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This monthly podcast looks back at the pop culture of Generation X, from an African-American perspective.

Jun 8, 2018

A detailed look at black, African-American, culture during the "Sixties". (1960-1969) (Bonus Artists: hidingtobefound & Luck Pacheco)


  1. Overview
  2.   "The Sixties":  the counterculture and revolution in social norms about clothing, music, drugs, dress, sexuality, formalities, and schooling – or - irresponsible excess, flamboyance, and decay of social order.
  3.   Also labeled the Swinging Sixties because of the fall or relaxation of social taboos especially relating to racism and sexism that occurred during this time.
  4.   Also described as a classical Jungian nightmare cycle, where a rigid culture, unable to contain the demands for greater individual freedom, broke free of the social constraints of the previous age through extreme deviation from the norm.
  5.   The confrontation between the US and the Soviet Union dominated geopolitics during the '60s, with the struggle expanding into developing nations in Latin America, Africa, and Asia characterized by proxy wars, funding of insurgencies, and puppet governments.
  6.   In response to civil disobedience campaigns from groups like the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), U.S. President John F. Kennedy, pushed for social reforms. Kennedy's assassination in 1963 was a shock.
  7.   Liberal reforms were finally passed under Lyndon B. Johnson including civil rights for African Americans· and healthcare for the elderly and the poor. Despite his large-scale Great Society programs, Johnson was increasingly reviled. The heavy-handed American role in the Vietnam War outraged student protestors around the globe.
  8.   The assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., anti-Vietnam War movement, and the police response towards protesters of the 1968 Democratic National Convention, defined a politics of violence in the United States.


The 1960s were marked by several notable assassinations:

  1.   12 June 1963 – Medgar Evers, an NAACP field secretary. Assassinated by Byron de la Beckwith, a member of the Ku Klux Klan in Jackson, Mississippi.
  2.   22 November 1963 – John F. Kennedy, President of the United States. Assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald while riding in a motorcade through Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas.
  3.   21 February 1965 – Malcolm X. Assassinated by members of the Nation of Islam in New York City. There is a dispute about which members killed Malcolm X.
  4.   4 April 1968 – Martin Luther King, Jr., civil rights leader. Assassinated by James Earl Ray in Memphis, Tennessee.
  5.   5 June 1968 – Robert F. Kennedy, United States Senator. Assassinated by Sirhan Sirhan in Los Angeles, after taking California in the presidential national primaries.


  1. Social and political movements (counterculture)
  2.   Flower Power/Hippies

In the second half of the decade, young people began to revolt against the conservative norms of the time. The youth involved in the popular social aspects of the movement became known as hippies. These groups created a movement toward liberation in society, including the sexual revolution, questioning authority and government, and demanding more freedoms and rights for women and minorities. The movement was also marked by the first widespread, socially accepted drug use (including LSD and marijuana) and psychedelic music.


  1.   Anti-war movement

The war in Vietnam would eventually lead to a commitment of over half a million American troops, resulting in over 58,500 American deaths and producing a large-scale antiwar movement in the United States.

Students became a powerful and disruptive force and university campuses sparked a national debate over the war.

The antiwar movement was heavily influenced by the American Communist Party, but by the mid-1960s it outgrew this and became a broad-based mass movement centered in universities and churches: one kind of protest was called a "sit-in".

  1.   Civil rights movement

Beginning in the mid-1950s and continuing into the late 1960s, African-Americans in the United States aimed at outlawing racial discrimination against black Americans and voting rights to them. The emergence of the Black Power movement, which lasted roughly from 1966 to 1975, enlarged the aims of the civil rights movement to include racial dignity, economic and political self-sufficiency, and anti-imperialism.

The movement was characterized by major campaigns of civil resistance. Forms of protest and/or civil disobedience included boycotts such as the successful Montgomery Bus Boycott (1955–1956) in Alabama; "sit-ins" such as the influential Greensboro sit-ins (1960) in North Carolina; marches, such as the Selma to Montgomery marches (1965) in Alabama.; and a wide range of other nonviolent activities.

