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Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Web Page 984

Top Picture: The Boyfriend

Second Picture: The NME

The Pop Magazine Explosion 1960-65

Dozens of magazines sprang up in the early 60s to cover the growth of pop music. By the early 1960s, there were already several weeklies catering to the teenage female market - long established as being in the forefront of youth consumerism: Marilyn, Mirabelle, Romeo, Roxy and Valentine. Boyfriend was launched in 1959, with Marty - based on the popularity of Marty Wilde - following in 1960.

In February 1963 The Beatles were No 2 in the charts with Please Please Me and an anonymous reporter from Boyfriend goes to interview them for "an exclusive scoop" and her impressions are 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 ("Pop A La Mod") 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 picture stories. Boyfriend picked up on the hysteria surrounding the Beatles and invested heavily in the British pop boom that they helped to create.

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, standing amid the rubble of Euston Road. Inside were group shots and close-ups with large type comments. One shot from the session was used by EMI for the front cover of the Beatles' Twist and Shout EP released in July 1963. It showed the group leaping into the air and it remains one of the key 60s images to this day.

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 reported the unprecedented rise in singles sales in the years after the Beatles' breakthrough: reaching a peak of more than 70million in 1964. These magazines created an all-inclusive, environment of pop. Reading them today, they are historical documents yet retain the fervour of the moment.

The newer titles were more pop-heavy: as well as "love scene" picture stories and problem pages, there were innovative layouts and colour photos. The star staples were Elvis, Cliff Richard, Adam Faith, John Leyton, Eden Kane: the manufactured dream teen pop idols of the early 60s were perfect for the girls' mags, leaving the weekly music papers somewhat becalmed.

Of these, there were several. Launched in 1926, Melody Maker was the longest-running: with its commitment to jazz, folk and blues, it was not pure pop. That was taken up by the New Musical Express (est 1952), Record and Show Mirror (est 1953 as Record Mirror) and Disc (est 1958). All were black and white with weekly charts and plenty of news: aimed at young men as well as women.

Basically you paid your money and you made your choice. Melody Maker was serious about music and jazz and it made headway during the early 60s trad boom. The New Musical Express was hamstrung by its prominent front cover ad, but it had great insider gossip: "Tail-Pieces by the Alley Cat". Disc was poppier, with prominent charts and front-page news stories.

The Beatles' revolutionised pop publishing. Boyfriend's Big Beat No 2 (autumn '63) promised "12 colour pages and all the mod pop that's popping". Inside were Cliff and Elvis but coming up fast were the Searchers, Freddie and the Dreamers and the Rolling Stones.

Two important new weeklies were launched in January 1964. Jackie ("for go-ahead teens") was published as a girls' "comic", a streamlined version of Boyfriend: all the same elements but with larger pages and unusual, candid shots of the stars. It was a winning mixture: by the late 60s, its circulation was up to half a million.
Fabulous was a completely new tabloid pop paper it contained at least one pin-up of the Beatles in every issue for two years. Several issues were almost totally devoted to the group, with quirky features, 11 colour pages, and a central double-page poster (now hard to find, as they were usually stuck on the wall). Selling for one 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. In the all-Beatles 15 February 1964 edition, there were articles about "famous escapes" (how the Beatles got away from the fans after a show), Brian Epstein speaking in his own words, and a forensic breakdown of Paul, Ringo, George and John's height, weight, eye colour, inside leg etc. Features showing stars in their own homes were interspersed with old school photos and pop stars' musings on ideal girls.

Fabulous saw pop not just as a teen process but as part of something wider. Fashion was given prominent space, not only in the adverts, but in spreads directly related to star "gear". A double page spread on "bee-oootiful beat babes" showed the Beatles in their corduroy jackets and then told you where to buy them - cut for the young female shape of course.

After the Beatles cracked America Britain became Pop Island and the bombsite-ridden capital a youth mecca. On 3 October 1964, Fabulous published its "Shaking London Town" issue, with a spread about the best TV programme of the day, Ready Steady Go!
At 2s 6d, Rave was five times as expensive as the weekly music papers, but in return you got an 80-page A4-size monthly, with excellent quality paper, meaty content and great photographs. The first issue showed the cross-media spread of British pop culture with a front cover shot of the Beatles with 007 badges. Paul McCartney has a spy camera, while Ringo's gun shoots. Inside are Dusty's fashion tips, a feature on star holidays and a regular monthly event, DJ Alan Freeman's "Heart to Heart": this month, Billy Fury - '"The Billy No One Knows".

Rave went further and deeper with articles about Stuart Sutcliffe, the lost Beatle, a fashion round table with John Stephen and the Pretty Things, and notices about up-and-coming groups such as the Yardbirds. 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 acquired a circulation of 125,000 by 1965.

The music weeklies responded to this challenge by hiring new writers. Disc sharpened up its act with bang-up-to-the-minute news stories on the front page, race-track-style chart rundowns, a contentious readers' postbag and incisive singles reviews by Penny Valentine.

Melody Maker developed a good line in eye-catching headlines and increased its circulation to nearly 100,000. Record Mirror also had colour and was well-regarded for its thorough charts page.

