part, well yes, that was psychedelically appropriate, too. But perhaps you had to be doing drugs to grasp the full meaning and context of how “heavy” it all was…. In any case, Iron Butterfly was a group that made the music of its day.

Four California musicians established the group in 1966. Vocalist, organist, and bandleader, Doug Ingle, formed the first version of the group in San Diego with drummer Ron Bushy and two others. The Iron Butterfly sound was long and heavy.

The group’s style was similar to that of acts such as Blue Cheer and Steppenwolf. Iron Butterfly’s music helped provide a bridge of sorts from the “psychedelia sound” to the heavy metal music that followed, influencing groups from Deep Purple to Led Zeppelin. “Now remembered as a passing fancy of the acid-rock era,” observes one writer describing the group in the Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock and Roll, “at its peak Iron Butterfly was considered a leading hard rock band.” The most famous of Iron Butterfly’s songs that emerged in June-July 1968 was “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida,” a 17-minute, mostly instrumental feast of organ and electric guitar that typified the psychedelic sound that summer. The song also used some repeating, mostly unintelligible lyrics.

The song’s title was derived – sort of – from “in the garden of Eden.” The track was written by vocalist, organist, and bandleader, Doug Ingle. Legend has it that Ingle wrote the song when he was in his cups, or worse, spending the day drinking red wine, as former band mate Ron Bushy recounted in a 2006 interview. But when Ingle was asked about the song’s title, he couldn’t pronounce it correctly, so Bushy wrote it down as he heard it, phonetically. “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” was the translation, and the name stuck.

As for the music, in its day, the song hit the mark – especially in extended play. And that was important in the event its listeners were in an “altered state,” as some might have called back then, also known as “stoned.” In such condition, devotees of the band could listen to “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” for hours, But that was 1968.



Like many people born well after the 60s ended, I love the music of that era. It sounds much fresher to my ears than does most of the music recorded today. These seven bands are my most favorite. (#1) The Beatles - Surprising pick, right? Sometimes conventional wisdom is on target.

Yes, The Beatles really are the greatest band of all time (and thus, obviously, the best band of the 1960s.) Considering they recorded their final album, Abbey Road, in 1969 they are really a "purely 60s" band (unlike most on this list which went on to record more music into the 70s (and in some cases beyond.)

My favorite Beatles album is 1968's self titled double album which is most well known as The White Album. (#2) The Rolling Stones - Much of The Stones best music was recorded in the '70s, not the '60s but that being said they definitely recorded a huge amount of stone cold classics in the '60s too. (#3) The Who - Like The Stones, they recorded a lot of their best stuff in the '70s. But then again they did recorded Tommy and a lot of their most famous singles (including "My Generation" of course) in the '60s.

The musicianship of this band always blows me away and I think they were the best live band of the decade. I definitely recommend getting the Live at Leeds CD, I think it's the best live album ever. (#4) The Jimi Hendrix Experience - They only released three albums (all of them in 1967 and 1968) but all three albums are absolute must have classics.

I think my personal favourite is the final of the three: Electric Ladyland which is a real sprawling psychedelic double album that includes many different styles of music. (#5) The Beach Boys - This selection isn't entirely on the strength of Pet Sounds. They did release a lot of other great music that sometimes gets overshadowed by Pet Sounds.

All of this being stated, this selection was made mostly because of the greatness of Pet Sounds (and the mystical Smile which was finally realized by Brian Wilson almost 40 years later.) (#6) Pink Floyd - The '60s Floyd of Syd Barrett was a different beast than the '70s Floyd lead by David Gilmour & Roger Waters. 1967's Piper at the Gates of Dawn is one of my all time favorite albums.

I also highly recommend Syd Barrett's two solo albums (they were both released in 1970) if you are into this sort of psychedelic pop music. Don't get me wrong, I love the 1970s Pink Floyd too especially Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here, and Animals but I don't think the '60s Barrett lead Floyd should be as overlooked as they are! (#7) Led Zeppelin - Most people think of Zep as a '70s band but they did release their first two albums in the '60s and I actually prefer those '60s albums over their '70s work (although of course that was great stuff too.)


oldies radio stations 1960s


Oldies music celebrates the history, trivia and charts of the music of the fifties, sixties and seventies. It is still alive and well. In fact, many rap artists use oldies as their background music while the rapper sings his lyrics over the oldie song...which is called sampling. Oldies is a generic term commonly used in the United States and Canada to describe a radio format that usually concentrates on Top 40 music from the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.

Oldies stations as we know them today did not really come into existence until the early 1970s. The music also overlaps with classic rock which focuses on the rock music of the late 1960s and 1970s as well as newer music in a similar style.

The songs are typically from the R&B, pop and rock music genres but may also include country, movie soundtrack, novelty, and other types of popular music from around 1950-on. Oldies music, which typically feature bands and artists such as Elvis Presley, Bill Haley, Little Richard, Pat Boone, Sam Cooke, the Beatles, the Beach Boys, the Rolling Stones, the Rascals, the Association, the Temptations, the Who, Elton John, and Fleetwood Mac, cover a wide variety of styles including early rock and roll, rockabilly, doo-wop, surf rock, girl groups, the British Invasion, folk rock, psychedelic rock, baroque pop, soul music, Motown, and bubblegum pop.

