1966-70 Was The Greatest Time For Music And These Records Prove It

Installation image for You Say You Want a Revolution? Records and Rebels 1966 - 70 10 MB Photo
(Image: © (c) Victoria and Albert Museum)

The 60s. If you can remember them you weren’t really there. Lucky then, that the 60s generation took notes and won’t shut up about it. With all the modesty of a pissed-up posse of English football fans, the Baby Boomers are only too happy to talk about ’66 and all that. (“They think it’s all over – it isn’t now. And we’ll probably have to put up with it for quite a while yet…”)

The latest reminder of how they changed the world is ‘You Say You Want A Revolution? Records and Rebels 1966-1970’, the major new exhibition at London’s V&A museum that runs from now until February 2017.

The subtitle ‘Records and Rebels’ says it all. For while the exhibition explores the social change of the era – the protest movements, civil unrest, alternative lifestyles and drug use – in some ways the most astonishing thing about the period is the soundtrack.

Because we know they changed the world. They liberated women, marched on Washington, put civil rights on the map, smoked dope, dropped acid and fought The Man at every turn. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

But what is easy to forget – or to wrongly ascribe to the 70s – is the amazing music that accompanied them. That by 1970, rock music had in many ways run its course: heavy rock, metal, punk, folk-rock, country-rock, psychedelia, electronica – it had all been done.

Scattered throughout the exhibition – on the walls, around door arches, and in record bins, are almost 200 albums on loan from the John Peel Collection. Peel was the establishment’s voice of the underground during this period, first on Radio London and then BBC Radio 1 from 1967, with shows like Top Gear, Night Ride and The Perfumed Garden routinely giving new music from the likes of Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix and the Faces their first plays.

One of the messages of the exhibition is that change is possible – that we could have a revolution of our own. But to see these randomly chosen albums from this five-year period (1966-70) has the opposite effect: it makes you understand why all new music is doomed. We can’t compete with the late 60s so we might as well stop trying.

Listen to our Spotify playlist, scroll through these albums and ask yourself: how will the next five years of rock be remembered in 50 years time? What will they have at an exhibition of the 2010s to compete with Woodstock, the underground press and flower power?

Glastonbury, Facebook and Superdry, that’s what.

RECORDS ON LOAN TO THE V&A EXHIBITION FROM THE JOHN PEEL ARCHIVE

The full list of records from the Peel Archive on show at the V&A:

  • Love Chronicles - Al Stewart
  • Bells - Albert Ayler
  • Universal Conciousness - Alice Coltrane
  • Phallus De - Amon Duul
  • I Never Loved A Man The Way I Loved You - Aretha Franklin
  • Smiley Smile - The Beach Boys
  • Revolver - The Beatles
  • Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band - The Beatles
  • White Album - The Beatles
  • Abbey Road - The Beatles
  • Let It Be (Box Set) - The Beatles
  • Jack Orion - Bert Jansch
  • Big Brother and The Holding Company - Big Brother and The Holding Company
  • Cheap Thrills - Big Brother and The Holding Company
  • Black Sabbath - Black Sabbath
  • Sacrifice - Black Widow
  • We Are Ever So Clean - Blossom Toes
  • The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan - Bob Dylan
  • The Times They Are A-Changin - Bob Dylan
  • Bringing it All Back Home - Bob Dylan
  • Blonde on Blonde - Bob Dylan
  • Gorilla - Bonzo Dog Doo/Dah Band
  • Doughnut in Granny’s Greenhouse - Bonzo Dog Doo/Dah Band
  • JouJouka - Brian Jones Presents the Pipes of Pan
  • Buffalo Springfield - Buffalo Springfield
  • Again - Buffalo Springfield
  • Living the Blues - Canned Heat
  • Trout Mask Replica - Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band
  • I Feel Like I’m Fixin to Die - Country Joe & The Fish
  • Fresh Cream - Cream
  • Disraeli Gears - Cream
  • Green River - Credence Clearwater Revival
  • Crosby, Stills & Nash - Crosby, Stills & Nash
  • Déjà vu - Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
  • David Bowie - David Bowie
  • The Man Who Sold the World - David Bowie
  • In Rock - Deep Purple
  • Sunshine Superman - Donovan
  • Mellow Yellow - Donovan
  • A Gift from a Flower to a Garden - Donovan
  • In Memphis - Elvis Presley

