introduction to the endless sixties

Es­ti­mated reading time is 4 minutes.

THIS IS A CON­CEPT SITE—and anyone who was into rock in the ’60s or is a record col­lector now knows some­thing about ‘con­cept albums’—whose pur­pose is to present ar­ti­cles, es­says, and pic­to­rials about “the Six­ties,” ac­cen­tu­ating the pos­i­tive about the people, music, books, movies, art, and events that oc­curred then and which live on in fact or spirit decades later.

Of course, first I would have to de­fine the Six­ties: chrono­log­i­cally, they began on Jan­uary 1, 1961, al­though con­cep­tu­ally, the­mat­i­cally, or cul­tur­ally, the first few years of the decade were more an ex­ten­sion of The Fifties

Rea­son­able starting points for the era we now refer to as the Sixties—and it’s okay to cap­i­talize those worlds as a reference—based on events have been of­fered by others, the two most common being the as­sas­si­na­tion of Pres­i­dent Kennedy on No­vember 22, 1963, and the first ap­pear­ance of the Bea­tles on The Ed Sul­livan Show on Feb­ruary 6, 1964.

I’m writing this be­cause, as I am working on sev­eral other pieces for this blog con­cur­rently, I keep having to use var­ious terms for the years or the era that is the focus of this blog. So I need to dif­fer­en­tiate be­tween ‘the ’60s’ and ‘the six­ties’ in a manner that makes sense and al­lows for con­sis­tency in the es­says and ar­ti­cles that will follow here on The End­less Six­ties. 1


The Sixties: cover of The Guardian newspaper featuring the Black Panthers.
The Na­tional Guardian was an in­de­pen­dent weekly news­paper es­tab­lished in 1948 in New York City in con­nec­tion with the 1948 Pres­i­den­tial cam­paign of Henry A. Wal­lace of the Pro­gres­sive Party. By 1970, it was an “in­de­pen­dent rad­ical newsweekly cov­ering the Black Panthers.

The ’60s, the sixties, and The Sixties

So, here’s my break­down of how I in­tend to use three pri­mary terms for re­fer­ring to the time as some­thing merely chrono­log­ical, and as some­thing more or less cul­tural and political:

1.  The term the 60s is chrono­log­ical and refers to the years 1960 through 1969. 2

2.  The term the Six­ties is cultural/socio-political and refers to an era that began (more or less) with the ap­pear­ance of the Bea­tles on the Ed Sul­livan Show in Feb­ruary 1964, and (more or less) ended with the re-election of Nixon to the Pres­i­dency in 1972. 3

3.  The term the six­ties (oc­ca­sion­ally “sixties-ish”) is also cul­tural and will be used as the ad­jec­tival form of the second term. 4

There might be other vari­a­tions to break up re­dun­dant use: I may say “1960-1969,” or use “The Six­ties” with a cap­ital “T” in an at­tempt to make the pos­i­tive as­pects of the era to seem a wee bit bigger and more im­por­tant than some be­lieve it was, or I may say “sixties-like.” I am, as al­ways, open to sug­ges­tions. 5

Keeping that per­sonal note, I was born in 1951 and so spent the first half of the 1960s as a child. I grad­u­ated from high school in 1969 a virgin who’d never smoked pot, never dropped acid, never even been drunk!

By the end of 1971, I had turned on and tuned in, made love to the beau­tiful Chris­tine G, and dropped out of college—along with drop­ping out of many of the goings-on and goals and gen­eral keeping-up-with-Jonseses of main­stream America.

So my Six­ties didn’t re­ally begin until the ’60s were over!

I wasn’t alone in this . . .

Be­cause the Six­ties didn’t just end with the ’60s. Share on X

FEA­TURED IMAGE: The photo at the top of this page is from Stanley Kubrick’s 2001 – A Space Odyssey. In the final scene, the “star child” looks upon Earth in the cosmic void, “sym­bolic of the ex­plo­sion of aware­ness needed to launch hu­mans into space with a new phi­los­ophy for the 21st cen­tury.” (“Ex­plo­sion of Aware­ness”) Re­leased in 1968, it can be ar­gued to be the defining film of the era we refer to as the Sixties.



1   I toyed with naming this site The Fab­u­lous Furry Freaky Six­ties or some such, but it seemed silly and de­riv­a­tive and pos­sibly lit­iga­tive, so I set­tled on The End­less Sixties.

2   Tech­ni­cally, a decade be­gins with a “1” and ends with a “0,” meaning the ’60s are 1961-1970.

3   The events that de­fine the Six­ties vary ac­cording to the ob­server: some his­to­rians se­lect the as­sas­si­na­tion of JFK in 1963 or the LBJ’s Civil Rights Act of 1964 (or Op-Art, or the mini-skirt) for the be­gin­ning, and every­thing from the fi­asco at the Rolling Stones “free con­cert” at Al­ta­mont in 1969 to the of­fi­cial break up of the Bea­tles in 1970 (or the emer­gency evac­u­a­tion of Amer­ican mil­i­tary and re­lated people from Vietnam in 1975).

4   As for the word sixties—as many of us who were par­tic­i­pants in the events of The Six­ties are now in our six­ties, I hope that should I refer to us sex­a­ge­nar­ians as with this word my readers will understand

5   For new readers, get used to the foot­notes: I use some be­cause they are ap­pro­priate and some be­cause they’re funny. But I also use some be­cause they’re an af­fec­ta­tion that sep­a­rate my web­sites from mil­lions (and mil­lions and mil­lions) of other blogs.



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