The music has some overlap with the classic rock format, which concentrates on the rock music of the late-'60s and '70s and also plays newer material made in the same style. The Oldies return to the era of doo-wop harmonizers, crew cut folk trios, suited balladeers, and rock 'n' roll wildmen. The songs encompass a wide range of musical styles. They often get dismissed as too tame for sophisticated modern palates, but for some, that's the genre's biggest value -- it harks back to a time that now seems innocent.


the Pill 1960


As female sexuality and premarital sex moved out of the shadows, the Pill became a convenient scapegoat for the sexual revolution among social conservatives. Many argued that the Pill was, in fact, responsible for the sexual revolution. The Pill's revolutionary breakthrough, that it allowed women to separate sex from procreation, was what conservatives feared most.

The theory was that the risk of pregnancy and the stigma that went along with it prevented single women from having sex and married women from having affairs. Since women on the Pill could control their fertility, single and married women could have sex anytime, anyplace and with anyone without the risk of pregnancy. Although it was acceptable for single men to have sex, the idea of young women behaving in the same way disturbed many in America.

In a 1966 feature on the Pill and morality, the magazine U.S. News and World Report asked, "Is the Pill regarded as a license for promiscuity? Can its availability to all women of childbearing age lead to sexual anarchy?" The author Pearl Buck took an even more dire doomsday approach to the Pill when she warned in a 1968 Reader's Digest article: "Everyone knows what The Pill is. It is a small object -- yet its potential effect upon our society many be even more devastating than the nuclear bomb."


Cliff Richard


At the start of the 60's, British Music was just emerging from obscurity with Cliff Richard, Billy Fury, Adam Faith beginning to become known worldwide. By the end of the decade British Music dominated the world with The Beatles, The Who, The Rolling Stones etc. One of the stories told by The Beatles was the story of when the Beatles were first in the USA they visited "Elvis" at his home and which ended with Elvis and the Beatles Jamming together.

That must have been one of the coolest musical sessions ever. As the swinging sixties London is famous worldwide for many things British including Music I thought I would tell its history and list some of the most famous names in British Music. Swinging London was under-way by the mid-1960s, and included music by The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, The Who, The Small Faces and other artists from what was known by America as the "British Invasion" as well as the growing popularity of Psychedelic Rock as Jimi Hendrick being represented as a cultural icon, supported by British bands like Cream and early Pink Floyd.

This music was heard in the United Kingdom over pirate radio stations such as Radio Caroline, Wonderful Radio London and Swinging Radio England. On December 10th , 1963 the Walter Cronkite ran a story about the Beatlemania phenomenon in the United Kingdom.

After seeing the report, 15 year old Marsha Albert of Maryland wrote a letter the following day to disc jockey Carroll James at radio station WWDC asking "why can't we have music like that here in America?". On December 17th James had Albert introduce "I Want to Hold Your Hand" live on the air, the first airing of a Beatles song in the United States.

WWDC's phones lit up and Washington, D.C. area record stores were flooded with requests for a record they did not have in stock. On December 26th Capitol Records released the record three weeks ahead of schedule. The release of the record during a time when teenagers were on vacation helped spread Beatlemania in America.

On January 18th , 1964, "I Want To Hold Your Hand" reached number one on the cash Box chart, the following week it did the same on Billboard. On February 7th the CBS Evening News ran a story about The Beatles' United States arrival that afternoon in which the correspondent said "The British Invasion this time goes by the code name Beatlemania". Two days later (Sunday, February 9th ) they appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show. Seventy five percent of Americans watching television that night viewed their appearance. On April 4th the Beatles held the top 5 positions on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, the only time to date that any act has accomplished this.

The group's massive chart success continued until they broke up in 1970. Dusty Springfield, having launched a solo career, became the first non-Beatle act during the invasion to have a major U.S. hit with "I only Want to be With You". She followed with several other hits and has been described by Allmusic as the finest white soul music singer of her era.

During the next two years, Chad & Jeremy, Peter and Gordon, The Animals, Manfred Mann, Petula Clark, Freddie and The Dreamers, Wayne Fontana and the Mind-benders, Herman's Hermits, The Rolling Stones, The Troggs and Donovan would have one or more number one singles. Other acts that were part of the invasion included The Kinks and The dave Clark Five. British Invasion acts also dominated the music charts at home in the United Kingdom.

The Dave Clark Five was the first British Invasion group to formally tour the United States (in the Spring of 1964). The group was considered the main competitor to The Beatles. The DC5 made its first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show on March 8, 1964, shortly after The Beatles. The DC5 made more appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show than any other British Invasion band. British Invasion artists played in styles now categorized either as blues-based rock music or as guitar-driven rock/pop. A second wave of the invasion occurred featuring acts such as The Who and The Zombies which were influenced by the invasion's pop side and American rock music.

The Beatles movie A Hard Day's Night and fashions from Carnaby Street led American media to proclaim England as the center of the music and fashion world. The emergence of a relatively homogeneous worldwide "rock" music style about 1967 marked the end of the "invasion". A Second Invasion occurred during the 1980s consisting of acts primarily popularized by the cable music channel MTV which was dominated by British Music video's by Queen, Duran Duran etc. While acts with a wide variety of styles were part of the invasion, New Wave and New Wave-influenced acts predominated.

