Documentary marking the year pop music and popular culture ripped up the rule book, as restless experimentation and the search for new forms of expression took hold.
Browse content similar to 1966 - 50 Years Ago Today. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!
MUSIC: Strawberry Fields Forever by The Beatles
# Let me take you down cos I'm going to
# Strawberry Fields
# Nothing is real
# And nothing to get hung about
# Strawberry Fields forever
# Living is easy with eyes closed
# Misunderstanding all you see. #
To wind up our predictions for 1966, we've been looking into what
is probably the most intriguing of all the trends.
The trend in pop music.
In 1966, everything's coming in.
It may be the year for the individual artist,
but anything with real talent, anything with real excitement,
anything with real novelty, anything with real quality,
anything that's really good of its own kind can break through.
In 1966 I think the standard of the musicianship has got to be improved
and there's definitely a jazz sound coming in.
Everybody's madly looking round for a new soloist, male of female.
Well, whilst everybody's busy looking it's just not going
to happen and something else will happen.
In 1966 it's very hard to say what's going to happen.
The Liverpool sound's right out of the ring.
If I had to put my money on any group in particular,
I'd put it on The Who because what they do is to exaggerate and
caricature everything that's gone before.
# Strawberry Fields forever
# Always know sometimes think it's me
# But you know I know when it's a dream. #
In the last two or three years, young people have been,
instead of just carrying on the way their parents told them to,
they've started a big thing where they're anti-war and they
love everybody and their sexual lives have become freer.
The kids are looking for something else,
or some different moral value because they're going to get
all the things that were thought impossible 50 years ago.
When did you first grow your hair long?
-About 18 months ago.
Cos I like long hair.
MUSIC: Get Off Of My Cloud by The Rolling Stones
# I live in an apartment on the 99th floor of my block. #
In January 1966, the Rolling Stones' Get Off Of My Cloud was still
in the top 30, three months after it was released.
With its theatrical sense of aggression, aloofness and rebellion,
its manic energy expressed the desire for something more,
for some unspecified freedom, even abandon.
The song's unstoppable momentum was a sign of the times
and of a peace with the band's career.
With their increasing record sales and fame,
the Stones were building up a wild head of steam.
This Dionysian frenzy was captured by film-maker of the moment
His cinema verite techniques made you an immediate part of the action
and party to the group's inner workings.
I just wanted to make it like he was sitting on the fence
and couldn't make up his mind between one girl or the other
and he couldn't stand sitting on the fence
because it was getting very painful.
'You listen to all popular songs ten years ago,
'very few of them actually mean anything.
'Songs didn't have any relation to what people actually spend
'their lives doing like getting up, washing, going to work,
'coming back and feeling very screwed up about certain things.'
And, um, what was the other one I wanted?
Have you got the, um, Rolling Stones' latest one?
It's 19th Nervous Breakdown.
MUSIC: 19th Nervous Breakdown by The Rolling Stones
# Centre of a crowd Talking much too loud
# Running up and down the stairs
# Well, it seems to me that you have seen too much in too few years. #
Released in the first week of February, 19th Nervous Breakdown was
the first big pop statement of the year amping up the frenzy even more.
It spoke of neurosis, disturbance and psychological complexity
hinting at darker and deeper forces beneath the shiny surface of
# Here comes your 19th nervous breakdown. #
# When you were a child you were treated kind
# But you were never brought up right
# You were always spoiled with a thousand toys
# But still you cried all night
# Your mother who neglected you owes a million dollars tax. #
The quip about nuclear annihilation from a pop group manager,
a sick joke worthy of Mad Magazine, yet symptomatic of the fact
that the bomb cast its chilling shadow over everything.
What if the nuclear button was pressed over our dead bodies
or rather over the living members of CND -
the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament?
Ban the bomb - it was music to the ears of the young protesters
on the streets and anywhere else this collective voice could
make itself heard.
Keep it coming, keep it coming.
Film director Lindsay Anderson captured the mood in The White Bus,
a surreal mystery tour written by Shelagh Delaney.
I'm glad to see a youngster turning out today.
I know you don't all spend your lives singing and dancing
and listening to records.
MUSIC: Mushroom Clouds by Love
# Mushroom clouds are forming
# And the sky is dark
# And grey. #
One certainly felt that one's days were numbered,
that there was going to be a nuclear war,
that, inevitably there would be a nuclear war.
The mere continued existence of these weapons guaranteed it
and so it seemed necessary for people who were aware of
these things to take action against all governments complicit with
the manufacture and production and threatened use of nuclear weapons.