Installation at You Say You Want a Revolution? Records and Rebels 1966 - 70, V&A, London

Installation at You Say You Want a Revolution? Records and Rebels 1966 - 70, V&A, London
(Image: © (c) Victoria and Albert Museum, London)
  • Unhalfbricking - Fairport Convention
  • Fairport Convention - Fairport Convention
  • What we did on our Holidays - Fairport Convention
  • Leige and Lief - Fairport Convention
  • Music in a Doll’s House - Family
  • Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac - Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac
  • Hot Rats - Frank Zappa
  • Free - Free
  • Fire & Water - Free
  • All Things Must Pass - George Harrison
  • Grateful Dead - The Grateful Dead
  • Anthem of the Sun - The Grateful Dead
  • Aoxomoxoa - The Grateful Dead
  • Live Dead - The Grateful Dead
  • Workingman’s Dead - The Grateful Dead
  • American Beauty - The Grateful Dead
  • In Search of Space - Hawkwind
  • Be Glad the Song has No Ending - Incredible String Band
  • Heavy - Iron Butterfly
  • Chronophagie - Structure Sonores Lasry-Baschet
  • Say It Loud - James Brown
  • Live & Lowdown at the Apollo - James Brown
  • I Got Dem Ol’ Kozmic Blues Again Mama! - Janis Joplin
  • Pearl - Janis Joplin
  • Surrealistic Pillow - Jefferson Airplane
  • Volunteers - Jefferson Airplane
  • After Bathing at Baxter’s - Jefferson Airplane
  • This Was - Jethro Tull
  • Stand Up - Jethro Tull
  • Jim Kweskin’s America - Jim Kweskin
  • Are You Experienced? - The Jimi Hendrix Experience
  • Axis Bold as Love - Jimi Hendrix
  • Electric Ladyland - The Jimi Hendrix Experience
  • Band of Gypsies - Jimi Hendrix
  • David’s Album - Joan Baez
  • Baptism - Joan Baez
  • Any Day Now - Joan Baez
  • The Yellow Princess - John Fahey
  • The Great San Bernardino Birthday Party and other Excursions - John Fahey
  • Dance of Death and other Plantation Favourites - John Fahey