The Chinese call Britain 'The Island of Hero's' which I think sums up what we British are all about. We British are inquisitive and competitive and are always looking over the horizon to the next adventure and discovery. Paul Hussey.


Good morning Vietnam


The counter-culture revolution of the 1960s is one of the most significant steps in western cultural development of the 20th Century. From the very beginning trickle of its inception, to its height during the Vietnamese war, music was a big source of its driving force, contributing to the achievements that it helped to bring about, but also laying some of the foundations for its downfall. With a focal point around the United States and the United Kingdom, it's influence spread throughout western civilisation and beyond, but where it all began is hard to say.

However, the most important ingredient in its development was the burgeoning distrust of the established order of things, and in particular the senators, congressmen and presidents that pulled the strings. The heightened tension of the cold war, the fear of the bomb, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, racial segregation and voting rights, the persecution of communists and the Cuban communist regime, police brutality, the Vietnamese war and the increased use of psychedelic drugs all coalesced in the 60s and early 70s to fuel the fire for the counter-culture movement.

Music was at the heart of it all, from the folk movement led by the likes of Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs and Dave Van Ronk to the release of "Revolution 1" on the Beatles' White Album. The music gave the children of the counter-culture revolution new sources of inspiration and a centre around which to base their dissatisfaction with the established order of play.

In addition to the songs and bands that talked about protest in one way or another, there were also those that talked about freedom in general, pushing the rules of convention to their outer limits. The Velvet Undergrounds lyrics for example include references to transgender, homosexuality and drug use in a way that had never been seen before, while bands like the Beach Boys are cited as big proponents of peace, love and understanding.

One of the biggest things to develop out of the counter culture of the 60s and early 70s is the large-scale music festival. Folk festivals were well established in the early sixties - Bob Dylan's electric guitar at the 1965 Newport Fold Festival has taken on near legendary status, for example - but it wasn't until the Monterey Pop Festival, which launched Jimi Hendrix to the big stage, the Isle of White Festivals and Woodstock that the idea really took off. The fact that this type of festival has become so widespread in recent years is a testament to the musical legacy of the 60s.


Geddy Lee


Geddy Lee first appeared on the world music stage in the year 1968, when he joined a Canadian rock band called Rush. His childhood friend, Alex Lifeson, a member of that rock band, asked Geddy Lee to join as Jeff Jones, the front man at that time, was to be replaced. Geddy Lee soon assumed the front man part, as he became the lead vocalist, keyboardist and bassist of Rush. Since then, Geddy Lee made history in progressive metal music and influenced great rock players.

Progressive metal music has its origins in the progressive rock of the 1960s, but did not become a genre until the 1980s. This form of rock is a blend between the powerful guitar sound of heavy metal, intricate instrument playing and complex structures. Jazz and classical music also influenced progressive metal music.

The duration of a progressive metal song is longer than a standard one. Rush's Geddy Lee was one of the first to introduce progressive rock to the world. Throughout the years, Rush's music combined different music styles and gave birth to new genres of rock, while Geddy Lee had a major impact on progressive metal music. In the 1990s, MTV gave progressive metal music mainstream exposure by making Queensrÿche's "Silent Lucidity" a big hit. Although this was not exactly the song to represent metal music, it brought many progressive metal bands into the spotlight and made this rock genre more popular.

Dream Theatre was next. This band truly represented progressive metal music. Even to this day, Dream Theatre is one of the most successful progressive metal bands and this success can be partially attributed to Geddy Lee.

This band is most famous for their technical proficiency and Geddy Lee was their inspiration. Metallica's Cliff Burton or Iron Maiden's Steve Harris were also inspired by the front man of Rush, so it is safe to say that this man had a big impact upon the development of progressive metal music. Geddy Lee did not settle for playing with Rush.

He has also produced many albums for other bands, and, in the year 2000, his solo was released. Progressive rock was now richer due to Geddy Lee's contribution to this genre by every means possible. He composed songs and performed for Rush, he inspired many great artists, who successfully made a name for themselves, he produced albums for different other bands and he also released a solo. Progressive metal music is as complex as Geddy Lee's style.

We can safely say that this prolific Rush member influenced many progressive metal artists, but he also added his touch to other music genres. Progressive metal music is a vast genre of rock because it can be broken down into numerous sub- genres, each of them corresponding to different music styles that artists have chosen as inspiration.

Geddy Lee is an artist who, throughout the years, has looked for inspiration in many music styles and integrated them into his music. So the contribution Geddy Lee has had to progressive metal music is of great importance.


End of the Vietnamese War 1960


The counter-culture movement ground to a halt around '73 & '74 with the end of the Vietnamese War, Nixon's presidential resignation and the implosion, corruption and exploitation of the free love era. Whether it ended with the removal of things to protest for, the move away from psychedelic drugs as the hit of choice or the disenfranchisement with the excessive hedonism that typified the latter parts of the movement it's hard to say for sure, but the impact of everything that occurred during that period is still being felt today, including the music that helped to produce it and that it helped to produce. Civil rights became universal, new forms of expression became acceptable, wars were ended and music was made.


