1966 – The Year That Built Rock: And in other news…

Bands making it to the silver screen, England winning the football World Cup at Wembley, Mary Quant’s fashion designs stunning the world, Eastern music heading west… it was the start of a cultural revolution.


Italian art-house director Michelangelo Antonioni’s first English-language film depicted Swinging London as a carnival of dark deeds and lost souls. The Yardbirds make an explosive musical cameo.


Launched in 1966 by college student Paul Williams with a manifesto commitment to “intelligent writing about pop music”, Crawdaddy! became America’s first serious rock mag, attracting John Lennon and William Burroughs as contributors.


A TV show aimed at both kids and knowing adults, Batman was groundbreaking in its camp humour and Pop Art visuals. It lasted only three seasons but remains a post-modern small-screen classic.

Mary Quant

The designer who brought a vivid Pop Art palette to the high street and became a hugely influential fashion icon. Awarded the OBE in 1966, Mary Quant arrived at Buckingham Palace wearing one of her signature mini-skirts.

The World Cup

Type ‘1966’ into Google, and it’s the first thing that comes up. Following England’s 4-2 victory against West Germany at footie, the image of Bobby Moore – holding the trophy aloft – became truly iconic. Successive teams’ comparatively crap performance has made it all the more treasured.

NME Poll Winners Party

On May 1, 1966 The Beatles topped a stellar line-up that also included the Rolling Stones, Dusty Springfield and The Who. This legendary awards bash went down in history as the final scheduled live appearance by the Fab Four in Britain.


Lad culture began with writer Bill Naughton’s classic working-class take on Swinging London. Michael Caine rocketed to superstar status as the callous cockney Casanova knowingly addressing the camera, while Cilla sings that classic Bacharach and David theme song.

Timothy Leary

In 1966, this maverick psychologist and psychedelic drug evangelist began a crusade to establish his own LSD-based religious cult. He ended up in jail, but also earned a huge counterculture following.

Ravi Shankar

The Indian classical music maestro who introduced George Harrison to the sitar in 1966 – a key gateway for western rock fans embracing so-called ‘world music’.

Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?

In the best of their four screen collaborations, Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor played a husband and wife trading insults at a drinks party. Rookie director Mike Nichols went on to make The Graduate.

Classic Rock 220: Features

Classic Rock

Classic Rock is the online home of the world's best rock'n'roll magazine. We bring you breaking news, exclusive interviews and behind-the-scenes features, as well as unrivalled access to the biggest names in rock music; from Led Zeppelin to Deep Purple, Guns N’ Roses to the Rolling Stones, AC/DC to the Sex Pistols, and everything in between. Our expert writers bring you the very best on established and emerging bands plus everything you need to know about the mightiest new music releases.