Back in the day…

Somebody(s) did a survey of the ‘top’ cultural moments in the 60s…

The Top 10 Pop-culture Moments of the 1960’s

10. Woodstock Music Festival: In 1969, the Woodstock Music & Art Fair brought together half a million people for a three-day celebration of peace, love, and music. Iconic performances by artists like Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin solidified Woodstock’s place in history as a symbol of the counterculture movement.

Sigh… didn’t make that one…

9. The Beatles’ Invasion: The British Invasion reached its peak in the 1960s with The Beatles leading the charge. Their appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show” in 1964 marked a cultural watershed, sparking a Beatlemania craze and forever changing the landscape of popular music.

Ironic that this one is on the list twice- Lots of great Brit bands back in the 60s. The Who, the Animals, the Rolling Stones, and the Kinks were pretty good too!

8. The Twist Phenomenon: Chubby Checker’s “The Twist” dance craze took over the 1960s, influencing dance floors across the globe. The simple yet infectious dance moves became a symbol of youthful rebellion and freedom.

And got us in a LOT of trouble…

7. James Bond’s Debut: Sean Connery introduced the world to the suave and sophisticated British spy, James Bond, in the 1962 film “Dr. No.” The Bond franchise became a cinematic phenomenon, shaping the spy genre and pop culture for decades to come.

And that series is STILL going strong 60 years later!

6. The Summer of Love: In 1967, the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco became the epicenter of the counterculture movement during the “Summer of Love.” A wave of psychedelic music, vibrant fashion, and experimental lifestyles swept through the youth, leaving an indelible mark on the decade.

Not all it was cracked (literally) up to be. Bathing was not a ‘thing’ with them… Patchouli and marijuana are the two ‘scents’ I remember in addition to body odor…

5. The Civil Rights Movement: The 1960s witnessed a significant push for civil rights and racial equality. Events like Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech and the March on Washington in 1963 became pivotal moments in the fight against racial discrimination.

We never thought about it, and had plenty of friends of all ethnicities!

4. The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show: The Beatles’ appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1964 drew a record-breaking 73 million viewers. It marked the beginning of the “British Invasion” and solidified The Beatles as cultural icons.

This one I do remember seeing on TV!

3. Pop Art Emergence: The 1960s saw the rise of Pop Art, with artists like Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein challenging traditional art conventions. Their use of everyday objects and mass media imagery had a profound impact on the art world and popular culture.

And Robert Crumb, Keep on Truckin! And Ed Roth’s Rat Fink and hot cars toons!

2. The Kennedy Assassination: The assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963 shocked the world and left an enduring impact on American society. The tragic event marked the end of an era and led to increased scrutiny of political and social issues throughout the decade.

In junior high, math class. Teacher brought a transistor radio in and was crying as we listened to the news reports from Dallas.

1. The Moon Landing: In 1969, the Apollo 11 mission achieved a historic milestone by successfully landing the first humans on the moon. Neil Armstrong’s iconic words, “That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind,” echoed worldwide and marked a pivotal moment in space exploration.

Watched it in a bar in Rome in the middle of the night! I also remember talking to both my grandmothers and grandfather who’d been born in the late 1800s and literally remembered Kitty Hawk and then watching man land on the moon!

How many of them do you remember? And remember where you were?



Back in the day… — 32 Comments

  1. I remember them all.

    One thing I alway found sadly ironic was how the 1967 Summer of Love was replaced with the 1968 Summer of Hate when riots tore through many cities.

    • Funded, sadly, by the KGB. And that’s not a conspiracy theory.

  2. I’m still just a pup compared to you. I was born in 1964.

    I remember one of the moon landings but I was very young and I don’t remember which one it was. I definitely remember that it was in the farmhouse we bought in 1970 so it was toward the end of the program.

    The rest of it, I have no memory of (some of which I wasn’t even alive for) except from seeing news clips from the events years later.

    The big cultural events I remember from the 1960’s were starting kindergarten-I remember that vividly-and when the city (I use that term loosely…population about 3k at that time) asphalted over top of the brick street we lived on before moving out to the farm. That was a big event. Everyone who operated wheeled transportation of any type hated those bricks; they’d rattle your teeth out.

  3. I remember pretty much all of them. I recall attempting to explain the moon landing to a Vietnamese woman who spoke little English. I don’t think she understood.

  4. I am told I watched the broadcast of the Apollo 11 landing. I dearly wish I could recall it.

    And as for patchouli… I’ve dealt with soap-makers who had various scents and soaps. When it comes to patchouli, however, I relate that I wish to smell *BETTER* after bathing, not worse.

    • A guy in our training squadron wore patchouli.
      I thought he was an ass for it.
      Found out later, he did it to irritate the TI.
      Always a good plan.

  5. I was born in 1960. I don’t remember much, but my great grandmother lived with us, and she remembers traveling in a covered wagon (she was born in 1886), and we had people in space before she passed. That is a large transition!