 Les Paul


Rock music is often associated with heavy instrumentation, reverberating through a sound system, and played by hyperactive musicians wearing all-black garb. This kind of music has enjoyed over half a century of popularity with its strong beat and catchy melody. Rock music started in the 1940s and the 1950s as a fusion of rhythm and blues, gospel music, and country music. Originally known as rock and roll, as branded by disc jockey Alan Feed from Ohio, rock music combined influences resulted in simple blues-based style that was fast and danceable. Instrumentation for rock music often include electric guitar, bass guitar, drums, and keyboards.

Others add to their line-up reed instruments like the saxophone and the French horn. String instruments like the mandolin and the sitar are occasionally seen in the realm of rock music. Of all these instrumentations, it is the guitar that is considered to be the star of the show. Guitars come as solid electric, hollow electric or acoustic. The electric guitar was played rock and roll style by early rock legends Chuck Berry, Link Wray and Scotty Moore.

Texas blues guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan played a fusion of blues and rock. As multitrack recording was developed by Les Paul along with electronic sound treatment by Joe Meek, it was not long after when rock music artists like Jackie Breston and Bill Haley came out with their first rock and roll records. Breston released his record Rocket 88 under recording label Sun Records.

And then several years after, Haleys Rock Around the Clock was launched and topped the charts of Billboard magazine in terms of record sales and airtime plays. Sun Records also produced rock and roll king Elvis Presleys first single labelled Thats All Right (Mama). Shake, Rattle & Roll of Big Joe Turner was also topping the Billboard R&B charts during this time. The fusioning of rock music extended into the 1960s and the 1970s, with rock music being combined with folk music to create folk rock, with blues to create blues-rock, and with jazz to create jazz rock.

Electrical instrument ambiance was incorporated into rock music to create the carefree psychedelic rock. Influences from soul, funk and latin music were integrated with rock music to pave way for sub-genres as soft rock, heavy metal, hard rock, progressive rock, and punk rock. Rock music took a metallic turn in the 1980s and 1990s with the entry of rock bands like Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Queen, Aerosmith, Kiss, AC/DC and Black Sabbath. Hard rockers heightened the commercialization of rock and roll with albums and concerts being launched all over the country.

Arenas and other similar big venues were used as a places to gather crowds and crowds of rock music fans. Live performances in rock concerts had rock fans screaming and going wild over rock bands performing to full performance level complete with stage design and pyrotechnics. Some of the other developments in rock music are retro style grunge, theatrical glam rock (Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, and the New York Dolls), intense Britpop (John Lennon and the Beatles), indie rock and nu rock (Police, Duran Duran, Eurythmics, and the Culture Club).

Rock music has not been as popular with music critics at some point in time owing to its dark and overly loud metallic sound. But innovations and developments in look, style and sound has slowly developed a following for rock music not only in the young crowd but for the public in general as well. Rock music still manages to chalk up big hits in popular music.


The Searchers


By the end of 1962, the British rock scene had started with beat groups like The Beatles drawing on a wide range of American influences including soul music, rhythm and blues and surf music. Initially, they reinterpreted standard American tunes, playing for dancers doing the twist, for example. These groups eventually infused their original rock compositions with increasingly complex musical ideas and a distinctive sound.

In mid-1962 The Rolling Stones started as one of a number of groups increasingly showing blues influence, along with bands like The Animals and The Yardbirds. During 1963, The Beatles and other beat groups, such as The Searchers and The Hollies, achieved great popularity and commercial success in Britain. British rock broke through to mainstream popularity in the United States in January 1964 with the success of the Beatles. "I Want to Hold Your Hand" was the band's first #1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, starting the British Invasion of the American music charts.

The song entered the chart on January 18, 1964 at #45 before it became the #1 single for 7 weeks and went on to last a total of 15 weeks in the chart. Their first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show February 9 is considered a milestone in American pop culture. The broadcast drew an estimated 73 million viewers, at the time a record for an American television program.

The Beatles went on to become the biggest selling rock band of all time and they were followed by numerous British bands. During the next two years, Chad & Jeremy, Peter and Gordon, The Animals, Manfred Mann, Petula Clark, Freddie and the Dreamers, Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders, Herman's Hermits, The Rolling Stones, The Troggs, and Donovan would have one or more #1 singles. Other acts that were part of the invasion included The Kinks and The Dave Clark Five.

British Invasion acts also dominated the music charts at home in the United Kingdom. The British Invasion helped internationalize the production of rock and roll, opening the door for subsequent British (and Irish) performers to achieve international success.

In America it arguably spelled the end of instrumental surf music, vocal girl groups and (for a time) the teen idols, that had dominated the American charts in the late 1950s and 60s. It dented the careers of established R&B acts like Fats Domino and Chubby Checker and even temporarily derailed the chart success of surviving rock and roll acts, including Elvis. The British Invasion also played a major part in the rise of a distinct genre of rock music, and cemented the primacy of the rock group, based on guitars and drums and producing their own material as singer-songwriters.



The 1960s remains one of the most contested decades in recent American history. Politicians and social commentators continue to squabble over its meaning and legacy. Advertisers repackage sixties images, music and words to sell products through the haze of nostalgia. A new generation of political activists employs the rhetoric, tactics and style of sixties movements to advance old and new causes. To some, the 1960s were a dream, to others a nightmare.

