Portal:1960s

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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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A square quartered into four head shots of young men with moptop haircuts. All four wear white shirts and dark coats.
The Beatles in 1964; clockwise from top left: John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, and George Harrison

The Beatles were an English rock band formed in Liverpool in 1960. The group, whose best-known line-up comprised John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, are regarded as the most influential band of all time. They were integral to the development of 1960s counterculture and popular music's recognition as an art form. Rooted in skiffle, beat and 1950s rock and roll, their sound incorporated elements of classical music and traditional pop in innovative ways; the band later explored music styles ranging from ballads and Indian music to psychedelia and hard rock. As pioneers in recording, songwriting and artistic presentation, the Beatles revolutionised many aspects of the music industry and were often publicised as leaders of the era's youth and sociocultural movements.

Led by primary songwriters Lennon and McCartney, the Beatles built their reputation playing clubs in Liverpool and Hamburg over three years from 1960, initially with Stuart Sutcliffe playing bass. The core trio of Lennon, McCartney and Harrison, together since 1958, went through a succession of drummers, including Pete Best, before asking Starr to join them in 1962. Manager Brian Epstein moulded them into a professional act, and producer George Martin guided and developed their recordings, greatly expanding their domestic success after their first hit, "Love Me Do", in late 1962. As their popularity grew into the intense fan frenzy dubbed "Beatlemania", the band acquired the nickname "the Fab Four", with Epstein, Martin and other members of the band's entourage sometimes given the informal title of "fifth Beatle". (Full article...)

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Abbey Road is the eleventh studio album by the English rock band the Beatles, released on 26 September 1969 by Apple Records. Named after the location of EMI Studios in London, the cover features the group walking across the street's zebra crossing, an image that became one of the most famous and imitated in popular music. The album's initially mixed reviews were contrasted by its immediate commercial success, topping record charts in the UK and US. The lead single "Something" / "Come Together" was released in October and topped the US charts.

The album incorporates genres such as blues, rock and pop, and makes prominent use of Moog synthesizer, sounds filtered through a Leslie speaker, and tom-tom drums. It is the Beatles' only album recorded exclusively through a solid-state transistor mixing desk, which afforded a clearer and brighter sound than the group's previous records. Side two contains a medley of shorter song fragments. The sessions also produced a non-album single, "The Ballad of John and Yoko" backed with "Old Brown Shoe". (Full article...)

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Christine Keeler, best known for her involvement in the Profumo Affair, which lead to the resignation of British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan.

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Pink Chanel suit of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

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Glenn in 1993

John Herschel Glenn Jr. (July 18, 1921 – December 8, 2016) was a United States Marine Corps aviator, engineer, astronaut, businessman and politician. He was the third American in space, and the first American to orbit the Earth, circling it three times in 1962. Following his retirement from NASA, he served from 1974 to 1999 as a Democratic United States Senator from Ohio; in 1998, he flew into space again at age 77.

Before joining NASA, Glenn was a distinguished fighter pilot in World War II, China and Korea. He shot down three MiG-15s, and was awarded six Distinguished Flying Crosses and eighteen Air Medals. In 1957, he made the first supersonic transcontinental flight across the United States. His on-board camera took the first continuous, panoramic photograph of the United States. (Full article...)

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Kubrick in 1949Stanley Kubrick Signature.svg

Stanley Kubrick (/ˈkbrɪk/; July 26, 1928 – March 7, 1999) was an American film director, producer, screenwriter, and photographer. He is frequently cited as one of the greatest filmmakers in cinematic history. His films, which are mostly adaptations of novels or short stories, cover a wide range of genres, and are noted for their realism, dark humor, unique cinematography, extensive set designs, and evocative use of music.

Kubrick was raised in the Bronx, New York City, and attended William Howard Taft High School from 1941 to 1945. He received average grades, but displayed a keen interest in literature, photography, and film from a young age, and taught himself all aspects of film production and directing after graduating from high school. After working as a photographer for Look magazine in the late 1940s and early 1950s, he began making short films on a shoestring budget, and made his first major Hollywood film, The Killing, for United Artists in 1956. This was followed by two collaborations with Kirk Douglas—the war picture Paths of Glory (1957) and the historical epic Spartacus (1960). (Full article...)

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The Graduate is a 1967 American romantic comedy-drama film directed by Mike Nichols and written by Buck Henry and Calder Willingham, based on the 1963 novel of the same name by Charles Webb, who wrote it shortly after graduating from Williams College. The film tells the story of 21-year-old Benjamin Braddock (Dustin Hoffman), a recent college graduate with no well-defined aim in life, who begins an affair with an older woman, Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft), and then becomes obsessed with her daughter Elaine (Katharine Ross).

The Graduate was released on December 21, 1967 to critical and commercial success grossing $104.9 million, becoming the highest-grossing film of 1967 worldwide. Adjusted for inflation, the film's gross is $805 million, making it the 23rd highest-ever grossing film in North America. It received seven nominations at the 40th Academy Awards including for the Best Picture and won Best Director. In 1996, The Graduate was selected for preservation in the U.S. National Film Registry as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant." It is ranked by the American Film Institute as the 17th greatest American film of all-time. (Full article...)
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