The soundtrack to the book about the year that shaped the rest of the century.
Pop was everything in 1966. It was a way of looking at the world, all funnelled into the single: ideas, attitudes, lyrics and experimentation that in the more indulgent years to come would be stretched out into a whole album. Condensed within the 7-inch format, the possibilities of 1966 were expressed with an extraordinary electricity and intensity – whether it be the flourishing of Holland-Dozier-Holland at Motown, the breakthrough of black American dance culture, the start of psychedelia and the beginnings of rock, or just simple mod pop.
This compilation accompanies my book 1966: The Year The Decade Exploded, which explores the various events and themes of the year in 12 essays, based around one record a month. The record is, of course, a 45 – and some of them are included here, such as ‘The Quiet Explosion’ (Chapter 1: January – CND, Protest and the Conspiracy of Silence) or ‘I’ll Be Your Mirror’ (Chapter 6: June – The Velvet Underground and Andy Warhol’s America).
It is also designed to stand alone – a mix of the familiar and the obscure, informed by memory. I turned 13 in late summer 1966 and spent much of the year bathed in the music I saw on television and heard on Radio Caroline South. The 45 records beamed in on that station – James Brown’s ‘I Got You (I Feel Good)’, the Association’s ‘Along Comes Mary’, ? and the Mysterians’ ‘96 Tears’, to name but three – went very deep, and that mixture of mainstream pop, mod pop, West Coast, soul and Motown has stayed with me as an ideal.