Pop Culture And Music: 1960s Britain

In a few years between 1960 and 1964, everything changed for young people in Britain. Teenagers were recognised as an emerging social class with some spending power and influence, and pop music replaced traditional band music as the choice for most people under 25. With the music came new dances, rebellious attitudes, and fashion statements. Sides were chosen, and young people dressed to show their affiliations to one kind of music or another.

The once-famous Chris Barber band and their singer posing for a publicity photo at the Marquee Club in London, 1960. It would not be too long before they would have trouble getting work performing to young people.

Young people ‘Jiving’ at the Lyceum Ballroom in London, 1960. This building is once again a theatre, and hosts the long-running musical, The Lion King.

Teddy Boys posing on a London Street. They preferred Rock and Roll music, and later allied with ‘Rockers’, who rode powerful motorcycles and liked the same style of music.

Then the ‘Mods’ arrived. Smart dressers who rode Italian scooters and liked Soul music and Ska.

One young model showing off Mod clothes here (light couloured suit) is Marc Bolan, later famous as the singer in T-Rex.

It wasn’t long before The Mods and The Rockers were clashing. They used to congregate at seaside resorts close to London, and had many famous ‘battles’ on the beaches.

These young middle-class people are showing off what they believe to be the Mod style. They didn’t get it quite right, unfortunately.

A small gathering outside the famous Flamingo Club in London. Originally a Jazz club, it adapted to the new music favoured by Mods, as did The Marquee Club. One of them is Zoot Money, a popular musician, and another is Andy Summers, who later found fame in The Police with Sting and Stewart Copeland.

Zoot Money is on the right. Andy Summers is 2nd from right (Photo by Jeremy Fletcher/Redferns)

Two Mod girls dancing in The Marquee Club, 1964.

44 thoughts on “Pop Culture And Music: 1960s Britain

      1. That’s true. I saw a poster of a Beatles performance here in America, and on the bill was Martha Reeves and the Vandellas. I was blown away! You probably don’t know this soul group, but the Beatles (I know how you feel…) embraced this music. I always found that interesting. Best to you, Pete.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. We girls here all went for very long hair and very short skirts. It hadn’t hit the West Coast yet and my little sister was in awe of me. When she came to my college graduation across the country she announced with annoyance “you look just like everyone else!”

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  2. (1) You had the Chris Barber band. We had the Magnificent Seven. (Yul probably wonder why I compared the two.)
    (2) A few seconds earlier: “Hold my hand while I kick the football…”
    A few seconds later: “GOAL!!!”
    (3) Concert sails agent: “s-Teddy as she goes, boys!”
    (4) You have Italian scooters. We have American skeeters. You find scooters attractive. We find skeeters repellent.
    (5) Jurassic Park News: “Marc Bolan Heard Singing in T-Rex.”
    (6) The Mods versus The Rockers: “Clash of the Music Titans.” (A clash of mythic proportions!)
    (7) More Maude than Mod.
    (8) At the Flamingo in Las Vegas, they actually have live flamingos. I willing to gamble that the Flamingo in London did not.
    (9) Those ladies are awfully young to be suffering from kyphosis.

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  3. I remember hearing about “Teddy Boys” but I was never sure just who they were. I believed they were a bit loutish, just from what I overheard. My brother, 3 years older arrived from boarding school with winkle-picker shoes but I don’t know where he fit in. He liked rock n’ roll which I detested having seldom heard it. The girls back then seemed to favour bee-hive hair dos and stiletto heels. I had a “posh” aunt who cautioned you at the front door not to damage her floor. Oh yes, someone mentioned polyester…groan! Such fun looking back on what was thought to be so cool!

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  4. I always liked the Mods. What I appreciate is the photo of the “not quite right”. The majority of youthful trend followers never could go to the extremes of the complete look for either money or parental reasons. However, I begged my father for a polka dot pirate shirt that was all the rage in the shops full of Mod at the time. But I was tto young and skinny to get away with it. Not being one to let things go my dad would, if I wanted to go with him on Saturday morning, say “sure” but I had to wear the pirate shirt… Fashion always looks cooler on the mannequin, in the magazines, or on the people old enough to wear it…

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    1. All very true, Phil. I wanted a 3/4 length leather mod-style coat. My mum couldn’t afford that, and bought me a ‘synthetic’ coat in the same style instead. I was so embarrassed having to wear that.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Zoot Money is from my home town [Bournemouth]—still lives there now, so I believe—and my older brother played with him on Horseshoe Common when they were nippers. The chap second left in the photo, wearing the winklepickers, looks a bit like Rod Stewart, but I’m not 100% sure. Cheers, Jon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was too young for the original Mods by a couple of years. But I dressed like one, and always associated myself with them. The 70s had flared trousers and huge collars on shirts. Not cool in my book. 🙂 🙂
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

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