Noted legislative achievements during this phase of the civil rights movement were passage of Civil Rights Act of 1964, that banned discrimination based on "race, color, religion, or national origin" in employment practices and public accommodations; the Voting Rights Act of 1965, that restored and protected voting rights; the Immigration and Nationality Services Act of 1965, that dramatically opened entry to the U.S. to immigrants other than traditional European groups; and the Fair Housing Act of 1968, that banned discrimination in the sale or rental of housing.

  1.   Hispanic and Chicano movement

Another large ethnic minority group, the Mexican-Americans, are among other Hispanics in the U.S. who fought to end racial discrimination and socioeconomic disparity.

In the 1960s and the following 1970s, Hispanic-American culture was on the rebound like ethnic music, foods, culture and identity both became popular and assimilated into the American mainstream. Spanish-language television networks, radio stations and newspapers increased in presence across the country.

  1.   Second-wave feminism

A second wave of feminism in the United States and around the world gained momentum in the early 1960s. While the first wave of the early 20th century was centered on gaining suffrage and overturning de jure inequalities, the second wave was focused on changing cultural and social norms and de facto inequalities associated with women. At the time, a woman's place was generally seen as being in the home, and they were excluded from many jobs and professions.

Feminists took to the streets, marching and protesting, writing books and debating to change social and political views that limited women. In 1963, with Betty Friedan's revolutionary book, The Feminine Mystique, the role of women in society, and in public and private life was questioned. By 1966, the movement was beginning to grow and power as women's group spread across the country and Friedan, along with other feminists, founded the National Organization for Women. In 1968, "Women's Liberation" became a household term.

  1.   Gay rights movement

The United States, in the middle of a social revolution, led the world in LGBT rights in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Inspired by the civil-rights movement and the women's movement, early gay-rights pioneers had begun, by the 1960s, to build a movement. These groups were rather conservative in their practices, emphasizing that gay men and women are no different from those who are straight and deserve full equality. This philosophy would be dominant again after AIDS, but by the very end of the 1960s, the movement's goals would change and become more radical, demanding a right to be different, and encouraging gay pride.

  1.   Crime

The 1960s was also associated with a large increase in crime and urban unrest of all types. Between 1960 and 1969 reported incidences of violent crime per 100,000 people in the United States nearly doubled and have yet to return to the levels of the early 1960s. Large riots broke out in many cities like Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York City, Newark, New Jersey, Oakland, California and Washington, D.C. By the end of the decade, politicians like George Wallace and Richard Nixon campaigned on restoring law and order to a nation troubled with the new unrest.


  1. Economics

The decade began with a recession and at that time unemployment was considered high at around 7%.

John F. Kennedy promised to "get America moving again." To do this, he instituted a 7% tax credit for businesses that invest in new plants and equipment.

By the end of the decade, median family income had risen from $8,540 in 1963 to $10,770 by 1969.

Minimum wage was $1.30 per hour / ~$2,700 per year (~$18,700 in 2018)


  1. Popular culture
  2.   The counterculture movement dominated the second half of the 1960s, its most famous moments being the Summer of Love in San Francisco in 1967, and the Woodstock Festival in upstate New York in 1969. Psychedelic drugs, especially LSD, were widely used medicinally, spiritually and recreationally throughout the late 1960s, and were popularized by Timothy Leary with his slogan "Turn on, tune in, drop out". Psychedelic influenced the music, artwork and films of the decade, and several prominent musicians died of drug overdoses. There was a growing interest in Eastern religions and philosophy, and many attempts were made to found communes, which varied from supporting free love to religious puritanism.



  1.   British Invasion: The Beatles arrive at John F. Kennedy International Airport, 7 February 1964
  2.   "The 60's were a leap in human consciousness. Mahatma Gandhi, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Che Guevara, Mother Teresa, they led a revolution of conscience. The Beatles, The Doors, Jimi Hendrix created revolution and evolution themes. The music was like Dalí, with many colors and revolutionary ways. The youth of today must go there to find themselves." – Carlos Santana.