Many look back fondly on the 1960s as a lost moment of opportunity and possibility, when a new and better America seemed possible. They see the sixties as worthy of imitation and emulation. Others view the decade as a terrible horror and a detour from the vaunted traditions of America’s past, responsible for the proliferation of a variety of contemporary social and political ills. They view the 1960s as a model to be avoided like the plague.


Bob Dylan 1960


Robert Zimmerman is one of the largest, if not the largest, influencers of music in the 1960’s and later decades. A few of his songs including “Blowing in the Wind”, and “The Times they are a-Changing”, became symbols of the Civil Rights, and anti war currents in the society.

You might be wondering “didn’t Bob Dylan write those songs?” Indeed he did. Zimmerman began calling himself Bob Dylan around 1959. The free thinking serious nature of his music has roots in his background as his paternal grandparents migrated from Russia, and his maternal grandparents were Jewish. It goes without saying then that Dylan, being born in 1941 during the Holocaust, had a unique perspective on life which he gave to his folk music.

Even though Dylan had anti war sentiments, it was probably WWII that helped shape his career and stardom. Before WWII, going to college was reserved for prestigious individuals and Bob Dylan had humble beginnings. The war however required the US to produce huge amounts of items to sustain the troops, which in turn is said to be responsible for pulling the US out of the Great Depression. The financial stability the war created tripled the amount of college enrolments between 1940 and 1949; a trend that was still growing when Dylan entered the University of Minnesota to study art.

Dylan was influenced by other variables as well such as The Rolling Stones, and especially The Beatles. Originally Dylan began by singing and writing traditional folk songs; however, after hearing the Beatles song “I Want to Hold Your Hand” Dylan began incorporating electric instruments.

Around this time also Dylan diverted from his usual protest songs to songs of a more personal nature in his album “Another Side to Bob Dylan”. Later that year, in 1964, Dylan met the Beatles in New York City and introduced them to cannabis on their first visit to the USA from the United Kingdom. The Beatles took the USA by storm and were extraordinarily famous.


Beatles


As the Beatles influenced Dylan, Dylan also influenced the Beatles. John Lennon of the Beatles was drawn to the lyrical importance of Dylan’s song. This began a shift toward a more narrative style of Beatles music beginning with the Album “Beatles for Sale” in 1964. They still maintained their rock and roll style which contrasted greatly against Dylan’s folk song music.

Both artists assimilated various aspects of each other into their own style. The Rolling Stones was another Rock N Roll band from the UK which took the USA by storm, and like the Beatles first toured the USA in 1964. Unlike the Beatles however, they were fairly new and without a hit record (in the USA) and some say their first tour to the USA was a total disaster. However, they did walk away recording in Chicago their first song to reach UK’s #1 hit “It’s All Over Now”. Jimi Hendrix who was born in Seattle Washington in 1942.

He too must have been affected by the social currents developing in the USA and its possible he as an African American was influenced by the Civil Rights movement and personalities such as Rosa Parks and King and I would almost wonder if the opportunities that presented themselves to him resulted from their influence if it were not for the fact that he was a masterful electric guitar musician.

He did for the electric guitar what John Cage did for the piano by exploring new sounds and astral sounding effects of feedback and distortion. Hendrix’s fame began in 1968 but was short lived as he died in 1970 due to drug related complications.

Both Hendrix and the Rolling Stones new and inventive style of Rock N Role opened up all new darker styles of Rock such a grunge, heavy rock, and alternative rock which we have today. The freedom of these styles mirror the ever increasing desire for freedom of all things in our society and the elimination of the oppression the USA still harboured. It may be that not only did the currents in our society influence the music, but the music equally influenced our society.


1967, the outdoor Human Be-In

 On January 14, 1967, the outdoor Human Be-In organized by Michael Bowen helped to popularize hippie culture across the United States, with 20,000 hippies gathering in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. On March 26, Lou Reed, Edie Sedgwick and 10,000 hippies came together in Manhattan for the Central Park Be-In on Easter Sunday.

The Monterey Pop Festival from June 16 to June 18 introduced the rock music of the counterculture to a wide audience and marked the start of the "Summer of Love". Scott McKenzie's rendition of John Phillips' song, "San Francisco", became a hit in the United States and Europe.

The lyrics, "If you're going to San Francisco, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair", inspired thousands of young people from all over the world to travel to San Francisco, sometimes wearing flowers in their hair and distributing flowers to passers-by, earning them the name, "Flower Children". Bands like the Grateful Dead, Big Brother and the Holding Company (with Janis Joplin), and Jefferson Airplane lived in the Haight.


The 1960’s was a decade of profound social change. In this decade both the president John F Kennedy and Robert Kennedy were assassinated on the dates 1963 and 1968 respectively. The actions of both Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. lead to a modern Civil Rights movement in the 1960’s that paved the way for African American liberties and the outlaw of racial discrimination.

Unfortunately, Martin Luther King was also assassinated just months before Robert Kennedy. Also throughout the 1960’s America was involved in a very unpopular Vietnam War which lasted the entire decade, the cold war, and the very dangerous Cuban Missile Crisis. In the midst of all this social change and stress, music was being reshaped and reformed into exciting new styles.



