The Beatles + BBC 1967

This was for me (and for millions of others) a signature moment of the emerging late 1960s culture – a kind of public, global announcement that pop-music wasn’t anything to do with Tin-Pan Alley or the  establishment Music Business any more. It was 5 or 6 minutes of a cultural-pop-history that carried the hippie Peace message writ large as All You Need is Love. And it definitely wasn’t a corny commercial Eurovision Song Contest song either – it was an anthem for us all, compounded of Lennon’s counter-culture opposition to War (specifically the East-West Cold War, the Vietnam War), George’s Hinduism, the band’s position at the heart of all that was cool (and successful) in British culture, Paul’s musical talent and leanings towards the avant garde, John and Ringo’s sardonic Liverpool dry humour.. And it was supported by the aristocracy of British counter culture – the Stones, Donovan, Marianne Faithful – and George Martin’s full orchestra.. It was several minutes of revelatory bliss. It shouted loud – the message of world peace and love; a several minute commercial of Britain’s ascendancy in style, cool, technology, art, – and being the hippest place to be in the whole world. We loved it.

And my generation were  lucky enough to have a reprise of this fabulous feeling (amplified by the massive charity donations (£100 million!) raised for Ethopia) some 20 years or so later in Bob Geldof’s Live Aid concert (1986). So, twice in a lifetime, we were able to harness music creative talent, world-around communications and broadcasting media, and combine them into a message that as Barry Miles put it in 1967 (paraphrased from Plato): When the Mode of the Music Changes, the Walls of the City Shake. We hoped and believed…

 

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