  1.   As the 1960s began, the major rock-and-roll stars of the '50s such as Chuck Berry and Little Richard had dropped off the charts and popular music in the US came to be dominated by Motown girl groups and novelty pop songs. Another important change in music during the early 1960s was the American folk music revival which introduced Joan Baez, Pete Seeger, The Kingston Trio, Harry Belafonte, Bob Dylan, Odetta, and many other Singer-songwriters to the public.
  2.   Girl groups and female singers, such as the Shirelles, Betty Everett, Little Eva, the Dixie Cups, the Ronettes, and the Supremes dominated the charts in the early 1960s. This style consisted typically of light pop themes about teenage romance, backed by vocal harmonies and a strong rhythm. Most girl groups were African-American, but white girl groups and singers, such as Lesley Gore, the Angels, and the Shangri-Las emerged by 1963.
  3.   Around the same time, record producer Phil Spector began producing girl groups and created a new kind of pop music production that came to be known as the Wall of Sound. This style emphasized higher budgets and more elaborate arrangements, and more melodramatic musical themes in place of a simple, light-hearted pop sound. Spector's innovations became integral to the growing sophistication of popular music from 1965 onward.
  4.   Also during the early '60s, the “car song” emerged as a rock subgenre and coupled with the surf rock subgenre. Such notable songs include "Little Deuce Coupe," "409," and "Shut Down," all by the Beach Boys; Jan and Dean's "Little Old Lady from Pasadena" and "Drag City," among many others.
  5.   While rock 'n' roll had 'disappeared' from the US charts in the early '60s, it never died out in Europe and Britain was a hotbed of rock-and-roll activity during this time. In late 1963, the Beatles embarked on their first US tour. A few months later, rock-and-roll founding father Chuck Berry emerged from a 2-1/2-year prison stint and resumed recording and touring. The stage was set for the spectacular revival of rock music.
  6.   In the UK, the Beatles played raucous rock 'n' roll – as well as doo wop, girl-group songs, show tunes. Beatlemania abruptly exploded after the group's appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1964.
  7.   As the counterculture movement developed, artists began making new kinds of music influenced by the use of psychedelic drugs. Guitarist Jimi Hendrix emerged onto the scene in 1967 with a radically new approach to electric guitar that replaced Chuck Berry, previously seen as the gold standard of rock guitar. Rock artists began to take on serious themes and social commentary/protest instead of simplistic pop themes.
  8.   A major development in popular music during the mid-1960s was the movement away from singles and towards albums.
  9.   Blues also continued to develop strongly during the '60s, but after 1965, it increasingly shifted to the young white rock audience and away from its traditional black audience, which moved on to other styles such as soul and funk.
  10.   Jazz music during the first half of the '60s was largely a continuation of '50s styles, retaining its core audience of young, urban, college-educated whites. By 1967, the death of several important jazz figures such as John Coltrane and Nat King Cole precipitated a decline in the genre. The takeover of rock in the late '60s largely spelled the end of jazz as a mainstream form of music, after it had dominated much of the first half of the 20th century.


Significant events in music in the 1960s:

  1.   Sam Cooke was shot and killed at a motel in Los Angeles, California [11 December 1964] at age 33 under suspicious circumstances.
  2.   Motown Record Corporation was founded in 1960. Its first Top Ten hit was "Shop Around" by the Miracles in 1960. "Shop Around" peaked at number-two on the Billboard Hot 100 and was Motown's first million-selling record.
  3.   The Marvelettes scored Motown Record Corporation's first US No. 1 pop hit, "Please Mr. Postman" in 1961. Motown would score 110 Billboard Top-Ten hits during its run.
  4.   The Supremes scored twelve number-one hit singles between 1964 and 1969, beginning with "Where Did Our Love Go".
  5.   John Coltrane released A Love Supreme in late 1964, considered among the most acclaimed jazz albums of the era.
  6.   In 1966, The Supremes A' Go-Go was the first album by a female group to reach the top position of the Billboard magazine pop albums chart in the United States.
  7.   The Jimi Hendrix Experience released two successful albums during 1967, Are You Experienced and Axis: Bold as Love, that innovate both guitar, trio and recording techniques.
  8.   R & B legend Otis Redding has his first No. 1 hit with the legendary Sitting on the Dock of the Bay. He also played at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967 just before he died in a plane crash.
  9.   The Bee Gees released their international debut album Bee Gees 1st in July 1967 which included the pop standard "To Love Somebody".
  10.   1968: after The Yardbirds fold, Led Zeppelin was formed by Jimmy Page and manager Peter Grant, with Robert Plant, John Bonham and John Paul Jones; and, released their debut album Led Zeppelin.
  11.   Big Brother and the Holding Company, with Janis Joplin as lead singer, became an overnight sensation after their performance at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967 and released their second album Cheap Thrills in 1968.
  12.   Gram Parsons with The Byrds released the extremely influential LP Sweetheart of the Rodeo in late 1968, forming the basis for country rock.
  13.   The Jimi Hendrix Experience released the highly influential double LP Electric Ladyland in 1968 that furthered the guitar and studio innovations of his previous two albums.
  14.   Woodstock Festival, 1969
  15.   Sly & the Family Stone revolutionized black music with their massive 1968 hit single "Dance to the Music" and by 1969 became international sensations with the release of their hit record Stand!. The band cemented their position as a vital counterculture band when they performed at the Woodstock Festival.



Some of Hollywood's most notable blockbuster films of the 1960s include:

2001: A Space Odyssey, The Apartment, The Birds, I Am Curious (Yellow), Bonnie and Clyde, Breakfast at Tiffany's, Bullitt, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Carnival of Souls, Cleopatra, Cool , and Luke, The Dirty Dozen, Doctor Zhivago, Dr. Strangelove, Easy Rider, Exodus, Faces, Funny Girl, Goldfinger, The Graduate, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, , Head, How the West Was Won, The , Hustler, Ice Station Zebra, In the Heat of the Night, The Italian Job, It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, Jason and the Argonauts, Judgment at Nuremberg, The Jungle Book, Lawrence of Arabia, The Lion in Winter, The Longest Day, The Love Bug, A Man for All Seasons, The Manchurian Candidate, Mary Poppins, Medium Cool, Midnight Cowboy, My Fair Lady, Night of the Living Dead, The Pink Panther, The Odd Couple, Oliver!, One Hundred and One Dalmatians, One Million Years B.C., Planet of the Apes, Psycho, Romeo and Juliet, Rosemary's Baby, The Sound of Music, Spartacus, Swiss Family Robinson, To Kill a Mockingbird, Valley of the Dolls, West Side Story, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, The Wild Bunch.



  1.   The most prominent American TV series of the 1960s include: The Ed Sullivan Show, Star Trek, Peyton Place, The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, The Andy Williams Show, The Dean Martin Show, The Wonderful World of Disney, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Beverly Hillbillies, Bonanza, Batman, McHale's Navy, Laugh-In, The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Fugitive, The Tonight Show, Gunsmoke, The Andy Griffith Show, Gilligan's Island, Mission: Impossible, The Flintstones, The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, Lassie, The Danny Thomas Show, The Lucy Show, My Three Sons, The Red Skelton Show, Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie.
  2.   The Flintstones was a favored show, receiving 40 million views an episode with an average of 3 views a day.
  3.   Some programming such as The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour became controversial by challenging the foundations of America's corporate and governmental controls; making fun of world leaders, and questioning U.S. involvement in and escalation of the Vietnam War.



  1.   Significant fashion trends of the 1960s include:


  1.   The Beatles exerted an enormous influence on young men's fashions and hairstyles in the 1960s which included most notably the mop-top haircut, the Beatle boots and the Nehru jacket.
  2.   The hippie movement late in the decade also had a strong influence on clothing styles, including bell-bottom jeans, tie-dye and batik fabrics, as well as paisley prints.
  3.   The bikini came into fashion in 1963 after being featured in the film Beach Party.
  4.   Mary Quant invented the miniskirt, which became one of the most popular fashion rages in the late 1960s among young women and teenage girls. Its popularity continued throughout the first half of the 1970s and then disappeared temporarily from mainstream fashion before making a comeback in the mid-1980s.
  5.   Men's mainstream hairstyles ranged from the pompadour, the crew cut, the flattop hairstyle, the tapered hairstyle, and short, parted hair in the early part of the decade, to longer parted hairstyles with sideburns towards the latter half of the decade.
  6.   Women's mainstream hairstyles ranged from beehive hairdos, the bird's nest hairstyle, and the chignon hairstyle in the early part of the decade, to very short styles popularized by Twiggy and Mia Farrow in Rosemary's Baby towards the latter half of the decade.
  7.   African-American hairstyles for men and women included the afro.