Chuck Berry’s hit “Rock and Roll Music” claimed it was the only music to dance to, and by 1958 Danny and the Juniors asserted that rock and roll was here to stay. They were right, and their proclamation has been repeated or echoed for nearly fifty years. “Rock and Roll Is Here to Stay” became an anthem for Sha-Na-Na, and its sentiment echoes in Neil Young’s “My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue).”

The likes of The Beatles and The Beach Boys covered “Rock and Roll Music.” Peter, Paul, and Mary dug rock and roll music, Bob Seger liked old time rock and roll music, and the Arrows, Joan Jett, and Britney Spears all loved rock and roll and wanted another dime in the jukebox. Neil Young encouraged listeners to “keep on rockin’ in the free world.” Starship even went so far as claiming to have built a city on rock and roll.

Exaggerated (and shallow) as that claim may be, it helps highlight an incontrovertible fact: since the days of Alan Freed, rock and roll has become a monolithic building block for American culture, not just in the cities but, as John Mellencamp clarifies in “R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A.,” in the small towns, too. Simply put: Rock and roll extends to all fields of American culture.

We live in an age when every honky-tonk country band across the nation plays “Joy to the World,” “Sweet Home Alabama,” and “Old Time Rock and Roll”; Chet Atkins collaborates with Dire Straits’ Mark Knopfler (Neck and Neck); country music—no, American music— icon Willie Nelson records tunes with Aerosmith, Kid Rock, Keith Richards, Joe Walsh, Eric Clapton, ZZ Top, and a host of others. Bob Seger, Led Zeppelin, Bob Dylan and other icons of the sixties rock explosion sell cars, clothes, lingerie, and movies. Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young lead political protests and Bruce Springsteen and Bon Jovi have worked tirelessly to help heal the nation after the terrorist attacks of 9/11.


1967 Rolling Stones


The Rolling Stones are a British rock band that has been with us a long time by any measure, with a career now spanning five decades. The band has been entirely remarkable in its consistency and its power to continue to be relevant. On a Rolling Stones vinyl from decades ago, we perceive the sound of dynamic, hard-hitting rock, and on one of their CD offerings from modern times, virtually the same fervor. The band still easily sells out concerts on its exhaustive world tours. The expression "rock institution" occurs to one when briefly painting a verbal picture of the Stones.

Having banded together at the beginning of the 1960's, the Stones found themselves able to take advantage of the British Invasion phenomenon to gain a following worldwide. The difference between the Stones and most other groups from the British Invasion, though, was that their sonic structure, from the get-go, was heavily laden with blues and R&B. mid decade, they had moved on to a blend of primarily rock, jazz, and folk. They experimented with psychedelia for a lone record, then went back to a more blues-centered sound like they used initially, with the exception that this time country and pure rock were a greater part of the proceedings.

The blues-country-rock hybrid that the Stones took on in the late '60's lasted for several albums' worth of material up to the mid '70's. The musical movements that had become popular by the late decade, though, were a legitimate problem for the band's continuing relevancy. However, they yet again reinvented themselves by incorporating aspects of punk, disco, and reggae into their music, thereby keeping on top of the recent trends.

The middle 1980's saw some hard times for the band. The two creative forces in the group, frontman Mick Jagger and rhythm guitar man Keith Richards, experienced some creative disagreements, which ultimarely found them not communicating with each other and even creating solo records. The band did not in reality split up, however, and the solo efforts ended up only being part of a short break for them.

Following the hiatus from the road that was concurrent with the individual releases, the band began touring yet again with the release of 1989's Steel Wheels. Another three album releases came in the next two decades. None were revelatory stylistically, but all were strong, with contemporary production touches that did not eclipse the band's characteristic rough, raunchy sound.

When folks spin old Stones albums on their Rega turntables, they are hearing music that the band could have conceivably made only a handful of years ago. The Britons have had the ability to stay essentially true to form over time, never losing the essential elements that have made them unique. The group has fully cemented itself in popular culture and many followers continue to be awestruck by them. The Stones' incredible durability up to this point seems to signify them never calling it quits or moving out of the public eye.

The Rolling Stones were like many other British acts of the 1960s as they were heavily influenced by American rock 'n' roll and R&B. They were at the leading edge of the so-called British Invasion of the mid-1960s, as the Stones and contemporaries such as the Beatles, the Dave Clark Five, Gerry and the Pacemakers, the Kinks, the Animals, the Yardbirds, the Who, Herman's Hermits and the Hollies all made at least a significant showing on the charts, both in America and at home in Britain. Out of all of those groups, the Beatles, in spite of breaking up in 1970, became and still remain the most successful act in music history in terms of sales and influence.

The Rolling Stones became a constant presence that is still active today. In addition to their longevity, the Stones have had significant success on the charts in America, Britain, and around the world. There is little doubt that any act since the Beatles fails to meet the Beatles' standards, however there are few acts that meet the standards of the Stones either. For the most part, comparing the Beatles to the Stones is like comparing apples to oranges as they have different styles, with the Beatles being more influenced by early rock 'n' roll while the Stones were not only influenced by early rock 'n' roll but also by American Blues.



