And let's not forget the Fads of the 60s
It was a decade that was ruled by the young. Hey, the post
World War II Baby Boom had created 70 million teenagers they dictated the
fashion, the fads and the politics of the decade.
In California surfers took to skateboards, because even back
then they were body and health conscious in California. Skateboards like
surfing was away to stay fit, when not surfing. By 1963, the fad had spread
across the country.
Barbie dolls, were introduced by Mattel in 1959. Hasbro also
came up with G. I. Joe, 12 inches tall and the first action figure for boys.
Slot cars overtook toy trains in popularity.
Our look in the 60s
Fellows had crew cuts and bouffant hairstyles for the
Knee-length dresses were required wear for women in most
public places. By the middle of the 60s, miniskirts or hot pants, often worn
with go-go boots, were revealing legs, body wear was revealing curves, and
women's hair was either very short or long and lanky. Think of the
musical Hair and you will get a very good idea of this time. Remember the song by the Cowsills (ah yes, I just dated myself).
Even the guys had longer hair, along with beards and
moustaches. We are talking men's clothes were bright colors, double-breasted
sports jackets, polyester pants suits with Nehru jackets, and turtlenecks
Toward the end of the 60s ties were up to 5" wide, and
patterned even when worn with stripes. The ladies wore peasant skirts or
granny dresses and chunky shoes. Unisex dressing was popular. Think of bell
bottomed jeans, love beads, and embellished t-shirts and you had the look.
In the news and events
1961 - Peace Corps created by Pres.
1963 - Martin Luther King delivers his I have a dream speech
1963 - Pres. John F. Kennedy is assassinated in Dallas, Texas
1963 - Lyndon Johnson becomes President of the United States
The Civil Rights movement made great
changes in society in the 1960's.
The Presidential Commission of the
Status of Women (1963) gave us some disturbing facts about a women's place in our
society. Betty Friedan, Pauli Murray and Gloria Steinem, (National
Organization of Women) gave birth
to Women's Lib, and the "glass ceiling."
The birth control pill became widely
available and abortion for cause was legalized in Colorado in 1967. Also in 1967,
both abortion and artificial insemination became legal in some states.
The Supreme Court decided in Engel v.
Vitale, 370 U.S. 421, 1962, that prayer in the public schools was
As the 60's progressed, many young
people turned from mainstream religions to mystic eastern religions such as
Transcendental Meditation (Maharishi Mahesh Yogi) or Zen Buddhism.
The hippie movement endorsed drugs,
rock music, mystic religions and sexual freedom. They opposed violence. Four
hundred thousand (400,000) young people gathered in a spirit of
love and sharing, at The Woodstock Festival which represents the pinnacle of the hippie movement. Many
hippies moved to Haight Ashbury in San Francisco, East Village in New York
City, or lived in communes.
In 1962, a spy plane identified long
range missiles in Cuba. President John F. Kennedy readied troops to invade
Cuba, and the Soviet Union prepared to fire at US cities if we made a move.
The United States sent military
advisors and then soldiers, to prevent communist North Vietnam from
overtaking South Vietnam. The war wasn't in the mainstream until 1965, when massive troop
buildups were ordered to put an end to the conflict. The draft was
accelerated and anti-war sentiment grew in the US. College students
organized anti-war protests, many dodged the draft by fleeing to Canada. There were
reports of soldiers ignoring those in authority and shooting
their officers rather than follow orders. President Johnson was blamed by many for the
war and the racial unrest in the country. He did not run for re-election in
1968. John Kennedy's brother, Robert campaigned for the nomination for
President and unfortunately he was killed. Both Malcolm X and Martin
Luther King were also assassinated. Malcolm X in 1965 and
Martin Luther King in 1968.
In the Space Race, begun by the Soviets in 1957, Alan
Shepard, was the first American in space in 1961. John Glenn was the
first American to orbit the earth in 1963. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin,
in Apollo XI, were the first men to walk on the moon in 1969.
In 1965 cigarette manufacturers were
required by the Surgeon General, who determined that smoking was a
health hazard, to place warnings on all packages and in all ads.
Dr. Denton Cooley implanted the first
artificial heart in a human. It kept the patient alive for three days until
a human heart could be transplanted. People became more concerned with their health and their environment. Rachel
Carson's Silent Spring awakened the environmental movement and the Sierra
Club gained a following. Ralph Nader's book, Unsafe at any Speed, led to the
The decade in MUSIC
In 1960, Elvis returned rom the US Army and back into music. He joined top
charters: Bobby Darin, Neil Sedaka, Jerry Lee Lewis, Paul Anka, Del Shannon and Frankie Avalon.
However, change was in the air. The Tamla Motown Record Company came on the
scene. Their specialty was rhythm and blues. They were aided by the emergence of
female groups such as Gladys Knight and the Pips, Martha and the Vandellas,
the Supremes, and Aretha Franklin, as well as the male counterparts, including
Smoky Robinson, James Brown, Jimi Hendrix, and the Temptations.
A folk music revival was helped by Bob Dylan
Joan Baez and Peter,
Paul & Mary. As for those in high school, the appeal came in the
form of The Beach Boys.
The Beatles, from England had innovative
rock music that appealed to all ages. The Righteous Brothers were a popular
white duo who used African American styling to create a distinctive sound.
In the mid-1960's the music was heavily
influcenced by the drug scene. Acid Rock, highly amplified and improvisational, and the
more mellow psychedelic rock gained prominence. The Beatles turned to
acid rock and their audience narrowed to the young. Jefferson Airplane and the
Grateful Dead grew out of the counterculture in 1967. The musical phenomena
of the decade was Woodstock, a three day music festival that drew 400,000
hippies and featured peace, love, and happiness...and LSD. Folk music
contributed to the counterculture.
A major change in serious music was
marked by the modular synthesizer (aka moog synthesizer), developed in 1960 by Robert
Moog and Donald Buchla. Innovative composers were already
experimenting with electro-acoustic music. Computers were used in
music composition and sound synthesis, notably Max Mathews' Music IV and
Music V. By the end of the decade, popular
music was also using synthesizers and other electronic devices.