  1.   James Brown

"Papa's Got A Brand New Bag" (1965)

"I Got You (I Feel Good)" (1965)

"Say It Loud--I'm Black and I'm Proud" (1968)


  1.   Ray Charles

"Georgia On My Mind' (1960)

"Hit the Road Jack" (1961)

"I Can't Stop Loving You" (1962)


  1.   Marvin Gaye

"Ain't That Peculiar?" (1965)

"I Heard It Through the Grapevine" (1968)

"Too Busy Thinking About My Baby" (1969)


  1.   The Temptations

"My Girl" (1965)

"Ain't Too to Beg" (1966)

"I Can't Get Next to You" (1969)


  1.   Bobby "Blue" Bland

"I Pity the Fool" (1961)

"Turn On Your Lovelight" (1961)

"Ain't Nothing You Can Do" (1964)


  1.   Aretha Franklin

"I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)" (1967)

"Respect" (1967)

"Chain of Fools" (1967-68)


  1.   The Supremes

"Where Did Our Love Go?" (1964)

"Stop! In the Name of Love" (1965)

"Love Child" (1968)


  1.   Smokey Robinson & The Miracles

"Shop Around" (1960-61)

"You've Really Got a Hold On Me" (1962-63)

"The Tracks of My Tears" (1965)


  1.   The Impressions

"Gypsy Woman" (1961)

"It's All Right" (1963)

"People Get Ready" (1965)


  1.   Brook Benton

"Kiddio" (1960)

"Think Twice" (1961)

"Hotel Happiness" (1962-63)


  1.   Jackie Wilson

"Doggin' Around" (1960)

"Baby Workout" (1963)

"(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher" (1967)


  1.   Sam Cooke

"Wonderful World" (1960)

"Bring It On Home To Me" (1962)

"A Change is Gonna Come" (1965)


  1.   Otis Redding

"These Arms of Mine" (1963)

"Try a Little Tenderness" (1966-67)

"(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay" (1968)


  1.   Jerry Butler

"He Will Break Your Heart" (1960)

"Never Give You Up" (1968)

"Only the Strong Survive" (1969)


  1.   Wilson Pickett

"In the Midnight Hour" (1965)

"Land of 1000 Dances" (1966)

"Funky Broadway" (1967)


  1.   Stevie Wonder

"Fingertips, Part 2" (1963)

"Uptight (Everything's Alright)" (1965-66)

"I Was Made to Love Her" (1967)


  1.   B.B. King

"Beautician Blues" (1964)

"Waiting on You" (1966)

"Paying the Cost To Be the Boss" (1968)


  1.   Joe Tex

"Hold What You've Got" (1964-65)

"A Sweet Woman Like You" (1965-66)

"Skinny Legs and All" (1967)


  1.   The Marvelettes

"Please Mr. Postman" (1961)

"Beechwood 4-5789" (1962)

"Too Many Fish in the Sea" (1965)


  1.   Mary Wells

"Bye Bye Baby" (1960-61)

"The One Who Really Loves You" (1962)

"My Guy" (1964)


  1.   The Four Tops

"Baby, I Need Your Loving" (1964)

"I Can't Help Myself (A/K/A Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)" (1965)

"Reach Out, I'll Be There" (1966)


  1.   Martha & The Vandellas

"Heat Wave" (1963)

"Dancing in the Street" (1964)

"Nowhere to Run" (1965)


  1.   Dionne Warwick

"Don't Make Me Over" (1962-63)

"Anyone Who Had a Heart" (1963-64)

"Walk On By" (1964)