One should be prepared to go and sit down or stand up or march,
just to cause a stir, to create a riot,
to draw attention to insist that what was happening was
immoral and criminal and vile upon a scale even worse than that of
the German death camps.
For the following 48 hours,
an estimated one third of the entire land service of Britain would
be covered by a total dose of radiation exceeding ten times
the amount needed to kill a man in the open.
For many of those within this area, who had remained even inside
the shelter of their homes, there would be death within five weeks.
A single early in the year - The Quiet Explosion by Birmingham
band The Uglys - is about the calm before the nuclear storm.
The eerie moment of anticipation between the bomb being
dropped and the impact of the shockwave,
the sound of silence before the apocalypse.
# There was even less corrosion
# Then be prepared
# For a quiet explosion
# In other lands... #
there will almost inevitably be thousands of people suffering
from many complex states of fear and shock due to the things
they've seen and the things that have happened to them.
Many of these people will probably lapse into
a state of permanent neurosis because they will totally
outnumber the psychiatric services needed to cure them.
# Winter's day in the deep and dark December
# I am alone
# Gazing from my window to the streets below
# On a freshly fallen silent shroud of snow
# I am a rock
# I am an island. #
This song by Paul Simon which Weston Gavin has just sung
is an almost clinical description of isolation.
It expresses the wish for isolation...
..while, in fact,
hiding the far greater wish to be blasted out of this isolation.
They are the kids who feel inadequate and lost, who drift,
who become semi-delinquent,
who use amphetamines, pep pills,
the famous or infamous purple hearts, to a great extent
mainly so as to kid themselves into a superman state
to hide their own inadequacy from themselves.
# From safe secluded youth into manhood's search for truth
# His mother's eyes now wet had turned to stare
# For he said, "I must be bound this day for London town." #
It is very often the undamaged - but critical of society -
young outsider who will speak for the damaged ones.
It applies to homosexuals,
who are very much a despised and outcast minority.
They are probably the only minority in this country which is not
yet equal before the law.
# And the gay parties' ease change to public lavatories
# Have turned to grey his pretty golden hair. #
The troubadours of the Middle Ages sang to win the love of a lady.
These troubadours of the 1960s sing to win your love for the unloved,
the despised, the rejected.
When one had been a refugee,
one is an outcast.
When somebody has TB, after it has healed there are scars left
which are visible to the x-ray machine.
Er, I'm no longer a refugee or an outcast
but the scars are there and outcasts have x-ray eyes.
At this distance, the heatwave is sufficient to cause melting
of the upturned eyeball, third degree burning of the skin
and ignition of furniture.
Under the table!
The blastwave from a thermonuclear explosion
has been likened to an enormous door slamming in the depths of Hell.
The only doors slamming were those in the corridors
of power at the BBC.
The War Game was banned after government intervention.
It was a BBC Wednesday play, a fiction,
but its scenario was too close to reality.
The drama begins with the supposition about the war
which was raging in Vietnam with the Americans and South Vietnamese
fighting the Communist north.
What if America's arch enemy Soviet Russia and the newly-emerging
superpower China got involved?
It could all escalate with Russia mounting
a nuclear strike on Britain, America's ally.
but it was a logic derived from an all-too-real conflict.
You can't believe that this nation
can have been forced to fight the longest war in its history
against this tiny poverty-stricken North Vietnam.
Is there any chance that you'd advocate using nuclear weapons?
Why should you guarantee the enemy freedom from any weapon?
You know in your own heart you're not going to use it,
again, with the relative strength of the two,
we don't NEED to use this weapon, I'm convinced of that,
but he should have a few dark moments during the night when
he wonders what he'd do IF you used that weapon.
For the whole world, these are the images of suffering of the 1960s.
Young Vietnamese men and women who have never known
a single day of true peace in their lifetime are already raising
a second generation that knows only war.
# Let me tell you the story of a soldier named Dan
# Went out to fight the good fight in south Vietnam. #
For the past 12 years, in ever-increasing numbers,
young Americans have shared the agony of the people of Vietnam.
With more than a million men from seven countries under arms,
it's now the biggest conflict since World War II.
A struggle to which the United States seems totally committed.
Not since the Spanish Civil War has there been a conflict that
has raised such powerful emotion throughout the world.
It's an issue that's divided family and friends
no less than statesmen and nations.
As the debate becomes daily more inflamed, it becomes daily
easier to lose sight of the military and political realities.
Above all, of the fact that it's now a big war.
# And the war drags on
# For there was no, no more world
# And the tears came streaming down
# As he lay there slowly burning
# On the ground. #
We have, of course, plans for help with various non-military aid
of various kinds.