As noted above, the Stones and their British contemporaries were indeed influenced by early American rock 'n' roll artists such as Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly the Everly Brothers and Jerry Lee Lewis, and therefore had a foundation deeply rooted in rock 'n' roll. Once again, what made the Stones stand out from the Beatles and all of their other contemporaries, save for maybe the Yardbirds, was the fact that they were also heavily influenced by American Blues and R&B artists such as Muddy Waters, Rev. Gary Davis, Bo Diddley, Sonny Boy Williamson, Howlin' Wolf and Arthur Alexander.

A significant majority of the Stones' recordings from their first three years (1963-1965) showcased both their rock 'n' roll influences and their blues influences. As a matter of fact a great deal of their recordings from this period would be cover songs of the American Blues and R&B artists mentioned above.


1967 Rolling Stones in London


As the years went on however, the Stones added and incorporated more genres into their blues and rock 'n' roll foundation such as country, folk, baroque pop, psychedelia, adult contemporary, reggae, dub, new wave, punk and disco too name a few.

It is this characteristic of the band which has made them very successful over the years as their ability to incorporate these other genres into their repertoire has enabled them to build upon their original foundation and consequently build an enormously successful career. Artists that influenced the Stones to incorporate news genres into their sound include George Jones, Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, The Flying Burrito Brothers and Otis Redding.

Hits and popular songs over the years such as "Ruby Tuesday," "Angie," "Wild Horses," 'Tumbling Dice," "Miss You," "Paint It Black," "Sympathy For The Devil," "Start Me Up" and "Honky Tonk Women" are all indicative of their musical diversity. "Ruby Tuesday" is baroque pop; "Angie" is a 70s-style adult contemporary ballad; "Miss You" is a disco-rock fusion; "Wild Horses" and "Honky Tonk Women" have a strong country influence; "Tumbling Dice" is inflicted with gospel and soul; "Paint It Black" is eastern-tinged psychedelia; "Sympathy For The Devil" has a tribal meets rock 'n' roll sound, while "Start Me Up," although sounding like a straight-forward rocker, is in fact a reggae based track.

Even their biggest hit, "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction," is an example of the Stones building upon their foundation as it features a much harder edge than their early cover songs.



The sound of the Stones would help lay the groundwork for a diverse array of rock artists which followed them such as Aerosmith, Guns N' Roses, The Doors, The Stooges, Thin Lizzy, Oasis, Blur, The Stone Roses, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Allman Brothers, Kiss, Alice Cooper, Led Zeppelin, David Bowie, T. Rex, The Ramones, AC/DC, Creedence Clearwater Revival, New York Dolls, Def Leppard, Foreigner, Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Steve Earle, Neil Young, Elton John, The Sex Pistols, Bon Jovi and Pearl Jam--And that is just the first generation.

One must consider the number of artists that the Stones-influenced artists have influenced themselves. The only thing that is as long-lasting as the Rolling Stones themselves is without a doubt the legacy they have left and will continue to leave even after the band calls it a day. When that day comes, it will be long after most of their British Invasion contemporaries have hung it up, most of them retiring back in the '60s and '70s. As rock music has changed, and even faltered over the years, the Rolling Stones remain one of the few constants as an excellent source of entertainment.


Peter Tosh’s Arise Black Man

 

From Jamaica, reggae music has swept the world. You can hear reggae played in clubs and bars from Senegal to Samoa. Reggae songs invoke racial injustice (Peter Tosh’s “Arise Black Man”), politics (Bunny Wailer on apartheid South Africa’s prime minister, “Botha the Mosquito”), the Rastafarian religion (the Melodians’ “Rivers of Babylon”), and romance (Jimmy Cliff’s “Higher and Deeper Love”). The lyrics range from bravado (Tosh’s “I’m the toughest, I’m the toughest”) to tenderness (Bob Marley’s “Three little birds pitch by my doorstep, singing sweet songs of melodies pure and true”).


The Wailers


The Wailers, while not the first to record reggae, experimented with it early and pushed it the furthest. Starting out as a ska group, their talent initially was raw. “The Wailers weren’t singers until I taught them,” their mentor Joe Higgs recalled. “It took me years to teach Bob Marley what sound consciousness was about” (Barrow and Dalton, 2001, p. 40). All three of them—Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer, along with Marley—had grown up in Trench Town, the “concrete jungle, where the living is harder” of the Marley song.

In Trench Town, people “built shacks and huts out of cardboard and plywood and rusty old iron, and the place spread like a disease till now it’s teeming,” reports Thomas (1977, pp. 25-26). It was “a bombsite landscape of live garbage and boxwood and unlikely tropical greenery.” With lyrics like “Get up, stand up: stand up for your rights!” and “Slave driver, the table is turned” the Wailers had a message that appealed to marginalized young Jamaicans just like themselves.

According to Marley, “But it’s the rhythm now, that is reggae. Proud rhythm, man, that rhythm can’t end. It have a different touch” To meet the demand for the Jamaican sound, the sound-system owners started making recordings of their own.

