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, this album 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. It opens with "Blowin' in the Wind", which became an anthem of the 1960s, and an international hit for folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary soon after the release of the album. 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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Water on Tratinska and Kranjčevićeva Street, Trešnjevka
Water on Tratinska and Kranjčevićeva Street, Trešnjevka

On 25 October 1964, a devastating flood of the River Sava struck Zagreb, Socialist Republic of Croatia, Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (today the capital of Croatia). High rainfall upriver caused rivers and streams in the Sava catchment basin to swell and spill over their banks in many places throughout Slovenia and northern Croatia. The worst of the flooding occurred in Zagreb. Sava floods were a known hazard in the city, having affected the development of the area since the Roman times, and the 1964 flood did not have the largest extent. However, it occurred following several decades of large-scale industrialisation and urban growth which had caused the city to expand into the most flood-vulnerable areas. The quality of building construction and flood defences in the floodplain was mostly low. Regulation of the Sava and its tributaries upriver from Zagreb cut off many natural detention basins, such as fields and pastures, which caused water to pile up ahead of the city. To make matters worse, the soil was already saturated from a mid-month episode of fairly high rainfall. A second episode of high rainfall, during 22–25 October upriver in Slovenia, produced a record-high water wave in the Sava. At Zagreb's Sava River gauge, the water crested at 514 cm (16 ft 10 in) above zero level, exceeding the previous high water mark by more than half a metre (2 ft). This proved too much for the city's embankments. Around 60 km2 (23 sq mi) of the city was flooded, including most neighbourhoods on the western side of the floodplain.

The worst-stricken areas were the working-class suburbs of Trnje and Trešnjevka. A network of arterial roads raised on small embankments failed to hold the water. In some areas single-storey houses were submerged whole. The onset of the flood was quick, the warnings came late and the intensity and height of the flood was not communicated to the residents in time. Many were unable to save their belongings and ended up stranded in attics and on the rooftops. The brunt of the flood lasted from 25 to 28 October as the water progressed through the city from west to east, mostly on the more populous left (northern) bank. The neighbourhoods on the right bank only saw groundwater flooding for the most part. The railway embankment and sandbag dykes successfully protected the northern and eastern part of the floodplain, and Donji grad and much of Peščenica were spared. A total of 17 people died in the flood. The living quarters of 183,000 people were flooded; 40,000 of these lost their homes. The damage was estimated to 160 billion Yugoslav dinars, or, alternatively, over US$100 million. (Full article...)
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Civil Rights Act of 1964
United States President Lyndon B. Johnson (seated) signs the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a landmark piece of legislation that outlawed racial segregation in schools, public places, and employment. Among the guests behind him is Martin Luther King Jr. (directly behind and to the right of Johnson).

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Tents in Resurrection City in Washington, D.C.

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"Hey Jude" is a song by the English rock band the Beatles that was released as a non-album single in August 1968. It was written by Paul McCartney and credited to the Lennon–McCartney partnership. The single was the Beatles' first release on their Apple record label and one of the "First Four" singles by Apple's roster of artists, marking the label's public launch. "Hey Jude" was a number-one hit in many countries around the world and became the year's top-selling single in the UK, the US, Australia and Canada. Its nine-week run at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 tied the all-time record in 1968 for the longest run at the top of the US charts, a record it held for nine years. It has sold approximately eight million copies and is frequently included on music critics' lists of the greatest songs of all time.

The writing and recording of "Hey Jude" coincided with a period of upheaval in the Beatles. The ballad evolved from "Hey Jules", a song McCartney wrote to comfort John Lennon's young son Julian, after Lennon had left his wife for the Japanese artist Yoko Ono. The lyrics espouse a positive outlook on a sad situation, while also encouraging "Jude" to pursue his opportunities to find love. After the fourth verse, the song shifts to a coda featuring a "Na-na-na na" refrain that lasts for over four minutes. (Full article...)

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Richards in 2018
Richards in 2018

Keith Richards (born 18 December 1943), often referred to during the 1960s and 1970s as Keith Richard, is an English musician and songwriter who has achieved international fame as the co-founder, guitarist, secondary vocalist, and co-principal songwriter of the Rolling Stones. His songwriting partnership with Mick Jagger is one of the most successful in history. His career spans over six decades, and his guitar playing style has been a trademark of the Rolling Stones throughout the band's career. Richards gained press notoriety for his romantic involvements and illicit drug use, and he was often portrayed as a countercultural figure.

Richards was born in and grew up in Dartford, Kent. He studied at the Dartford Technical School and Sidcup Art College. After graduating, Richards befriended Jagger, Bill Wyman, Charlie Watts, and Brian Jones and joined the Rolling Stones. As a member of the Rolling Stones, Richards is the only member, aside from Jagger, to sing lead on some Stones songs. Richards typically sings lead on at least one song a concert, including "Happy", "Before They Make Me Run", and "Connection". Outside of his career with the Rolling Stones, Richards has also played with his own side-project, The X-Pensive Winos. He also appeared in three Pirates of the Caribbean films as Captain Teague, father of Jack Sparrow, whose look and characterisation was inspired by Richards himself. (Full article...)

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Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, known simply and more commonly as Dr. Strangelove, is a 1964 black comedy film that satirizes the Cold War fears of a nuclear conflict between the Soviet Union and the United States. The film was directed, produced, and co-written by Stanley Kubrick and stars Peter Sellers, George C. Scott, Sterling Hayden, and Slim Pickens. The film was made in the United Kingdom. The film is loosely based on Peter George's thriller novel Red Alert (1958).

The story concerns an unhinged United States Air Force general who orders a first strike nuclear attack on the Soviet Union. It separately follows the President of the United States, his advisors, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and a Royal Air Force (RAF) exchange officer as they attempt to prevent the crew of a B-52 plane (who were following orders from the general) from bombing the Soviets and starting a nuclear war. (Full article...)
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