1940s
1950s
1960s
1970s
1980s
1990s
STUFF
HOME
BOB
BILL
TVH
TELETRONIC
ALL WWW LINKS

ABOUT RT
CONTRIBUTE

BRITISH ICONS OF THE 1960s

Here are 20 icons of the 1960s presented in the unique Reminisce This style.

HAROLD WILSON was one of the most prominent British politicians of the latter half of the 20th century, serving two terms as Prime Minister. The first from 1964 to 1970 was notable for substantial legal changes in a number of social areas, including the liberalisation of censorship, divorce, homosexuality, immigration and abortion. Wilson carefully managed and polished his public image very carefully as a modernistic leader and linked himself to the burgeoning pride of a 'New Britain' typified by awarding 1965 MBE's to the Beatles.

THE BEATLES were quite simply the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed pop group of all time. The 'Fab Four' revolutionized the sound, style, and attitude of popular music and opened rock and roll's doors to a tidal wave of British rock acts who dominated the 1960s music charts worldwide. As icons of the 1960s counterculture, they became a catalyst for various social and political arenas, fueling such movements as women's liberation, gay Liberation and environmentalism. To many people the Beatles were the 1960s.

TWIGGY born Lesley Hornby is best remembered as one of the first international supermodels and a fashion icon of the 1960s and 70s becoming prominent in the 1960s at the age of 16. In 1966, she was named 'The Face of 1966' by the Daily Express and voted British Woman of the Year. By 1967, Twiggy had modelled in France, Japan, and the U.S., and landed on the covers of Vogue and The Tatler. Her fame had spread worldwide. After modelling, Twiggy went on to enjoy a successful career as a screen, stage, and television actress.

CHRISTINE KEELER was a model and showgirl whose involvement with a British government minister discredited the Conservative government of Harold Macmillan in 1963, in what is known as the Profumo Affair. Profumo, the Secretary of State for War, entered into an affair with Keeler, not realising that she was also sleeping with a drug dealer as well as a naval attaché at the embassy of the Soviet Union. In March 1963, Profumo stated to the House of Commons that there was "no impropriety whatever" in his relationship with Keeler. By June he was forced to admit he had lied and resigned. The affair was dramatised in the movie 'Scandal.'

DALEKS - one of the most iconic television 'monsters' of all time. First appearing in the second tale of Dr. Who, they immediately captured the imagination of the British public as well as the media who couldn't write enough about them. Dalek toys, annuals and playsuits were produced and although seemingly 'killed off' in the series the BBC were quick to commission writer Terry Nation to produce a 'comeback' story in 1964 in good time to capture the Christmas market. The Daleks have hardly been off our TV screens for the past 50 years!

JAMES BOND first appeared on the big screen in October 1962. Dr. No was a low budget movie that became a huge financial success in spite of receiving mixed critical reviews. This success was due in no small part to the casting of charismatic Sean Connery in the title role. The movie delivered sex, violence and colourful action sequences all delivered with a dry wit and also established many iconic sequences such as the distinctive James Bond Theme, the gun barrel sequence and the scene of Ursula Andress emerging from the water. The series is now the most successful film series of all time with the 23rd feature now in production.

DAVID BAILEY was a photographer credited with capturing and helping to create the 'Swinging London' of the 1960s: a culture of high fashion and celebrity chic. Bailey socialised with actors, musicians and royalty, and soon found himself elevated to celebrity status 'snapping' people from The Beatles to notorious East End gangsters the Kray twins. Bailey has been responsible for record album sleeve art and has also directed several television commercials and documentaries. The film Blowup (1966) is largely based on Bailey.

THE KRAY TWINS were the foremost perpetrators of organised crime in London's East End during the 1950s and 1960s. Ronnie and Reggie were involved in armed robberies, arson, protection rackets, violent assaults and murders. As West End nightclub owners, they mixed with prominent entertainers and politicians and even became celebrities in their own right, being interviewed on television. They were arrested in 1968 and the following year were sentenced to life imprisonment.

THE MINI was made by the British Motor Corporation from 1959 and is considered a British icon of the 1960s. Its space-saving front-wheel-drive layout influenced a generation of car-makers. A total of 1,581,887 Minis were sold in Britain after its launch in 1959. The last new one to be registered was sold in 2004. The vehicle was popularised in the feature film The Italian Job and in 1999 the Mini was voted the second most influential car of the 20th Century, behind the Model T Ford.

ALFRED HITCHCOCK English filmmaker and producer who pioneered many techniques in the suspense and psychological thriller genres. Although the 1950s were considered his peak years, in the 60s he produced his most iconic feature; Psycho, with unprecedented scenes of violence, the early demise of the heroine, the innocent lives extinguished by a disturbed murderer - all of which were copied in many subsequent horror films. He came first in a 2007 poll of film critics as: "Unquestionably the greatest filmmaker to emerge from these islands." MovieMaker has hailed him as the most influential filmmaker of all time, and he is widely regarded as one of cinema's most significant artists.

MARY QUANT British fashion designer who was instrumental in the mod fashion movement and one of the designers who took credit for inventing the miniskirt and hot pants. Mary Quant brought fun to fashion in the 1960s, showing a generation how to dress to please themselves. Her designs appealled to the newly important youth market of young people of all classes who enjoyed independence, employment and disposable incomes.

ENGLAND WORLD CUP TEAM To date the only England team to win the World Cup was the side of 1966. Geoff Hurst was expected to be a squad player for the tournament, but an injury to Jimmy Greaves offered an opportunity for the West Ham United frontman, and an England legend was created. Hurst's hat-trick in the final has not been equalled to date. The victory made stars of many of the England players not least of all their charismatic captain Bobby Moore.

CARNABY STREET proved popular for followers of both the Mod and hippie styles. Many independent fashion boutiques and designers such as Mary Quant, Lord John and Merc were located in Carnaby Street as well as various underground music bars. With bands such as Small Faces, The Who, and Rolling Stones appearing in the area to work, shop, and socialize, it became one of Swinging London's coolest destinations associated with the Swinging Sixties.

THE WHO epitomised the Mod movement of the mid 1960s. The group were formed in 1964 and soon had a series of top ten hit singles, boosted in part by pirate radio stations such as Radio Caroline. The band had an impact on fashion from their earliest days with their embrace of pop art and their groundbreaking use of the now common Union Jack for clothing. The Who have seven albums on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, more than any other artist with the exceptions of the Beatles, Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones and Bruce Springsteen. Rolling Stone magazine wrote: "Along with The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, The Who complete the holy trinity of British rock."

MODS a subculture that peaked in the UK in the mid 1960s, elements of which include fashion, pop music, (soul, ska, British beat music and R&B) and Italian motor scooters. Two new youth subcultures existed in the early 1960s: mods and rockers. News stories from May 1964 showed mods and rockers rioting in seaside resort towns on the south coast of England, such as Margate, and newspaper editorials fanned the flames of hysteria with pictures of clashes accompanied by sensationalist headlines.

ALF GARNETT was a creation of comedy scriptwriter Johnny Speight. With Warren Mitchell's brilliantly realised interpretation of the Garnett character, British television was graced with an iconic creation, which was paradoxically as repugnant as it was well loved. The TV series 'Till Death Us Do Part', of which Garnett was the central figure held up a revealing mirror to the darker face of British society. Alf Garnett was the direct inspiration for Archie Bunker and his name has become a standard description of anyone ranting at the world in general.

GEORGE BEST was arguably the first celebrity footballer, bringing a pop star image to the game. He acquired an agent and a secretary and went into business, opening two boutiques. But the accompanying champagne and playboy lifestyle degenerated into alcoholism, bankruptcy, a prison sentence and, eventually, a liver transplant. As a footballer he had speed, superb dribbling skills, the ability to accelerate past players and was adept with both feet and is widely regarded as one of the greatest players to have graced British and world football.

MICHAEL CAINE the London born actor became well known for a number of popular and notable critically acclaimed performances throughout the sixties. One memorable role was that of Alfie Elkins in the film Alfie, which tells the story of a young man who leads a promiscuous lifestyle until several life reversals make him rethink his purposes and goals in life. Alfie frequently breaks the fourth wall by speaking directly to the camera to justify his actions. However, he is best remembered for his iconic line in The Italian Job; "You're only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!" which has been voted one of the top ten lines in movie history.

NOT ONLY...BUT ALSO... regarded by many as one of the few genuinely groundbreaking comedy shows and possibly the definitive 1960s sketch comedy. Starring Peter Cook and Dudley Moore and attracting a number of well-known guests, including John Lennon, Ronnie Barker and Peter Sellers, but the true stars were Pete and Dud, two cloth-capped sages from Dagenham, who discussed weighty topics over a pint such as how the bottoms of Rubens' nudes seem to follow you around the room.

THE AVENGERS Few television series have transcended their original concept and evolved to actually help shape and define the era in which they flourished. The 'dream team' of Patrick Macnee and Diana Rigg saw the series reach its peak in the mid sixties, the two stars chemistry was wry, witty, sexually charged and immediate. A sleek and stylish combination of intelligence, beauty and humour that was simply the definitve example of everything the swinging sixties had to offer.

About Reminisce This Contributions Contact
Return to Top of Page
ABOUT 60s ICONS

This is by no means meant to be a definitive list but a general overview. You may agree or disagree with the editors choice of 1960s icons. If you would like to add to the list and get a credit for doing so, just email us and tell us in no more than 60 words why your choice should join the icons of the 1960s.

Just click Email

Or Discuss

Page Design: Laurence Marcus 2011

All articles are copyright © Reminisce This or their individual authors where stated
and may not be reproduced without permission.
www.reminiscethis.co.uk