You Say You Want a Revolution? Records and Rebels 1966 - 70 at the V&A

You Say You Want a Revolution? Records and Rebels 1966 - 70 at the V&A
(Image: © (c) Victoria and Albert Museum, London)
  • Unfinished Music Vol. 2 - John Lennon and Yoko Ono
  • Plastic Ono Band - John Lennon
  • Imagine - John Lennon
  • Side Trips - Kaleidoscope
  • A Beacon from Mars - Kaleidoscope
  • Colours - Ken Nordine
  • In the Court of - King Crimson
  • Led Zeppelin III - Led Zeppelin
  • Yes We Can - Lee Dorsey
  • Love - Love
  • Da Capo - Love
  • Forever Changes - Love
  • What’s Going On? - Marvin Gaye
  • Kick Out the Jams - MC5
  • Moby Grape - Moby Grape
  • Neil Young - Neil Young
  • Everybody Knows This is Nowhere - Neil Young
  • After the Goldrush - Neil Young
  • Bryter Later - Nick Drake
  • The Marble Index - Nico
  • All of Us - Nirvana
  • Otis Blue - Otis Redding
  • Dictionary of Soul - Otis Redding
  • I Ain’t Marching Anymore - Phil Ochs
  • A Saucerful of Secrets - Pink Floyd
  • Ummagumma - Pink Floyd
  • The Piper At The Gates of Dawn - Pink Floyd
  • Procol Harum - Procol Harum
  • Shine on Brightly - Procol Harum
  • A Salty Dog - Procol Harum
  • Quicksilver Messenger Service - Quicksilver Messenger Service
  • Happy Trails - Quicksilver Messenger Service
  • Shady Grave - Quicksilver Messenger Service
  • In Blissful Company - Quintessence
  • A Sitar Recital - Ravi Shankar
  • Venus in Cancer - Robbie Basho
  • The Seal of the Blue Lotus - Robbie Basho
  • Gasoline Alley - Rod Stewart
  • The Satanic Majesties - The Rolling Stones
  • Beggars Banquet - The Rolling Stones
  • Let It Bleed - The Rolling Stones
  • Sticky Fingers - The Rolling Stones
  • Out of Our Heads - The Rolling Stones
  • Abraxas - Santana
  • Silver Apples - Silver Apples
  • Bridge Over Troubled Water - Simon and Garfunkel
  • Bookends - Simon and Garfunkel
  • Parsley Sage Rosemary Thyme - Simon and Garfunkel
  • Dance to the Music - Sly & The Family Stone
  • There’s a Riot Going On - Sly & The Family Stone
  • Small Faces - Small Faces
  • Ogden’s Nut Flake Gone - Small Faces
  • Soft Machine - Soft Machine
  • The Family that Plays Together - Spirit
  • Spirit - Spirit
  • Spooky Two - Spooky Tooth
  • Sailor - The Steve Miller Band
  • Children of the Future - The Steve Miller Band
  • Angels and Demons at Play - Sun Ra
  • The Madcap Laughs - Syd Barrett
  • A Rainbow Curved Air - Terry Riley
  • Easter Everywhere - 13th Floor Elevators
  • 13th Floor Elevators - 13th Floor Elevators
  • Music from Big Pink - The Band
  • Pet Sounds - The Beach Boys
  • Friends - The Beach Boys
  • Tadpoles - Bonzo Dog Band
  • East-West - The Butterfield Blues Band
  • Mr Tambourine Man - The Byrds
  • Fifth Dimension - The Byrds
  • The Doors - The Doors
  • Strange Days - The Doors
  • Waiting for the Sun - The Doors
  • Power Plant - The Golden Dawn
  • The Kinks are The Village Green Preservation Society - The Kinks
  • Something Else by the Kinks - The Kinks
  • Arthur - The Kinks
  • Lola - The Kinks
  • The Last Poets - The Last Poets
  • Daydream - Lovin’ Spoonful
  • Pisces Aquarius Capricorn & Jones Ltd - The Monkees
  • In Search of The Lost Chord - The Moody Blues
  • Freak Out - The Mothers of Invention
  • We’re Only In It for the Money - The Mothers of Invention
  • S. F. Sorrow - Pretty Things

The Woodstock room at You Say You Want A Revolution?

The Woodstock room at You Say You Want A Revolution?
(Image: © (c) Victoria and Albert Museum, London)
  • The Seeds - The Seeds
  • A Web of Sound - The Seeds
  • The Stooges - The Stooges
  • Funhouse - The Stooges
  • We Remember Sam Cooke - Diana Ross & The Supremes
  • Cloud Nine - The Temptations
  • United States of America - United States of America
  • White Noise - White Noise
  • My Generation - The Who
  • A Quick One - The Who
  • The Who Sell Out - The Who
  • Tommy - The Who
  • Roger the Engineer - Yardbirds
  • Zodiac Cosmic Sounds - Zodiac Cosmic Sounds
  • Odyssey and Oracle - The Zombies
  • The World Of - Them
  • Alchemy - Third Ear Band
  • Goodbye and Hello - Tim Buckley
  • Mr Fantasy - Traffic
  • John Barleycorn Must Die - Traffic
  • A Beard of Stars - T Rex
  • Astral Weeks - Van Morrison
  • Woodstock Soundtrack - Various
  • Live at Monterey - Jimi Hendrix / Otis Redding
  • Zabriskie Point - Various
  • Easy Rider (Music from the Soundtrack) - Various
  • The Velvet Underground & Nico - Velvet Underground

You Say You Want a Revolution? Records and Rebels 1966-70 is at the V&A Museum, London, from 10 September 2016 – 26 February 2017