I have reported to Parliament about the mission that went out.
I think it was a paediatric mission, a medial mission anyway, with a view
to giving help in medical services,
services with handling refugees, and questions of that kind.
But I have made it perfectly clear in Washington and repeated it many
times in the House that, for the various reasons we have given,
there is no question of our sending troops to Vietnam.
MUSIC: All Tomorrow's Parties by The Velvet Underground
# In what costume shall the poor girl wear? #
Vietnam was a conscript war.
Millions of young Americans faced the draft.
One way to dodge it was to be a college student.
You could also say you were queer,
to plead homosexuality like Iggy Pop,
or to plead insanity like Lou Reed of The Velvet Underground.
Unlike some draft dodgers, he wasn't completely faking his instability.
As a teenager, under the influence of his parents,
he'd undergone electroconvulsive therapy, ECT, shock treatment.
-What about ECT?
Can you tell me if electric shock treatment does any more than
simply shake the patient up?
Now something between the teeth.
That's to stop dislocation of the jaw.
Notice how the electrodes are placed.
Of course, we don't know how it works.
All we know is it does work quite remarkably.
I became very interested and concerned with the whole
question of what we mean by somebody being neurotic or mad,
abhorrent, psychopathic, psychotic.
And it seems to me that the society that we're constructing in the west
and in the developed countries in the east, highly-developed
technological countries in the east are on the same path.
We are constructing a society which
is inimical to human fulfilment,
to human dignity, to human need,
and, if you like, human grace.
Morgan, A Suitable Case For Treatment,
was also by the writer of In Two Minds, David Mercer.
The film is a portrait of a rebellious young artist from
a working-class background.
After his upper-class wife divorces him for a rich gallery owner,
he becomes obsessed about winning her back by any means necessary.
Even if it costs him his sanity.
Where is he?
I'll try the studio!
He's not up here.
I know where he is.
# Here it comes, here it comes
# Here it comes. #
Oh, Mr Cartwright, thank heaven I've got you.
Now listen very carefully.
I want you to give a message to Mr Henson the moment he comes in.
If Morgan kept it up, the ultimate thing to happen to him would be
that he would have a lobotomy,
which is an operation which cuts part of the brain off from
another part of the brain in order to make someone behave normally.
So what we can take that to mean is
that the normal person
has been subject to a successful social lobotomy.
It's rather like...
We know that even today that sometimes children who are
brought up to be cripples, they are deliberately crippled and stunted
in order to make money out of the state that they're in as cripples.
Well, I think that what we're doing on
a massive scale with all our children is to turn them into
intellectual and spiritual and emotional cripples.
This, according to some of the top fashion forecasters,
is what you'll look like in 1966 - providing, of course, you're female.
It's a composite photograph put together from the predictions
of a top model, a top fashion journalist and two fashion students.
And note, the knees are well and truly covered.
The face to go with this outfit belongs to model Caroline Munro.
It's just been voted the face of 1966 out of 700 girls who
competed for the title sponsored by the Evening News.
We think it's a great face, but really a continuation of 1965.
There's a definite touch of the Shrimptons about it.
Virtually no make-up except round the eyes,
emphasis here on the lower lashes.
Hair is its own browny colour and worn in the style of the 1900s.
Caroline is 16 and if you look like her, say the experts,
you have the face of 1966.
MUSIC: Sha-La-La-La-Lee by The Small Faces
# Picked her up on a Friday night
# Sha la la la lee, yeah
# I knew everything gonna be all right
# Sha la la la lee, yeah
# Sha la la la lee. #
There could only ever be one true icon and she came out of
Neasden in the early spring.
The face of 1966 was the 16-year-old Lesley Hornby.
Twiggy, as her manager and boyfriend Justin de Villeneuve called her.
It all started last January
when we went to an old friend of Justin's called Leonard,
who's got a hairdressing salon in Mayfair,
and he cut my hair very short and he got a friend of his,
Barry Lategan, to take some photos of me and Deirdre McSharry of
the Daily Express saw them and said, "Who is it?"
She phoned us up and we went along to her office and she wrote
a big article on me saying, "Twiggy, the new face of '66"
or something like that.
She stuck her neck out a bit really
and it all happened from there really.
# It felt so good when she answered me, oh, yeah
# Oh, yeah
# Oh, yeah, oh, yeah, oh, yeah
# Want to know how my story ends
# Sha la la la lee, yeah. #
Do you feel out of place as a success because you started
from ordinary working-class beginnings?
