Monday, July 06, 2015

Two pages from July music papers dramatise the staggering speed of change in the 60s

Ten years separate these layouts from editions of two British music papers published in July in years past. This (left) is the inaugural issue of Bill Harry's "Mersey Beat" from July 1961. The Beatles haven't yet become famous enough to be on the front page of even a local publication. The ads are for a local music shop or for charity. It's as modest as a parish magazine.

Just ten years later, almost to the day, this (above) is Richard Williams' review of Rod Stewart's "Every Picture Tells A Story" from "Melody Maker", which was Britain's leading music title in July 1971.

"Every Picture Tells A Story" is  a record that would have been entirely inconceivable in the world in which "Mersey Beat" had been launched. It was reviewed in a way that pop records never would have been reviewed ten years earlier. Rod Stewart even looks like a human being from a world that would have been difficult to imagine in 1961. The changes that took place between 1961 and 1971 boggle the mind.

Will we ever see things change quite so much so quickly again?


  1. I do a job where I explore the habits of "Generation Z", the name people like me have given to "ver kids of today". I've just written a big report on what I called "the biggest generation gap since the Sixties" (hyperbole alert!), between those "born on the web", and the rest of us. The culmination of this trend is happening right now - the Minecraft Conference ( Making £4.5m from people watching you play a computer game (as PewDiePie did last year)? Inconceivable ten years ago. I think we're in very interesting times in terms of the speed of cultural change.

  2. Aspects of the change, that David suggests took place, is well accounted for in,'Another Little Piece of My Heart' by former podcast guest Richard Goldstein. I recommend it.

  3. From Woodstock to punk was 7 years, as Danny Baker always reminds us.

  4. From what I've read and what bit I know, the changes from 1951/1961 were equally startling and lit the blue touch paper for the next ten years. And beyond, really.

  5. Rod Stewart in 1961

  6. Reference the first comment about computer games, it seemed highly unlikely in the 1990s when I first saw this Far Side cartoon and laughed at it 'knowingly':

    Who knew..?