1966 was the year of change. Singles' sales dropped by 10million. The papers began to feature stories about star exhaustion and unavailability: the surliness of the Kinks, the Who and the Rolling Stones. A new micro-generation of more cheerful groups appeared, apparently unburdened by significance: the Troggs, Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich, the Monkees. Sentimental ballads returned, Soul engaged the hardcore mods, while the drug culture began to take an effect. Rave was particularly hostile to the last development and vainly predicted, in its January 1967 issue, that "psychedelic music and psychedelic happenings won't happen".
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You Write:

Griff Writes:

The fire lighting saga made me chuckle Pete. The lack of heating in our houses in those far off days would not be tolerated today and that's a fact isn't it. Surprising when you consider that loft insulation to keep the heat actually in the home was not even thought about or considered years ago and I can remember in my bedroom in Station Rd. the build up of ice on the inside bedroom window in Winter on a frosty morning and the rush down stairs to stand next to the newly lit fire to thaw out holding a cup of hot tea.
When my Mum moved to a modern 1950's bungalow in Waterlooville the very large roof void was not insulated and the place use to freeze inside even with electric storage heating. I eventually insulated the loft in 1973 for her.
Now you would think that the vast majority of houses would have had their roof attic spaces insulated by now wouldn't you? but it is not always the case even today with all the publicity that is given out about home insulation and being "Green".

My Daughter has just moved into a fully renovated 1840's Stable in our village which comprises of a large converted stable and an attached Stable Cottage. We have just discovered that the Stable Cottage roof has no roof insulation at all! The reason for this is there is no ceiling attic hatch to actually get in there to do the job. The loft hatch is about to be installed for access and you may all wish to know that B&Q are selling 8" thick rolls of roof insulation for £1 a roll. Bargain.

John Writes:

There was a very interesting article from a number of us old Manor Court Oiks regarding good manners and discipline,
As a young man growing up on the Highbury Estate I was no angel but then I was not a thug,bully or a criminal, I put a lot of my up being down to my late Grandfather who's moral standards were second to none, he was not a religious zealot but a kind and respectful person to whom you could look up to and emulate.

Many years later I now find myself working as a PCSO for the Derbyshire Police here in Chesterfield policing the area around the famous crooked Spire. Through my job I meet all members of the public who's attitudes and behaviour are so varied that its difficult so say who's normal and who's not.

I also meet a lot of younger folk who are on both sides of the spectrum ranging from the Arrogant rude belligerents to Lads and Lasses who have a goal in life to do something positive.

Mary Writes:-

I meant to write this earlier but have just read Chris and Toms` comments on manners. Yes, we certainly lived under very strict conditions, and I vowed that if I was ever lucky enough to have children some things would be different. My mother had been a wartime teacher and my father was ex-army so I didn’t argue with them. You never answered back. You accepted what you were told and got on with it. I can remember when I left Court Lane School and went to Cowplain Girls that there was a careers day to which parents were invited. A gentleman came from the employment services to give advice. When my mother came in with me it didn’t take her long to tell him that my parents would be giving me all the advice I needed, thank you very much! It was a bit like Chris’s experience. Actually I had to find a job myself with no help from anyone but I was really happy working in St Mary’s Hospital. My parents wanted me to work in a bank. Later on I was a dispenser for Boots the Chemists and met up with 2 friends from Court Lane. On the subject of clothes, parents picked them no say there! Then there was the love life, parents had a lot to say then. My mother sent my boyfriend off one morning and he was told never to return. His only crime was that my mother said he was interfering with my school homework. We were both heartbroken but we accepted it. We didn’t argue with parents. I do not feel in any way resentful when I remember the past as those were also days when people were very polite. You never heard bad language or witnessed revolting behaviour. Once when visiting my parents grave I said "I’m sure I disappointed you when I didn’t get a bank job but I did get a banker,(my kind, loving boyfriend of the past 15 yrs)" My children were given the family allowance when teenagers and chose their own clothes. I never interfered with their love life and I always encouraged them. As for the old boyfriend he found me after 48yrs and told me that he still loved me and had never forgotten me (I had never forgotten him) so perhaps things didn’t turn out too badly after all!

News and Views:

Lulu was given the Woman of the Year Lifetime Achievement award in ceremonies in London on 18th October 18.

On this Day 30th October 1960-1965

the number one single was Only the Lonely - Roy Orbison and the number one album was South Pacific Soundtrack. The top rated TV show was Bootsie & Snudge 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 number one single was Walkin' Back to Happiness - Helen Shapiro and the number one album was The Shadows - Shadows. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street and the box office smash was One Hundred and One Dalmations. A pound of today's money was worth £13.25 and Ipswich Town were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.The big news story of the day was Stalin removed from Lenin's tomb.

the number one single was Telstar - The Tornadoes and the number one album was Out of the Shadows - Shadows. The top rated TV show was The Royal Variety Performance 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.

the number one single was Do You Love Me? - Brian Poole & the Tremoloes and the number one album was Please Please Me - The Beatles. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street 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.

On 30
the number one single was (There's) Always Something There to Remind Me - Sandy Shaw and the number one album was A Hard Day's Night - Beatles. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street 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 number one single was Tears - Ken Dodd and the number one album was The Sound of Music Soundtrack. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street 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.

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