  1.   Solomon Burke

"Just Out of Reach (Of My Two Open Arms)" (1961)

"Everybody Needs Somebody To Love" (1964)

"Got To Get You Off My Mind" (1965)


  1.   Etta James

"At Last" (1960-61)

"Tell Mama" (1967-68)

"I'd Rather Go Blind" (1967-68)


  1.   The Shirelles

"Will You Love Me Tomorrow? (1960-61)

"Dedicated to the One I Love" (1961)

"Baby It's You" (1961-62)


  1.   Chuck Jackson

"I Don't Want to Cry" (1961)

"Any Day Now (My Wild Beautiful Bird)" (1962)

"Beg Me" (1964)


  1.   Gene Chandler

"Duke of Earl" (1962)

"Rainbow" (1963)

"I Fooled You This Time" (1966)


  1.   The Drifters

"This Magic Moment" (1960)

"Save the Last Dance for Me" (1960)

"Up on the Roof" (1962-63)


  1.   Jr. Walker & The All-Stars

"Shotgun" (1965)

"(I'm A) Road Runner" (1966)

"Home Cookin'" (1968-69)


  1.   Gladys Knight & The Pips

"Every Beat of My Heart" (1961)

"I Heard it Through the Grapevine" (1967)

"Friendship Train" (1969)


  1.   Carla Thomas

"Gee Whiz (Look at His Eyes)" (1961)

"B-A-B-Y" (1966)

"Another Night Without My Man" (1966)


  1.   Chubby Checker

"The Twist" (1960)

"Pony Time" (1961)

"Dancin' Party" (1962)


  1.   Sam & Dave

"Hold On! I'm A Comin'" (1966)

"When Something is Wrong With My Baby" (1967)

"Soul Man" (1967)


  1.   Joe Simon

"My Adorable One" (1964)

"Nine Pound Steel" (1967)

"The Chokin' Kind" (1969)


  1.   The Dells

"There Is" (1967-68)

"Stay in My Corner" (1968)

"Oh, What a Night" (1969)


  1.   Little Milton

"So Mean To Me" (1962)

"We're Gonna Make It" (1965)

"Grits Ain't Groceries" (1969)


  1.   Ben E. King

"Spanish Harlem" (1960-61)

"Stand By Me" (1961)

"That's When it Hurts" (1964)


  1.   Betty Everett

"You're No Good" (1963)

"The Shoop Shoop Song (It's in His Kiss)" (1964)

"There'll Come a Time" (1969)


  1.   Hank Ballard & The Midnighters

"Let's Go, Let's Go, Let's Go" (1960)

"Finger Poppin' Time" (1960)

"Nothing But Good" (1961)


  1.   Major Lance

"The Monkey Time" (1963)

"Um, Um, Um, Um, Um, Um" (1964)

"Investigate" (1966)


  1.   Booker T. & The MGs

"Green Onions" (1962)

"Hip-Hug-Her" (1967)

"Time is Tight" (1969)


  1.   The Intruders

"Together" (1967)

"Cowboys to Girls" (1968)

"(Love is Like a) Baseball Game" (1968)


  1.   Ike & Tina Turner

"A Fool in Love" (1960)

"Goodbye, So Long" (1965)

"River Deep--Mountain High" (1966)


  1.   Johnnie Taylor

"I Got to Love Somebody's Baby" (1966)

"Who's Making Love" (1968)

"I Could Never Be President" (1969)


  1.   The Orlons

"The Wah Watusi" (1962)

"Don't Hang Up" (1962)

"South Street" (1963)


  1.   Barbara Lewis

"Hello Stranger" (1963)

"Baby, I'm Yours" (1965)

"Make Me Your Baby" (1965)


  1.   Maxine Brown

"All in My Mind" (1960-61)

"Oh No, Not My Baby" (1964)

"One in a Million" (1966)


  1.   Garnet Mimms & The Enchanters

"Cry Baby" (1963)

"Tell Me Baby" (1964)

"I'll Take Good Care of You" (1966)


  1.   Ramsey Lewis

"The In Crowd" (1965)

"Hang On Sloopy" (1965)

"Wade in the Water" (1966)