  6. I remember they all. I was only in first grade when Kennedy was assassinated and wondered why there was such a strong reaction to the President my parents didn’t care for.

  7. I remember most of them but I was young. I was born in 57 and lived in a small city east of Los Angeles. I remember when JFK was killed our teacher was called to the office and she came back crying and said class was dismissed and to go home as the President had been hurt. My brother was 6 years older and my sister is 8 years older so they also were heading home. We learned more at home.

    I watched the Apollo 11 landing with my family except my Sister was of to college in AZ and my Brother was going off to the Army as he had gotten drafted and then was off to Vietnam.

  8. When I tell my older siblings about my earliest memories, they told me they were surprised that those memories were of events that happened when I was four months old and in one case just six weeks old. The Kennedy assassination happened a few days following my first birthday, and the passing of the only grandfather I knew happened shortly after that. I saw the adults around me go from being happy about *me* (Why? I dunno; it’s FUN!) to suddenly being very glum (What did *I* do wrong? How did that happen?) and then my grandfather was gone, and I thought this was all related somehow.
    “Kilroy was here” was also a thing, especially in grade school.

  9. Every single last one of them. I didn’t get to Woodstock — wich I had — but several of my high school students (I was a teacher at the time) did… and I watched the egress on the moon with my father’s mother, on her little black and white TV… she was avidly interested!

    “Those were the days, my friend, we thought they’d never end…”

  10. Folks, if you remember Woodstock and The Summer of Love, you weren’t there!

    I was in my seventh grade science class on a beautiful November day in Dallas the day JFK was shot. Was pretty traumatic for a lot of people, but most seventh graders didn’t fully understand the ramifications as to the impact (that would include me as well).

    And my goodness, Daniela Bianchi really got my pubescent hormones flowing when I watched “From Russia with Love”. Hard to believe she’s 82 now!

    • We drove by Woodstock just as it was getting started. We were visiting family upstate and we went by on the way home. Wow the traffic. There had to be a couple hundred police there and they were searching damn near every car going in. Thankfully we were headed the other way, plus we were obviously a family and just as obviously not a part of that culture. So they didn’t bother us.

  11. Doesn’t this make your blood boil that Biden refuses to comment on this innocent White girl’s death while Donald Trump speaks out on the HORRIFIC Murder of Laken Riley by one of those STINKING ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS,while Biden is still silent.
    Trump, a compassionate man spoke out and made sure Laken Riley who won’t be forgotten.
    Biden’s alliance with these illegals is not only destroys his presidency,but it’s destroying our Country and that’s why the American people are turning against him

  12. The two events from my generation that we all remember were the Challenger explosion and the 9/11 attacks.

  13. I clearly remember the Eagle landing on the moon and watching Neil Armstrong climb down from the LEM as if it were yesterday. We watched it on our old B&W Zenith. I was ten, but I was already into aerospace and rockets in a big way. Had a big impact on my life.
    I remember the assassination and even my parents watching the funeral on TV. It didn’t make much of an impact on me because I had no idea exactly what was going on. Still surprised at how well I remember some of it though, because I was only 4.
    I remember Crumb and the Rat Fink soooo much better cause ‘car guys’ were everywhere.
    My parents didn’t like Ed Sullivan for some reason, so I didn’t get to see the Beatles. A friend of mine was THERE in the audience as his parents used to go there all the time and brought their kids to that one.
    Technically I -was- at Woodstock, but only because we drove by it in the family car. My older brothers asked my dad to drop them off as we were passing it. My father nipped THAT idea in the bud!
    The Twist, James Bond, the ‘Summer of Love’, MLK, and the riots the next year, yeah, all of that isn’t hard to remember.

  14. I caught the portions that were on TV, and went to see the Woodstock movie with my girlfriend at the time. Didn’t see Frisco until 1974, but remember the music.

    I was in 6th grade when Kennedy was killed, and was home for lunch when the news came out. (I was sick that Sunday, and caught the news about Oswald getting shot while my folks were at church.)

    My older brothers and I saw Doctor No at the local theater, and my grandparents had Ed Sullivan on TV when the Beatles were his show. They lived on the flightpath to ORD, so the picture would get funky whenever a plane came in on final, quite frequently.

    For Apollo 11, I was working swing shift at MacD’s that night, so we had the radio on. By the time I got home, the ascent module had been closed up and the TV had a still picture that night. Apollo 12 TV was a bust (somebody pointed the camera at the sun. Arggh), so the first live TV I saw of a moon excursion was in college for Apollo 14.

  15. I remember that people were worried that JFK was Catholic, and what sort of problems could that create if he got elected. Not sure how many people are aware that JFk’s father bought him that presidential election. He joked that his father wouldn’t pay for a landslide win, just a regular one. Was he the first Dem presidential fraud election?
    I remember his death. I was in middle school. Also remember Oswald’s death on tv.