No, why should I?
Ten, 15 years ago, you might have done.
Oh, yeah, I would have done, definitely,
but I think, you know,
ten or 15 years ago I'd have never been a model
cos they were very beautiful women and I wouldn't have had
a chance, but I think the look's completely changed now.
I don't think it really matters what class or family you come from.
If you're good enough in your job, you make it anyway.
Twiggy now has a fantastic following of teenagers who identify themselves
with her because she was at school a little while ago and her
background, which is closer to them than, say, Baroness Thyssen,
who's a very successful model.
There's more of an identification and it's because of this and
what The Beatles did,
I think we can say Twiggy is a mini queen of the new social aristocracy.
# There are some things that people need. #
Sandie Shaw was another mini aristocrat
from the outskirts of London.
This time from Dagenham.
She'd had her first hit in 1964 and by 1966,
five top ten records later, she was still in her teens.
# Nothing comes easy. #
I was terribly...
bored and wanted more out of life and didn't know
how to go about it or what to do.
I didn't think I had a chance to do anything and I became very
frustrated and knotted up and all sort of bags of energy with
nothing to do with it.
I remember once, I was in a dance hall,
and there was this group on and there was the most terrible
singer singing and I turned around to my friend and said,
"Look, even me and you could do better than that".
She said, "You could anyway"
so she went up to the group and she said something in their ear.
Next thing I knew I was up on the stage singing with them.
# Tomorrow I'll see him
# Tomorrow he's arriving home after being
# Away quite some time
# And then there'll be him
# Thinking I've been loving him alone
# How can I say I don't want him to be mine? #
Sandie, you said you'd like to get married and have five children.
Does this mean that secretly you'd like to give up the business?
No, no, if I was married I just wouldn't work so much.
But you'd still work?
Yes, a little cos I'd get bored otherwise.
Between having children?
-That's the work.
-Oh, I see.
When you didn't work, when you had your three children,
when they were smaller, how did you like that?
I hate being at home all day.
Now I'm at work, I'd sooner be at work myself.
I don't get so fed up.
I was very irritable before when I was at home,
but all that's finished now.
I'm very independent now.
# I'm walkin' all around the town
# Singin' all the people down
# Talkin' around, talkin' around
# Me and my cat named Dog
# Are walkin' high against the fog
# Singin' the sun, singin' the sun
# Happy, sad and crazy wonder
# Chokin' up my mind with perpetual... #
I manage a carnival novelty shop.
I find it very interesting and you have a laugh.
# Driftin' up and down the street
# Searchin' for the sound of people. #
Can I help you, sir?
# Swingin' their feet
# Dog is a good old cat. #
There's the mustard pot.
# That's where I'm at That's where I'm at
# Happy, sad and crazy wonder. #
Women now are not only financially independent in some degree,
but are also able to do things long thought to be the prerogative
For many men there's nothing quite so masculine as the view from
behind a steering wheel,
but questions of what is masculine or feminine are less clear-cut.
Men's work and women's work have to be bargained afresh by each
partner in each marriage.
In the past, roles were clearer. Men worked, women kept house.
MUSIC: Little By Little by Dusty Springfield
# Little by little by little by little by little
# You're messing up my life Tearing me apart
# Breaking up my world and I'm giving up my heart
# Little by little by little by little. #
It's A Man's World II is one of Pauline Boty's last paintings.
She was to die of cancer in July 1966.
Since the early '60s she'd been making TV and radio appearances,
a celebrity artist.
And the Brigitte Bardot of Wimbledon as she was called
had long blurred the boundaries between art, fashion and pop.
# Little by little by little by little by little, yeah. #
-That's the finger pointing at you.
-That's Beethoven's pen.
-That's Somerset Maugham.
-I don't know who the lady peeping out of his eye is.
'I've always had very vivid dreams
'and I can remember them very, very easily.
'I've used the kind of atmosphere of my dreams in my collages.
'I think there are two things about this and one is that
'I often take the moment before something has actually happened
'and you don't know if it's going to be terrible,
'or it might be very funny.
'The other thing is that something extraordinary is actually
'happening and everyone around isn't taking any notice of it at all.'
MUSIC: Daytripper by The Beatles
The Beatles had first taken LSD the previous year,
opening up the doors of perception.
The acid took full effect as they entered the lift of the Ab Lib Club.
John and George had been given the drug by their dentist
Dr John Riley at a dinner party earlier in the evening.
# Took me so long to find out
# I found out
# Ooh, baby
# She's a big teaser
# She took me half the way there
# She's a big teaser
# She took me half the way there. #
This is a psychedelic drug.
