A hit-and-miss oral history of the “youthquake” year, from a predominantly British perspective.
Former Sunday Times Magazine editor in chief Morgan and Leve (It Could Be Worse, You Could Be Me, 2010) show how the advent of the birth control pill, the ascent of youth-oriented designers and models and photographers, the sex scandals that rocked the British government (but barely registered in the States), and the general feeling that life as well as youth were short were all integral elements of this seismic shift. Maintains Andrew Loog Oldham, former manager of the Rolling Stones, “It wasn’t the Beatles and it wasn’t the Rolling Stones, it was Vidal Sassoon, it was Mary Quant, David Bailey, the models, they were the start of it.” All are represented here, along with musicians who have covered this period more colorfully in their own books (Keith Richards, Bill Wyman, Eric Clapton) and a smattering of Americans, including journalists Robert Christgau and Gay Talese, both of whom could undoubtedly write books on the topic with greater depth and insight. “If I write my book, if it will be about anything, it will be about the Beatles and the Stones and the Supremes in ’64,” says Christgau, referencing the year that much of what is detailed in this book had more impact in America. He also testifies to his part in the sexual revolution: “I was having sex at least every two weeks throughout that entire period.” The authors mostly disappear from the text after proclaiming that “[i]n just one year, the landscape of our lives, loves and looks changed forever.” However, there’s no indication of when these interviews took place, whether they were all for this specific book or why these particular people were selected (Stevie Nicks in a book about 1963?).
Whatever the nuggets of interest, this reads like an endless magazine article in need of editorial shaping and some kind of organizing principle.