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Describe popular culture in Britain at the beginning of the 1960's.

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THE 1960'S "Strange memories on this nervous night in Las Vegas. Five years later? Six? It seems like a lifetime, or at least a main era - the kind of peak that never comes again. San Francisco in the middle Sixties was a very special time and place to be a part of. Maybe it meant something. Maybe not in the long run, but no explanation, no mix of words or music or memories can touch that sense of knowing that you were there and alive in that corner of time and the world. Whatever it meant." Hunter S Thompson Essay Questions 1. Describe popular culture in Britain at the beginning of the 1960's. In this essay, while completing the task of describing the popular culture in the 1960's, I hope to cover four main aspects or factors; Pop music, Radio, television and film, Fashion and Changes in society. The 1960's is considered by many to be the best decade in living memory, which is understandable, the world had not long recovered from the shattering effects of two World Wars and was now enjoying a new enlightened period of higher independence and liberty. The Sixties are also considered, generally by older generations, to be one of the most turbulent and disruptive decades of the century. Both of these different opinions of the 1960's would have been determined, in some way, by the music that inhabited those unique ten years... In the late 1950's and early Sixties America dominated the music industry; the British music scene, while established (Cliff Richard, Tommy Steele, etc.), tended to imitate American trends and styles. In the mid-fifties a breakthrough in music technology (the seven-inch single) exposed a higher multitude of people to the musical culture due to its affordability, and versatility to requirements. If you could not afford a seven-inch single then establishments often sold them second hand after they had been played on a jukebox system. ...read more.


Throughout the decade lyrics, along with the performers, became more and more wild. Bands such as the Beatles and The Rolling Stones became to be seen as affiliates of Britains problematic alternative underground and in some cases they were perceived as the root of this scene... Macmillan's 'wind of change' had certainly blown by the middle of the 1960's. The new teenage music scene had affected everyone in Britain, for better or for worse the Mods and Rockers and Beatniks and Hippies were here to stay. 3. To some people the 1960s were the best of times, to others it was a period when many things went wrong in society. Why so people have such different ideas about the 1960s? In order to determine a conclusion to the above question I will examine three main factors in this essay, these will be Generation gap, Liberalism and Changes in law and society. I think that people's opinions about the Sixties usually depend on their age during them... The generation gap in the 1960' became very significant as the decade progressed, the people of the older generation, the authority figures, the mothers and the fathers, were of a period of order and restriction. They had been raised under traditional Victorian ideals, while the younger generation, the adolescents of the Sixties were being raised in an era of change and new heightened freedom and independence. They had more money and were more intellectual than past generations of youths this meant that they demanded more opportunities and began to 'attack the Establishment'. The younger generation of the Sixties are the people who now look back and are fond of their memories of the decade, because they enjoyed it's aura of change and revolution. The people who reflect upon the Sixties as an attack on British society are the elder generation of the 1960's, they were the Establishment and they had to watch as their established values and ideals were swept away by the emancipation of youth... ...read more.


Source G says Joplin was a rebellious teenager who rose to prominence trough vocal talent and finally died in 1970 from overuse of drugs, a habit that is evident throughout her life. It could be interpreted that if a drug-abusive, rebellious individual could become a celebrity in the 1960's then that era, a period that to an extent tolerated substance experimentation, had a negative effect on society. The fact that Joplin died from a narcotic over-dose only add weight to the previous statement. I think examining the changes in social groups is a helpful method of understanding the title question; the Sixties saw many rebellious and anti-authoritative social typecasts be born. Mods, Rockers, Beatniks and Hippies all questioned approved values and ideals; they experimented and demanded more freedom. Established authorities disliked these groups and wished them to conform, this accounts for some people's view of the Sixties as a period of turbulence in British society. 5. Study all of the sources. 'Popular culture in the 1960s did more harm than good.' Use the sources and your own knowledge to explain whether you agree with this view. The popular culture of the 1960s was both damaging and constructive to different groups of people. As has been already examined in this coursework the damaging or constructive effects of the pop culture were fundamentally linked to the elder and younger generations respectively. The adolescent generation of the Sixties, as a collective body, took drugs and were sexually promiscuous these were probably direct results of the popular culture condoning such activities through channels such as lyrics in music. These were some of the problems of the 1960's for some people, whereas they almost certainly weren't for other groups of people, mainly the participants. It is hard to gauge as to whether the 1960's did more harm than good as a lot of positive and negative things happened in the decade. The only certain conclusion, regardless as to whether the 1960's were harmful or not, is that the revolution that occurred in the 1960's was inevitable and had to manifest in Britain at some time, sooner or later. ...read more.

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