That is a drug which expands or at least changes the consciousness.
Mescaline is another such drug.
But this is far and away the most powerful of the psychedelics.
Three drops of this colourless, odourless,
tasteless liquid would put you out of your mind for hours.
Out of your normal mind into kinds of consciousness so fantastic,
so self-revealing, so charged with emotion, that usually
the first dose is the most profound experience in our lifetime
and sometimes the most shattering.
This can be psychological dynamite.
A room at the beginning of an LSD experience may begin to undulate.
Walls may seem to be breathing in and out or to be vibrating or
to be moving like water.
Colours become more vivid.
Sometimes they begin to merge with sound and you get
a synaesthetic experience and our distinctions between seeing
and hearing and tasting and smelling dissolves
so you're not sure whether you're touching a smell or smelling a sound
or hearing a taste.
Now why are you laughing?
The microphone there.
# One pill makes you larger
# And one pill makes you small
# And the ones that mother gives you
# Don't do anything at all
# Go ask Alice
# When she's ten feet tall. #
There can be Alice in Wonderland-type
transformations whereby one feels one's getting smaller or larger
or disappearing altogether.
It makes the constancy of the body image relatively inconstant.
I beg your pardon, Your Majesty, for bringing these along
but I hadn't quite finished my tea when I was sent for.
# You just add some kind of mushroom. #
Grace Slick was in The Great Society when she recorded the first version
of the Lewis Carroll-inspired White Rabbit in San Francisco.
They and her next group, Jefferson Airplane,
were part of an emerging scene on the west coast of America.
Along with The Byrds and Love, they saw their music as
a way of expressing their LSD or psychedelic experiences.
The LSD controversy has split America with hysteria on both sides.
Black-market LSD is sold freely on every college campus
and in some high schools.
So far, it's strictly a middle-class escape hatch.
There are groups of people taking this experience regularly in
every big community and they include a high proportion of
influential, cultured, successful people.
Clinically, it works by giving the patient understanding of
their unconscious processes which are basically ground in their
Speak roughly to your little boy and beat him when he sneezes.
He only does it to annoy because he knows it teases.
Here, nurse him for a bit.
I've taken the drug myself under guidance 15 years ago
and there's no argument.
You can go right away back to your babyhood and experience fantastic
things out of your babyhood of which you are completely unconscious.
This journey inside has driven people mad, truly insane.
That's one reason for the restrictions.
A less obvious reason is authorities fear
a social nonconformism by chemical subversion.
A common and often desired result of frequent trips is less readiness
to accept the conditioned attitudes and social myth that buttress power.
Where am I?
MUSIC: Substitute by The Who
# You think we look pretty good together
# You think my shoes are made of leather
# But I'm a substitute for another guy
# I look pretty tall but my heels are high
# The simple things you see are all complicated
# I look pretty young, but I'm just back-dated, yeah
# Substitute your lies for fact
# I see right through your plastic mac
# I look all white, but my dad was black... #
# I'm a boy, I'm a boy... #
Also caters for aggression.
For example, when, for a brief period I stopped smashing guitars on
stage because it was costing a lot of money, kids started
shouting out, "Smash your guitar, Pete, smash your guitar!"
and getting quite annoyed that I wasn't.
To a large percentage of boys that come to see the group,
geezers that come to see the group,
they've come to see me hit my amplifier with my guitar
and perhaps see a guitar break, you know.
At least they want to see me try.
The fact is, our group hasn't got any quality.
It's just music sensationalism.
You do something big on the stage and 1,000 geezers sort of go, "Ah!"
Your standards, you can find them anywhere.
In the pop business we're lucky in that there are no standards.
We're more interested in production and keeping moving
and I think quality leads to a sort of statism really.
But what do you mean by that?
Well, it means that if you don't...
If you steer clear of quality, you're all right.
My personal motivation on the stage is quite simple.
It consists of a hate of every kind of pop music
and a hate of everything our group has done, really.
You get higher and higher and you are at the peak of a crescendo,
for example. Or the peak of a recording career. You find yourself
chopping away at your own legs, sort of auto-destructive music.
# Ride my bike across the street
# Cut myself and see my blood
# I wanna come home all covered in mud
# I'm a boy, I'm a boy But my ma won't admit it
# I'm a boy, I'm a boy, I'm a boy
# I'm a boy, I'm a boy, I'm a boy I'm a boy, I'm a boy, I'm a boy
# I'm a boy. #
The auto-destructive artist Gustav Metzger,
who'd influenced The Who's Pete Townshend as an art student,
was one of the chief organisers of the Destruction in Art Symposium.
