‘Sixties At Six’
Each Day at 6.00pm – 7.00pm
‘Sixties At Six’
The music we play in this hour, celebrates the decade that put the Uk
and in particular the City of London, at the centre of world attention
when it came to Fashion and Music.
For a few years in the 1960s, London was the world capital of cool.
When Time magazine dedicated its 15th April 1966 issue to London:
the Swinging City,
it cemented the association between London and all things hip
and fashionable that had been
growing in the popular imagination throughout the decade.
London’s remarkable metamorphosis from a gloomy,
grimy post-War capital into a bright,
shining epicentre of style was largely down to two factors: youth and money.
The whole of the UK was awaking from the drabness of the 1950’s.
The baby boom of the 1950s meant that the urban population was younger than
it had been since Roman times.
By the mid-60s, 40% of the population at large was under 25.
With the abolition of National Service for men in 1960, these young people
had more freedom
and fewer responsibilities than their parents’ generation.
They rebelled against the limitations and restrictions of post-War society.
In short, they wanted to shake things up…
Added to this, many young British men and women
had more disposable income
than ever before – and were looking for ways to spend it.
Nationally, weekly earnings in the ‘60s outstripped the cost of living
by a staggering 183%: in London,
where earnings were generally higher than the national average,
the figure was probably even greater.
This heady combination of affluence and youth led to a flourishing
of music, fashion, design and anything else that would
banish the post-War gloom.
Fashion boutiques sprang up willy-nilly. Men flocked to Carnaby St,
near Soho, for the latest ‘Mod’ fashions.
While women were lured to the King’s Rd, where Mary Quant’s
radical mini skirts
flew off the rails of her iconic store, Bazaar.
Similar ‘trendy’ places arose in towns and cities all over the UK.
Even the most shocking or downright barmy fashions were popularised
by models who,
for the first time, became superstars.
Jean Shrimpton was considered the symbol of Swinging London,
while Twiggy was named
The Face of 1966.
Mary Quant herself was the undisputed queen of the group known as
The Chelsea Set, a hard-partying, socially eclectic mix of
largely idle ‘toffs’ and talented working-class movers and shakers.
Music was also a huge part of London and the UK’s swing.
While Liverpool had the Beatles, the London sound was a mix of bands
who went on to worldwide success, including The Who, The Kinks,
The Small Faces and The Rolling Stones.
Their music was the mainstay of pirate radio stations like
Radio Caroline and Radio Swinging England.
Creative types of all kinds gravitated to the capital,
from artists and writers to magazine publishers, photographers,
advertisers, film-makers and product designers.