To begin with they intended the recordings to be played only in their own sound systems, but by the end of the 1950s they were pressing vinyl disks for sale to the public. The systems for distributing records, formerly haphazard, became better organized at this time (Bradley, op. cit., p. 209). Earlier, records had been sold as a sideline in barber shops and bars. By the mid-1960s, just before reggae’s arrival, many small specialist record shops had opened around the country.

To meet the shops’ demands for records, entrepreneurs started distribution firms. As a result, record producers no longer needed to operate their own sound systems to create a demand for their product, but could simply sell their records via the new wholesalers and retailers. Around this time, also, the means of payment became more professional.

In the early days, producers on occasion neglected to pay the musicians. The English-Jamaican entrepreneur Chris Blackwell and others cleaned things up. Blackwell “ran his affairs much more like a business and used to pay higher rates to artists and musicians,” according to the singer Jimmy Cliff (Bradley, 2000, pp. 104, 107).

“That’s how people got to hear about Chris Blackwell. They’d say, ‘Go to the white man, him pay better money!’” Respect for intellectual property was not part of the reason for the music business’s growth: quite the contrary. Writing credits were casually assigned; a given song might at different times be credited to different writers. The rights to royalties were fuzzy. The ownership of the music was “a music publisher’s nightmare”


Liverpool of the 1960s


The Liverpool of the 1960s was a vibrant place. Throughout the 20th century this migrant city experienced dramatic economic meltdown together with all of the associated problems of long term urban neglect. Yet, paradoxically, Liverpool’s unique demographics and cultural geography also guaranteed great prosperity for some, exemplified across the city and on the Wirral peninsular by an almost impervious bourgeoisie and its accompanying fortresses of fringe suburbia.

From 1963-onward this ambiguous, ambivalent (in fact, downright confusing) scenario was supplemented by intense national (and then international) media scrutiny following the advent of ‘Merseybeat’. As the success of the Beatles and other local rock groups such as Gerry and the Pacemakers, the Swinging Blue Jeans and the Searchers intensified, so too did the glare of the media gaze, bringing national attention to a previously largely forgotten city - a positive development, one might suggest. There was, however, a downside to this renaissance. For example, by 1964, the Beatles, having already been lured away from the city, were followed by a posse of younger beat hopefuls.


Gregson’s Well pub 1960s


For most of these would-be pop stars, an encouraging light flickered only briefly and dimly in the afterglow of that first wave; soon, day jobs or unemployment called most of them back to Merseyside. It was a period of great creativity and indigenous pride, but one, also, of tremendous disappointments. Looking back, perhaps the one indisputable outcome of this adventure was a confirmation of shared separation and alienation. Certainly, complex social strategies to deal ironically with what appeared to be an increasingly ironic world were erected by many of Merseyside’s young people at that time.

The residue of these strategies still permeates Liverpool’s renowned victim culture to this day. Liverpool’s dalliance with popular music forms did not begin and end with beat music, however. It had already occurred to broadcaster and documentary maker Daniel Farson in his work Beat City (broadcast ITV, 24th December 1963), that the ‘explosion’ of music-making in and around the Liverpool of the 1960s actually had some kind of pre (or ‘ur’) history. Notwithstanding some truly phony pronouncements in Beat City, Farson identified - to his credit - a thriving folk music scene.

He focused in particular on the events at Gregson’s Well pub in Low Hill where the Spinners and Jacqui and Bridie held court. Both groups went on to enjoy international distinction as folk music interpreters par excellence (and we shall be featuring their work in volume two of this series), but, in truth, they represented only the tip of a folk music community that had evolved not only in Liverpool but in many other major cities across the UK throughout the post-WWII era.


hippie 1960s


The hippie subculture was originally a youth movement that arose in the United States during the mid-1960s, swiftly spreading to other countries around the world. The etymology of the term 'hippie' is from hipster, and was initially used to describe beatniks who had moved into New York City's Greenwich Village and San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury district. The early hippie ideology included the countercultural values of the Beat Generation. Some created their own social groups and communities, listened to psychedelic rock, embraced the sexual revolution, and used drugs such as marijuana and LSD to explore alternative states of consciousness.

In January 1967, the Human Be-In in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco popularized hippie culture, leading to the legendary Summer of Love on the West Coast of the United States, and the 1969 Woodstock Festival on the East Coast. Hippies in Mexico, known as jipitecas, formed La Onda Chicana and gathered at Avándaro, while in New Zealand, nomadic housetruckers practiced alternative lifestyles and promoted sustainable energy at Nambassa.

In the United Kingdom, mobile "peace convoys" of New age travellers made summer pilgrimages to free music festivals at Stonehenge. In Australia hippies gathered at Nimbin for the 1973 Aquarius Festival and the annual Cannabis Law Reform Rally or MardiGrass. In Chile, "Piedra Roja Festival" was held in 1970, and was the major hippie event in that country.

Hippie fashions and values had a major effect on culture, influencing popular music, television, film, literature, and the arts. Since the widespread movement in the 1960s, many aspects of hippie culture have been assimilated by mainstream society.

The religious and cultural diversity espoused by the hippies has gained widespread acceptance, and Eastern philosophy and spiritual concepts have reached a wide audience. The hippie legacy can be observed in contemporary culture in myriad forms — from health food, to music festivals, to contemporary sexual mores, and even to the cyberspace revolution.


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