This series of exhibitions,
events and happenings in London took place over several days.
It attracted avant-garde artists from all over the world,
including the Viennese Actionists,
whose performances with dead sheep and humans smeared with entrails
led to a charge of staging "a lewd and indecent exhibition".
Yoko Ono, whose association with Fluxus,
a group of American Neo-Dadaists, performed Cut, during which
she invited members of the audience to come up on stage and...cut.
Audience participation, confrontation,
the idea of devising situations to upset convention and change
the world, this was the aesthetic of the Happening which dissolved
the distinction between painting, sculpture, theatre, film,
music and dance.
The idea was a total environment, where the senses were assaulted,
deranged and transformed like a drug experience.
This was the approach of Andy Warhol's Factory house band,
the Velvet Underground who, as part of the Exploding Plastic Inevitable,
participated in "Happenings" rather than simply playing concerts.
Lighting the touchpaper for a disco inferno.
# Meeting people on my way
# Seemingly I've known one day
# Familiarity of things
# That my dreaming always brings
# Happenings ten years' time ago
# Situations we really know
# But the knowing is in the mind
# Sinking deep into the well of time
# Sinking deep into the well of time... #
-They think it's all over. It is now.
# I hear the sound of distant drums
# Far away, far away... #
As a reflection of record sales,
the charts gave back a split image.
The more pop pushed the boundaries, the greater the resistance.
Jim Reeves' Distant Drums was the British number one for five weeks in
the autumn, slowing everything down.
# So, Mary, marry me
# Let's not wait
# Let's share all the time we can
# Before it's too late... #
You've gone a long way from
I Want To Hold Your Hand to Eleanor Rigby.
What direction are you trying to move your music?
We're just trying to move it in a forward direction and this is
the point, this is why we are getting in all these messes
with saying things.
Because, you know, we're just trying to move forward.
The sleeves of the Beatles' American compilation album,
Yesterday And Today,
were deemed too disturbing by their record company and pulped.
Buried in a swampy landfill in Pennsylvania.
But it was only the start of their troubles.
John Lennon had compared the Beatles' popularity
to that of Jesus Christ.
The Beatles were picketed in Japan,
they were thrown out of the Philippines
and now they are being banned in America.
Is this the end of The Beatles?
-They are going to be executed.
-What do you mean?
-They are going to have their heads taken off.
-What, all of them?
-Yes, the whole lot.
-Do you mind being asked questions about Vietnam?
Does this seem useful?
It seems a bit silly to be in America and for none of them to
mention Vietnam, as if nothing was happening.
-Hold your tongue.
You can't just keep quiet about anything that's going on in
the world, unless you are a monk. Sorry, monks, I didn't mean it!
I meant, actually...
The Klan has taken issue with The Beatles on the remarks they made
But wasn't it their remarks about civil rights and colour that
-annoyed you more, really?
-I don't have any knowledge of...
It is hard for me to tell through the mop-heads and all of
that conglomeration that they have
whether they are even white or black themselves -
I couldn't prove to you whether they are white or black.
# Winchester Cathedral
# You're bringing me down
# You stood and you watched as... #
I'm told that some of these motifs,
the designs don't sell so well.
-And yet, others sell like hot cakes. Why?
-The slightly kinky ones.
-Lots of straps.
-Oh, the lady with the straps all over her bust, yes.
Time is elastic - forwards and backwards.
The vogue for Victoriana and Edwardiana was part of
a more pervasive retro culture,
the sort of recycling of the past found in Winchester Cathedral.
This was a huge hit on both sides of the Atlantic for
the New Vaudeville Band,
and their gentle pastiche of the 1920s jazz age.
But some retro wasn't at all nostalgic,
more a dandified gesture of reappropriation.
We own the past now and can do what we like with it.
The pillaging started when Mick Jagger wore a Grenadier Guards
jacket on Ready Steady Go.
It was Jagger being tongue-in-cheek, a bit camp, anti-authoritarian.
But doing so in militaria, the body armour of authority.
Then the shop he'd bought the jacket from, which was called
I Was Lord Kitchener's Valet, couldn't sell them fast enough.
# I feel good
# I knew that I would, now
# I feel good
# I knew that I would, now
# So good, so good, I got you... #
You didn't hear much James Brown, Wilson Pickett
and Otis Redding on national radio. That is, the BBC and nothing but.
Black American acts had been in the charts before but their
growing dominance during 1966 owed a lot to pirate radio stations,
rebelling against the BBC and government broadcasting controls.
