40 Photographs From The 1960s Sure To Stir Up Feelings Of Nostalgia

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It’s safe to say that pretty much everything changed in the 1960s. So many different realms – such as art, fashion and academia – certainly underwent profound alterations throughout the decade, as the generation who came of age during it might well remember. And those same “baby boomers,” as they are known, could also be left nostalgic after seeing these 40 retro images.

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40. The Beatles

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No band is more iconic of the 1960s – or, indeed, of the 20th century – than the Beatles. After all, the pioneering quartet from Liverpool, U.K., forced many people to start thinking of pop music as an actual form of art. This particular photo was taken in May 1967 – after the group had finished their groundbreaking album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

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39. Beehive haircuts

Long before the mohawk of the 1970s, the mullet of the 1980s and the pompadour hipster trim of the present, there was the beehive. A testament to a classier and more sophisticated era, the ’do was created in 1960 by Margaret Vinci Heldt, an award-winning hairstylist from Illinois. And as well as resembling a beehive, the style is said to look like the nose of a Boeing B-52 bomber – and so is also known as a B-52.

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38. The Twist

Chubby Checker hit number one in 1960 with his rock ’n’ roll cover “The Twist” – a song which had spawned a dance phenomenon that would soon take over the world. Compared to the hip-grinding twerk of the 21st century, though, the twist is a somewhat tame dance. Nonetheless, some baby boomers may recall how conservative commentators criticized the movement at the time.

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37. Hippies

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Hipsters today tend not to be defined by a belief system; the trend is more about their own idiosyncratic sense of style. Hippies, however, were another matter altogether. In fact, the hippie movement was the epitome of 1960s counterculture. It was, after all, a figurative middle finger to the conservative conformism of the preceding decade. Photographed in London in 1967, the hippies in the above photo were no doubt a shocking sight to bystanders.

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36. The Rolling Stones

Back in the 1960s, if you weren’t into the Beatles, you were probably into their fiercest rock ’n’ roll rivals, the Rolling Stones. Famed for their spirited ballads and hedonistic tendencies, the Stones are actually still touring the world in their old age. In fact, all evidence suggests that Keith Richards is practically indestructible. Rock on, lads!

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35. Clint Eastwood

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As much as Clint Eastwood made cultural impacts in the 1970s and ’80s, the star was actually known in the ’60s for his breakthrough roles in Spaghetti Westerns. Indeed, after playing a supporting role in Rawhide, Eastwood worked with Italian director Sergio Leone to make a series of gritty, groundbreaking Westerns. The most famous of these, pictured above, is The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

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34. Bob Dylan

Born in 1941 as Robert Allen Zimmerman, Bob Dylan has evidently been on a long creative journey. The folk star released the first of many albums in 1962, in fact, and in 1965 Dylan began experimenting with electric guitar sounds. Then, over a 15-month period, the singer-songwriter recorded three groundbreaking rock ’n’ roll albums to add to his already envy-inducing discography. And after a lifetime of songwriting, Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 2016.

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33. James Brown and Muhammad Ali

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Born Cassius Clay, Muhammad Ali earned his first heavyweight championship title in 1964. The boxer also became known as “The Greatest” during this decade. At the time, too, James Brown was a singer-songwriter and an early architect of funk. And his nickname? Well, Brown was the “Godfather of Soul,” of course. So, taken in August 1966 in Chicago, Illinois, this photograph depicts two icons of African-American culture sharing a ride in a street parade.

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32. Brigitte Bardot

Brigitte Anne-Marie Bardot featured in 47 films over the course of her acting career. Described in 1959 as a “locomotive of women’s history” in an existentialist essay by philosopher Simone de Beauvoir, the star was clearly one of the most powerful and alluring women in 1960s cinema. Bardot stepped away from the limelight in 1973, however, and is now known more as an animal rights activist.

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31. Floral trouser suits

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The pantsuit was apparently invented in the 1920s, but it wasn’t until the 1960s that the style really took off as a women’s fashion item. The design, initially endorsed by fashion giants such as Luba Marks and Foale and Tuffin, actually became de rigueur after Yves Saint-Laurent created a leisure pantsuit called Le Smoking in 1966. In the above 1967 photo, then, the fetching floral pantsuit, which features a matching headband, could not be more representative of ’60s fashion.

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30. Hair salons

In the 1960s, much like today, hair salons sometimes became hangouts where women could play around with new and changing styles, such as the bouffant and the B-52. Generally, however, hairdos became simpler and easier to manage as the decade progressed. That’s because the sexual revolution in some ways liberated women from the male-prescribed beauty norms of the preceding decade.

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29. Beatlemania

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From 1964 onwards, the Beatles found themselves deluged by screaming fans whenever and wherever they performed. Sometimes the screaming would even follow the musicians on the road and in public too. In fact, the phenomenon became so intense that the band ceased touring altogether in 1966. So Beatlemania undoubtedly represented teenage hysteria on a scale never seen before.

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28. Jimi Hendrix

Guitarist Jimi Hendrix was once described by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as “arguably the greatest instrumentalist in the history of rock music.” And this is in spite of the fact that Hendrix’s career lasted just four years before his untimely death in 1970. By that time, however, he had already left his mark on 20th-century music. Use of feedback, overdriven amps and tone-effects such as wah-wah and fuzz are all facets pioneered by Hendrix, after all.

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27. Sophia Loren

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Born Sofia Villani Scicolone, Italian actress Sophia Loren won the Academy Award for Best Actress in 1962. Known for her trademark sultry voice and green feline-like eyes, Loren also acted alongside Marlon Brando, Gregory Peck, Charlton Heston and Paul Newman during the ’60s. In fact, the star performed in both Hollywood and Italy and is still lauded as one of the greats.

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26. