Useful Notes: The Sixties

Some possibly useful notes on The Sixties, for those who remember them and others who don't.

Daily Life:



  • Most fads that you imagine about the Swinging Sixties, like the miniskirt, tie-dyed shirts, long and bouffant hairdos, mod suits, and bell bottom pants, did not emerge until the middle of the decade. Before 1963, styles were a continuation of the 1950's. Only after Kennedy died, that a new, more liberal silhouette that reminisced The Roaring Twenties, stepped into the catwalk.


  • The harm smoking does to one's health was finally officially proved once and for all on January 11, 1964 with the release of Smoking and Health: Report of the Advisory Committee to the Surgeon General of the United States. Although the tobacco companies tried to cloud the issue for decades since with increasingly desperate PR, the shift toward the North American population turning against smoking began.

Food and Drink:


  • In the very early part of the 1960s, rock music was in a lackluster state. That is, until North America was introduced to British band The Beatles in the year 1964 — the band that revolutionized rock music.
    • Arguably a myth.
  • Then there was also The Rolling Stones, who came to represent the grittier side of sixties rock.
  • Along with The Beach Boys, who preformed surf rock.
  • Bob Dylan, a young man who came from Minnesota, arrived to New York and manage to turn both the worlds of Folk music and Rock music upside down, arguably paving the way to its fusion, Folk-Rock. Expect "Like a Rolling Stone" or, more famously, "Blowin' In The Wind" to appear in documentaries about 60's culture. He was also pals with the Beatles at one point.
  • "Louie Louie" by The Kingsmen also came out in the year 1963, and started the genre of Garage Rock. That song was suspected of having dirty lyrics, when there were none intentionally note  spoken.
  • Garage Rock led to the creation of Psychedelic Rock, which is often associated with the hippie counter-cultural movement.
  • "Born to be Wild" by Steppenwolf was probably about the first Hard Rock song to be a hit.
  • In the late 1960s, out of the ashes of The Yardbirds, Led Zeppelin would be formed. The band's first North American hit, "Whole Lotta Love", would become a hit in late 1969.
  • While never selling a lot of records, Velvet Underground was one of the most influential rock bands of all time and a major influence on Punk Rock and Alternative Rock in the coming decades.
  • Although Pink Floyd would only become really popular in the next decade, they were an integral part of the psychedelic scene in London.

Social Concerns:
  • The political climate of the era was very confusing, to say the least. A lot of the same people who opposed Barry Goldwater (a Republican) in 1964 for his backwards racial policies latter on supported Richard Nixon (also a Republican) in 1968 for his promises to end the increasingly unpopular The Vietnam War. Of course, people back then had no idea that Nixon would later on turn out to be the infamous crook whose reputation continues to plague him to this day.

  • Spacewar, one of the first modern video games, was invented at MIT in 1961.
  • The Unix operating system was created at Bell Labs in 1969, though its impact on The Internet would only be felt in later decades.
  • The Arpanet, the precusor to what became the Internet, started operation in 1969.