They played the sort of pop music your parents didn't like
and a lot of soul,
including new American releases not yet available in British shops.
# I can't get no satisfaction
# I can't get no, no satisfaction... #
Why is soul music the biggest thing there is in England now?
In your opinion.
Well, I think they want to make a little change or something
and hear some of the soul music.
ITV's Ready Steady Go shared the pirate sensibility.
Its weekly transmission with the liberating catchphrase
"the weekend starts here" invited you into
a club where you could dance and be part of the in-crowd.
It wasn't exclusive - more like a cult with a mass audience.
# I'll be there... #
Otis Redding, like James Brown,
had a whole Ready Steady Go devoted to him.
The first such special had been in 1965,
when Dusty Springfield showcased the Motown label,
helping to spark off the invasion of the British charts by
the Supremes, Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, the Miracles,
Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye and the Temptations.
But the biggest black American success of the year was
the Four Tops with the Motown blockbuster
Reach Out I'll Be There.
-# Reach out for me
# Reach out for me
# I'll be there
# To love and comfort you
# And I'll be there
# To cherish and care for you... #
Tiles, Oxford Street, London.
Although Otis Reading performed there and The Animals did
so on its opening night, it was the discotheque element,
the records played by house DJs like Jeff Dexter that enabled this
new soul music to find its dedicated audience of dancers.
They were young, and for the American writer Tom Wolfe when
he visited this early disco, they typified a whole social shift.
# And through your tears you look around
# But there's no peace of mind to be found
# I know what you're thinking
# You're a loner, no love of your own, but darling
# Reach out
# Come on, girl Reach out for me
# Reach out
# Just look over your shoulder
# I'll be there to give you all the love you need. #
Some time ago, we discussed a letter from a girl
who wanted to come to London and was wondering what kind
of accommodation she should expect and how to get it.
We had so many follow-up letters after that, we decided to look
a little more closely into the accommodation situation here.
London is a vast and lonely city, and demand for any kind of
accommodation is greater than supply.
There seem to three common ways to set up house.
The furnished bedsit, and the furnished or unfurnished flat,
Marion Harrison, for instance,
shares a double bedsit in Hampstead with a fellow Liverpudlian.
Rent divided between them comes to £3.12s.6d each.
The girls wash in the kitchen sink.
The bathroom and toilet are in the basement.
The most difficult part about it if we want to have boyfriends in
and we want to be on our own with a boyfriend,
the other one has to go out.
Elaine West is 23, a nurse.
She shares this ground floor flat in Westbourne Park, North London,
with three other girls. That means they each pay £2.12s.6d.
The flat is completely self-contained with two rooms,
kitchen, bathroom and separate toilet.
I have in the past asked the landlord, or several times, to
fix things, but it's very difficult to get hold of him.
I've rung his number numerous times and got a very efficient secretary
who said, "Oh, yes, leave your number and he'll ring you back."
But I've had no joy with this.
He doesn't seem to ring back and you ring again and again and
# There's a crack up in the ceiling
# And the kitchen sink is leaking
# Out of work and got no money
# A Sunday joint of bread and honey... #
The Kinks' Dead End Street paints
a bleak picture, but with a zany satiric humour.
Dismissed as "sick" by
a Top Of The Pops producer in November,
the single's promotional film was banned by the BBC.
# The rent collector's knocking, trying to get in... #
Ray Davies said that he wanted to write a depression song at a time
when the country was still suffering under the government's imposition of
a wages and prices freeze, a major blip in the '60s economic boom.
# People are living in dead end street. #
Dead End Street echoed what writers and directors
were regularly doing on TV.
The Wednesday Play in particular
often focused on controversial issues.
With the most powerful medium of the day concentrated
into only three channels, you could address the nation.
# I think I'm going back... #
Written by Jeremy Sandford,
no drama ever had the impact of Cathy Come Home.
The whole country talked about it the following day.
A huge TV event which led to the setting up of the homelessness
It begins romantically enough,
enhanced by the casting of Carol White, a star,
and another Brigitte Bardot -
in her case, the Bardot of Battersea.
She could be in a boy-meets-girl pop song, but it soon
begins to sound more like something Ray Davies might have written.
-That was through the radioactive dust, was it?
There's 200,000 more families in the London area
than there are homes to put them.
And in addition, there's 60,000 single persons living
without sinks or stoves. In seven central London boroughs,
at least one in 10 of all household is overcrowded.
That is to say, living more than 1.5 people per room.
-Is your room still to let?
-No, is it still in that place?
Yes, it is.