  16. We went to a neighbor’s house to watch the launches, as they had a color tv. Watched the landings at home because they were in B&W.

    Dad knew a lot of the people involved, as he was in the range tracking and instrumentation ships stuff for the Air Force.

  17. Mike- Good point. Highs and lows…

    All- Thanks for sharing your memories of the time and others.

    • My girlfriend (wife of 54 years so far) and I drove past the Woodstock exit in the NYSThruway on our way to go trout fishing up state and ignored it. Remember Beatles mania, on the way to Washington as a side trip for a tour from a Boy Scout 1964 jamboree in Valley forge guys were singing a version of “I love you Beatles” and also President Johnson speaking to the closing camp fire with secret service agents all over the place with shotguns. Was in high school and remember the assistant principle tearfully announcing Kennedy’s assignation. Apollo 11 but also the fire on the launch pad that killed an earlier crew and Apollo 13 and how they got the crew back. I was in college 67-71 and the smell of pot in the dorm, I stuck to beer instead. We had a pub on campus as the NYS drinking age at the time was 18!

  18. I remember them all except at the time I didn’t hear about Woodstock until a year or so after. There wasn’t a big rock and roll or counter culture movement where I lived at the time. I was too young to go anyway and probably wouldn’t have. I was pretty sheltered it appears.

  19. A friend of mine, while in college, went to see Herman’s Hermits.
    The opening act was an unknown group known called The Who.
    After the drum kit blew up and the axes were burned, Peter Noone came out. It wasn’t fair to him and his band, but everyone wanted The Who back.

  20. I remember all of them and especially the moon landing. I was stationed in North Carolina at Seymour-Johnson AFRB and living in half a duplex with my newly aquired wife. We watched it on a 12 inch TV in a huge box.

  21. 1964-model here, so a great deal of it is not something I cared about or remember. Apparently I got to watch the moon-landing on TV.

    Thomas Sowell makes the argument that the welfare of blacks in America was improving more rapidly before the Civil Rights movement took off, than afterwards. Just another example of self-interested political groups paying more attention to the symbolic than the concrete.

    • 11/22/63 I was in the eleventh grade chemistry class. When the news was broadcast over the PA system he turned it off and went back to teaching. I was in the army 67 to 70 and didn’t know of Woodstock until I was discharged and back in the states.

  22. 10. Woodstock Music Festival: Midnight showing of the movie in the college gym. Opening scene where stage is being built. One of the hammer swingers was our classmate! “Why didn’t you tell us? Would you have believed me?”
    9. The Beatles’ Invasion: Sister’s babysitter saw their first US concert at DC Coliseum. I preferred the distaff side of the invasion: Dusty Springfield, Cilla Black, Mary Hopkin, Petula Clark, et. al.
    8. The Twist Phenomenon: Less we say ’bout my dancing the better.
    7. James Bond’s Debut: Too young to go.
    6. The Summer of Love: B-in-law was stationed in San Fran in the late ’60s. When the wind was right the stench of hippies carried all the way to Treasure Island.
    5. The Civil Rights Movement: Social integration reached its peak in the ’80s/early ’90s. Been downhill since.
    4. The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show: The screams of the teens in the audience drowned out most of the performance.
    3. Pop Art Emergence: Not my cup of tea.
    2. The Kennedy Assassination: Came out of school and a student crossing guard (do they still exist?) said “The President has been shot.” Didn’t believe him until I got home. Mom and neighbor were sitting on front porch (it was unseasonably warm) drinking coffee and smoking. One look and I knew it was true.
    1. The Moon Landing: Built all the Revell model kits from the Mercury program to the Saturn V. Still have a box of clippings from pre-launch to splashdown.

  23. Wow, I remember my Mother taking me out of the UWM rectory to see a hippie riot in ’69(?) I must have been all of 5 years old if that, but still, the memory’s there.

    Dam hippies, they haven’t gotten any better. See Austin.

    My Aunt went to Woodstock, she was weird to boot.

  24. I was 16 in 1960, so I saw it all– going from a high school junior at the beginning, to a LT in Vietnam in 1970.
    Great collection of thoughts for of an “interesting” era.
    A couple more to add that had a big effect– the Cuba missile crisis in 1962 brought close to home the realities of the “cold war” that was happening since WW2.
    And the escalating Vietnam war — the draft, etc of the mid 60’s basically divided the country into two quite opposing factions.

  25. Watched the moon landing in the barracks day room, stationed at Clark AFB. Saw the beatles on Ed Sullivan, didnt care for their music. A room mate in Tech school in 1968 had a newer beatles album and I thought those guys might have a little talent. I still vividly remember being called into assembly, my freshman year, November 22, 1963 and the principal announcing the president had been assassinated. I remember more of that day, from that moment on than most other significant events. Woodstock ? A non event for me, was overseas, might have read something in the “ stars and stripes”

  26. I worked with a woman who went to Woodstock. She said that it was the first (and last) time she ever ate cold soup out of a can!