Ah yes, the 1960’s, I was 4 years old when the decade started, 14 when it finished, I grew up though one of the most influential, uniquely evolving decades known to man, in England when that decade started we had only just rid ourselves of wartime rationing, hardly anyone had a phone in their house, in the street I lived in only 10% of the householders had a car and the most exciting place I had ever been to was Scarborough. By the end of the 1960s you could reverse all of those statistics on their head and I fully expected to be at least taking my holidays on the moon by now if not actually living there.
Musically the 1960s erupted on the social conscience like an unannounced atomic explosion in a large Japanese city in 1945, and its effects were no less instant and dramatic, in the first weeks of 1960 the British popular music chart was dominated by The Mike Sammes Singers and Anthony Newley, think “square” with a capital “S”, think of your grandparents and the sort of music they play when they think no-one is listening – thats the sort of tosh that was selling in millions in record shops in this country at the start of the 1960s.
By the end of the 60s we had witnessed, and some of us grew through our most formative years with the original “Britpop” music groups, how many examples do you need, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who, the list is endless, suffice to say that by the time 1969 came to an end we had The Archies and Rolf Harris at number one in the pop music charts, yes, we had indeed come full circle.
So let us tarry for a while and wallow in a mudhole of glorious nostalgia, let us feature every Sunday morning just one random aspect of 1960s popular music and what better place to start than The Walker Brothers, two individuals from California forged together in 1965 with the express intention of flying to London and joining the “Swinging Scene” (which didn’t mean then what it means now), in this video they perform “The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore” in a 1965 edition of the German “Beatclub”, days in which every young man seemed able to wear “hipster” pants tailored to mould your every manly contour in the downstairs department, able to carry off that look because anyone with a waist size over 32″ was clearly a porker, probably had a butcher as a father and had not felt the previous decade of rationing at all, truth is those fashions looked good because most everyone was as thin as a rake and not yet exposed to the phenomena of eating a diet of fat constantly through the day.
Strange to think that the likes of Gary Walker (left) would not be admitted to most workplaces or public houses in 1965 for he audaciously wore just a pullover with no shirt or tie on underneath, unheard of in normal life, “bloody scruffy hippy” my father would have called him, and with hair over their ears like that no employer would have taken them seriously – lets not pretend that the “Swinging Scene” of 1965 ever percolated down into normal life for it did not, this kind of look was strictly for the TV and for the very staid newspapers of the day to ridicule, the following year one 10 year old girl at my school was sent home with a very strict letter from the Headmistress informing her parents that her mind was being corrupted by an older sister who had permitted the 10 year old to wear a set of beads around her neck that definitely had hippy influences, something that just couldn’t be permitted at Cookridge County Primary.