It’s a common occurrence for people to wish they grew up or lived in another decade. They wish to travel back to a time they were unable to originally experience. Some find themselves longing for a different time instead of living in the present. People crave nostalgia, but is it worth remembering?
It’s fine to idolize decades of the past, but only to a certain extent. For example, musical breakthroughs, expansive style evolution and timeless films produced in the 1960s were compelling and captivating without a doubt. Events like The Beatles’ debut on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1964 began a frenzy of crazed fans known as Beatlemania.
The shocking divide in Bob Dylan’s fanbase when he went electric for the first time at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965 shattered the glass ceiling in terms of making a statement and branching out of genres.
Johnny Cash, also known as “The Man in Black,” had two live performances at Folsom Prison in 1968. This was bold as hell and fitting with the outlaw image he carried as he performed for what he considered to be his most enthusiastic audience.
Female musicians, like Janis Joplin and Grace Slick, opened a door of opportunities for women pursuing classic rock with their strikingly different vocals and powerhouse performances, especially in venues crucial during the height of the counterculture movement like The Hollywood Bowl and The Avalon Ballroom.
Meanwhile, quotes and references from classics like “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and “Bonnie and Clyde” still surely make their rounds. Fashion trends ranging from bell-bottom pants and tie-dye t-shirts to Twiggy eye makeup and the posh mod London look are on the rise again thanks to social media apps like TikTok and Pinterest. These themes never seem to die out, and they couldn’t if they tried. The trends simply recirculate with each generation carrying the torch, easily being romanticized.
The sixties might have been the self-proclaimed wonder years for some, but certainly not for everyone. They had their fair share of issues and were incredibly problematic, which opens the door for an honest conversation. Injustices and inequality infiltrated that whole decade. There was an extreme lack of understanding and acceptance within the LGBTQ+ community. Uncertainty, fear and death totals were on the rise with gruesome acts of the Vietnam War.
People of the time were enraged by the injustices facing the war and social issues of the time.
Sadly, it took until 1964 for the Civil Rights Act to finally be passed, prohibiting discrimination. Even then, that didn’t stop it from happening. Racism and poverty couldn’t be eliminated overnight, as these issues are still being faced today. More militant approaches were taken by student activists and young women, in order to make a difference and be heard.
This decade was a time of trauma and tremendous societal turmoil. The moral of the story here is it’s absolutely acceptable to adore and admire aspects of it, but not the decade as a whole. Take those rose-colored glasses off and realize the sixties were not all peace, hugs and a summer of love.