Well, you know,
it'll be a week tomorrow since I told them to take it out.
A few years back,
figures released by the LCC revealed that families of certain sizes
at the rate of building in force
would be 350 years on the housing list before they were offered
Birmingham, 39,000 families on the waiting list, Leeds, 13,500.
After Cathy's husband Reg has an accident at work
and eventually loses his job, things quickly spiral.
Unemployment, eviction, homelessness,
breakdown of the marriage.
Eventually, the children are taken into care.
The drama was produced by Tony Garnett and shot by
its director Ken Loach like a documentary.
Its voiceovers like placards in Agitprop theatre
or banners on a left-wing demo.
These people are casualties of the welfare state.
Perhaps the worst casualties of all.
They are pushed around like so much human litter
and nobody will help them.
Originally, homelessness was regarded as
a passing post-war phase,
but the problem now appears to be with us for the foreseeable future.
You're not having my kids!
You're not having them!
BABY CRIES, SHE SCREAMS
# Tell me a story about how you adore me
# Live in the shadow See through the shadow
# Live through the shadow Tear at the shadow
# Hate in the shadow
# And love in your shadowy life
# Have you seen your lover, baby, standing in the shadow?
# Has he had another baby, standing in the shadow?
# Baby, where have you been all your life?
# Talking about all the people
# Who would try anything twice
# Have you seen your mother, baby, standing in the shadow?
# Have you had another baby, standing in the shadow?
# You take your choice at this time
# The brave old world or a slide
# To the depths of decline. #
In late 1966, British pop was juddering to a halt.
After their bitter experiences in America and the Far East in
late summer, The Beatles would never tour again.
Through out the autumn, they did a disappearing act,
like the Cheshire Cat, conspicuous by their absence.
It felt like they had left a vacuum, an empty stage, but not for long.
# I, I love the colourful clothes she wears
# And the way the sunlight plays upon her hair... #
Clamouring to fill the situation vacant was a new kind of pop group -
or rather band - noted for sheer musical ability and showmanship.
Towards the end of the year,
The Jimi Hendrix Experience and Cream released chart singles.
But it was a Californian pop group who dominated the charts with
their number-one hit Good Vibrations.
The Beach Boys were reinventing themselves as craftsmen.
Good Vibrations was at that point the most expensive single ever made.
It was highly wrought and technological,
built up of complex sound layers.
Its mastermind Brian Wilson saw the studio as the future.
And so did The Beatles.
By the end of the year,
not only had they recorded Strawberry Fields Forever,
they had also begun to record
Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band -
an album, of course, they would never perform live.
-Can I ask you a few questions?
Do you think the tours, like the American tours,
are you fed up of being Beatles and Beatlemania?
The thing is, we can't do a tour like we've been doing all
these years because our music's progressed,
we've used more instruments.
It'd be soft, us going on stage the four of us and trying
to do the records we've made with orchestras and bands and things.
If we went on stage,
we'd have to have a whole line-up of men behind us.
Are you getting bored of being The Beatles after all this time?
I'm having a great time.
Merry Christmas to you.
Long time since I've seen you.
What sort of people live about here?
(In that direction lives a Hatter,
(and in that direction lives a March Hare.
(They're both mad.)
But I don't want to go among mad people.
(Oh, you can't help that.
(We're all mad here.
(I'm mad. You're mad.)
(By the by, what became of the baby?
(I'd nearly forgotten to ask.)
It turned into a pig.
(I thought it would.)
(Did you say pig, or fig?)
I said pig.
Jonathan Miller's masterpiece Alice in Wonderland
was broadcast by the BBC on 28th December.
1966 was the last year singles would outsell albums
and progressive pop, as it was called at the end of the year,
would soon be known as rock.
The world of pop music would never be the same again.
Based on Jon Savage's book 1966: The Year the Decade Exploded, Arena marks the year pop music and popular culture ripped up the rule book in articulate, instinctive and radical new ways.
This was the year of Jonathan Miller's Alice in Wonderland, Morgan - A Suitable Case for Treatment, and the year that Strawberry Fields Forever was recorded. Television was still in black and white, but the world outside was bursting with colour and controversy. In America, in London, in Amsterdam, in Paris, revolutionary ideas slow-cooking since the late 1950s reached boiling point. In popular culture and the mass media, 1966 was a year of restless experimentation and the search for new forms of expression - particularly in pop music.
Written by Savage and director Paul Tickell, Arena's film takes viewers back to that moment in a vivid celebration of the music, films and TV that shaped the 1960s.
Part of the BBC Music: My Generation season.