Portal:1960s
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Portal:1960s

The 1960s Portal


"The Sixties", as they are known in both scholarship and popular culture, is a term used by historians, journalists, and other objective academics; in some cases nostalgically to describe the counterculture and revolution in social norms about clothing, music, drugs, dress, formalities and schooling. Conservatives denounce the decade as one of irresponsible excess and flamboyance, and decay of social order. The decade was also labeled the Swinging Sixties because of the fall or relaxation of social taboos especially relating to racism and sexism that occurred during this time.

The 1960s became synonymous with the new, radical, and subversive events and trends of the period. In Africa the 1960s was a period of radical political change as 32 countries gained independence from their European colonial rulers.

Some commentators have seen in this era a classical Jungian nightmare cycle, where a rigid culture, unable to contain the demands for greater individual freedom, broke free of the social constraints of the previous age through extreme deviation from the norm. Christopher Booker charts the rise, success, fall/nightmare and explosion in the London scene of the 1960s. However, this alone does not explain the mass nature of the phenomenon.

Several nations such as the U.S., France, Germany and Britain turned to the left in the early and mid 1960s. In the United States, John F. Kennedy, a Keynesian and staunch anti-communist, pushed for social reforms. His assassination in 1963 was a stunning shock. Liberal reforms were finally passed under Lyndon B. Johnson including civil rights for African Americans and healthcare for the elderly and the poor. Despite his large-scale Great Society programs, Johnson was increasingly reviled by the New Left at home and abroad. The heavy-handed American role in the Vietnam War outraged student protestors across the globe, as they found peasant rebellion typified by Ho Chi Minh and Che Guevara more appealing. Italy formed its first left-of-center government in March 1962 with a coalition of Christian Democrats, Social Democrats, and moderate Republicans. Socialists joined the ruling block in December 1963. In Britain, the Labour Party gained power in 1964. In Brazil, João Goulart became president after Jânio Quadros resigned.

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The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan is the second studio album by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, released on May 27, 1963 by Columbia Records. Whereas his self-titled debut album Bob Dylan had contained only two original songs, Freewheelin represented the beginning of Dylan's writing contemporary words to traditional melodies. Eleven of the thirteen songs on the album are Dylan's original compositions. The album opens with "Blowin' in the Wind", which became an anthem of the 1960s, and an international hit for folk trio Peter, Paul & Mary soon after the release of Freewheelin. The album featured several other songs which came to be regarded as among Dylan's best compositions and classics of the 1960s folk scene: "Girl from the North Country", "Masters of War", "A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall" and "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right".

Dylan's lyrics embraced news stories drawn from headlines about the Civil Rights Movement and he articulated anxieties about the fear of nuclear warfare. Balancing this political material were love songs, sometimes bitter and accusatory, and material that features surreal humor. Freewheelin showcased Dylan's songwriting talent for the first time, propelling him to national and international fame. The success of the album and Dylan's subsequent recognition led to his being named as "Spokesman of a Generation", a label Dylan repudiated. (Full article...)

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Goldfinger is a 1964 British spy film and the third installment in the James Bond series produced by Eon Productions, starring Sean Connery as the fictional MI6 agent James Bond. It is based on the 1959 novel of the same name by Ian Fleming. The film also stars Honor Blackman as Bond girl Pussy Galore and Gert Fröbe as the title character Auric Goldfinger, along with Shirley Eaton as the iconic Bond girl Jill Masterson. Goldfinger was produced by Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman and was the first of four Bond films directed by Guy Hamilton.

The film's plot has Bond investigating gold smuggling by gold magnate Auric Goldfinger and eventually uncovering Goldfinger's plans to contaminate the United States Bullion Depository at Fort Knox. Goldfinger was the first Bond blockbuster, with a budget equal to that of the two preceding films combined. Principal photography took place from

January to July 1964 in the United Kingdom, Switzerland and the United States. (Full article...)

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Joan Baez and Bob Dylan
Credit: Rowland Scherman, USIA
American folk singers Joan Baez and Bob Dylan, performing a duet at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on , 1963. Both were relatively new recording artists at the time, with Baez being at the forefront of American roots revival and Dylan having just released his second album. Baez was especially influential in introducing audiences to Dylan's music by recording several of his early songs and inviting him onstage during her own concerts.

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The four members of The Beatles

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A colour photograph of Starr doing a peace sign wearing sunglasses and a black T-shirt.
Starr in 2019

Sir Richard Starkey (born 7 July 1940), better known by his stage name Ringo Starr, is an English musician, singer, songwriter and actor who achieved international fame during the 1960s as the drummer for the Beatles. He occasionally sang lead vocals with the group, usually for one song on each album, including "Yellow Submarine", "With a Little Help from My Friends" and their cover of "Act Naturally". He also wrote and sang the Beatles' songs "Don't Pass Me By" and "Octopus's Garden", and is credited as a co-writer of others.

Starr was afflicted by life-threatening illnesses during childhood, with periods of prolonged hospitalisations. He briefly held a position with British Rail before securing an apprenticeship as a machinist at a Liverpool equipment manufacturer. Soon afterwards, he became interested in the UK skiffle craze and developed a fervent admiration for the genre. In 1957, he co-founded his first band, the Eddie Clayton Skiffle Group, which earned several prestigious local bookings before the fad succumbed to American rock and roll around early 1958. When the Beatles formed in 1960, Starr was a member of another Liverpool group, Rory Storm and the Hurricanes. After achieving moderate success in the UK and Hamburg, he quit the Hurricanes when he was asked to join the Beatles in August 1962, replacing Pete Best. (Full article...)

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Jagger in 2014

Sir Michael Philip Jagger (born 26 July 1943) is an English singer, songwriter, actor, and film producer who has gained worldwide fame as the lead singer and one of the founder members of the Rolling Stones. Jagger's career has spanned over five decades, and he has been described as "one of the most popular and influential frontmen in the history of rock & roll". His distinctive voice and energetic live performances, along with Keith Richards' guitar style, have been the trademark of the Rolling Stones throughout the band's career. Jagger gained press notoriety for his romantic involvements and was often portrayed as a countercultural figure.

Jagger was born and grew up in Dartford, Kent. He studied at the London School of Economics before abandoning his studies to join the Rolling Stones. Jagger has written most of the Rolling Stones' songs together with Richards, and they continue to collaborate musically. In the late 1960s, Jagger starred in the films Performance (1970) and Ned Kelly (1970) to a mixed reception. He began a solo career in 1985, releasing his first album, She's the Boss, and joined the electric supergroup SuperHeavy in 2009. Relationships with the Stones' members, particularly Richards, deteriorated during the 1980s, but Jagger has always found more success with the band than with his solo and side projects. (Full article...)

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Wyman on stage in Middelburg on 27 January 2009

Bill Wyman (born William George Perks; 24 October 1936) is an English musician, record producer, songwriter and singer. He was the bassist for the English rock and roll band the Rolling Stones from 1962 until 1993. Since 1997 he has recorded and toured with his own band, Bill Wyman's Rhythm Kings. He has worked producing records and films, and has scored music for films and television.

Wyman has kept a journal since he was a child after World War II. He has published seven books. Wyman is also a photographer, and his works have been displayed in galleries around the world. He became an amateur archaeologist and enjoys metal detecting. He designed and marketed a patented "Bill Wyman signature metal detector", which he has used to find relics in the English countryside dating back to the era of the Roman Empire. (Full article...)

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