Top Picture: Cliff Richard as pictured in Rave magazine
Second Picture: Who remembers the old ABC Cinema?
The Pop Magazine Explosion
Dozens of pop magazines sprang up in the early 60s to cover the growth of pop music.
In February 1963 The Beatles were No 2 in the charts with Please Please Me and an anonymous reporter from Boyfriend went to interview them for "an exclusive scoop" and her impressions are very revealing.
"They are almost frightening-looking young men," she said, "but when they smile, which is not often, they look wholesome and nice. But the rest of the time they look wicked and dreadful and evil, you almost expect them to leap up and chant magic spells." The Boyfriend article was one of the first in-depth articles about the group. It was well-written and made it clear just how weird the Beatles were when they first arrived.
The magazine was aimed at young women, with colour pin-ups, ads for cosmetics and hair lacquer, and plentiful picture stories. Boyfriend picked up on the hysteria surrounding the Beatles and invested heavily in the British pop boom.
In summer 1963 the magazine produced "Big New Beat", the first of several pop supplements "about the Northern Raves". The Beatles were on the cover and inside were group shots and candid close-ups with large type comments: "They have a knack of looking as if they'd just landed on this planet. They're otherworldly, that's what they are." Between 1963 and 1965, Britain had a vigorous pop and teen press, with at least a dozen weeklies and/or monthlies all bringing their readers the latest pop news. Selling between 70,000 copies up to 200,000 a week The Record Mirror and The New Musical Express charted the unprecedented rise in singles sales reaching a peak of more than 70million in 1964.
These magazines created an all-inclusive, environment and reading them today, they are historical documents yet retain the fervour of the moment. By the early 1960s, there were already several weeklies catering to the teenage female market; who remembers Marilyn, Mirabelle, Romeo, Roxy, and Valentine. Boyfriend was launched in 1959, with Marty - based on the popularity of Marty Wilde - following in 1960.
The newer titles were more pop-heavy: as well as "love scene" picture stories and problem pages. The star staples were Elvis, Cliff Richard, Adam Faith, John Leyton and Eden Kane. Launched in 1926, Melody Maker was the longest-running pop magazine with its leanings to jazz, folk and blues, it was not pure pop; that was taken up by the New Musical Express, Record Mirror and Disc All were in black and white with weekly charts and much pop news: and it was aimed at young men as well as women.
Melody Maker was serious about music and it made headway during the early 60s trad boom. The New Musical Express had great insider gossip, "Tail-Pieces by the Alley Cat" and Disc was poppier, with prominent charts and front-page news stories.
Two important new weeklies were launched in January 1964. Jackie ("for go-ahead teens") ", was a streamlined version of Boyfriend: all the same elements but with larger pages and unusual, candid shots of stars like the Beatles. It was a winning mixture: by the late 60s, its circulation was up to half a million. Fabulous was a new tabloid pop paper it contained at least one pin-up of the Beatles in every issue for two years. Several issues, like that of 15 February 1964, were almost totally devoted to the group with 11 colour pages, and a central double-page poster (now hard to find, as they were usually stuck on the wall). Selling for a shilling, Fabulous was pricier than the competition but it had more pages, better quality paper and a regular team of photographers. It also introduced a more direct rapport between the stars and their audience. Features showing stars in their own homes were interspersed with old school photos and pop stars' musings on ideal girls. At the same time, Fabulous had guest editors: the Kinks, the Animals, Goldie and the Gingerbreads, Manfred Mann and the Who. Fashion was given prominent space, not only in the adverts, but in spreads directly related to star "gear".
With the British pop invasion of the USA Fabulous published its "Shaking London Town" issue, with a spread about Ready Steady Go!, as well as Vicki Wickham's and a "POP guide to London", which featured hairdressing salons, recording studios, clubs, mod shops, and the Fabulous offices themselves.
This view of pop culture saw the launch of another magazine in 1964. At 2s 6d, Rave was five times as expensive as the weekly music papers, but in return you got an 80-page quality monthly.The first issue showed the Beatles with 007 badges, inside were Dusty's (not me) fashion tips, a feature on star holidays articles by Alan Freeman's and Billy Fury.
Like Fabulous, Rave prominently featured young women writers. Cathy McGowan was a regular. However, if the ads for guitars were anything to go by, Rave also appealed to young men and it had a circulation of 125,000 by 1966.
During 1966, Fabulous became Fabulous 208; Boyfriend merged with the newly launched Petticoat, Marilyn with Valentine. Disc joined forces with Music Echo (which had already taken over s Mersey Beat) and went colour on the front and back pages.
Would you believe there was actually a film made in 1952 starring Margaret Rutherford and Richard Hearne (Mr Pastry) where the whole story revolved around the publication of a magazune called "The Teenager"
Now how many of those magazines did you remember?
Stay in touch,
In clearing out the loft this week I found a box of old school stuff which contained a programme (signed by Bill Greer!) of the Messiah performance. It was interesting to read all the names listed and of course wondering what happened to some of them.
News and Views:
A foreclosed property owned by Connie Stevens in Indian Springs, Wyoming will be auctioned by a bank there August 25. Connie reportedly still owes around $2.8 million on the property.
On this day 12th August 1960-1965.
12/08/1960the number one single was Please Don't Tease - Cliff Richard & the Shadows and the number one album was South Pacific Soundtrack. The top rated TV show was Rawhide (ITV) and the box office smash was Psycho. A pound of today's money was worth £13.68 and Tottenham Hotspur were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions. The big news story of the day was First communications satellite launched.
12/08/1961the number one single was You Don't Know - Helen Shapiro and the number one album was Black & White Minstrel Show - George Mitchell Minstrels. The top rated TV show was Top Secret (AR) and the box office smash was One Hundred and One Dalmations. A pound of today's money was worth £13.25 and Ipswich were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
12/08/1962the number one single was I Remember You - Frank Ifield and the number one album was West Side Story Soundtrack. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was Lawrence of Arabia. A pound of today's money was worth £12.89 and Everton were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
12/08/1963the number one single was Sweets For My Sweet - Searchers and the number one album was Please Please Me - The Beatles. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was The Great Escape. A pound of today's money was worth £12.64 and Liverpool were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
12/08/1964the number one single was A Hard Day's Night - Beatles and the number one album was A Hard Day's Night - Beatles. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was Dr Strangelove. A pound of today's money was worth £12.24 and Manchester United were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions. The big news story of the day was Novelist Ian Fleming dies.
12/08/1965the number one single was Help - The Beatles and the number one album was The Sound of Music Soundtrack. The top rated TV show was Riviera Police (AR) and the box office smash was The Sound of Music. A pound of today's money was worth £11.69 and Liverpool were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions. The big news story of the day was First woman High Court Judge.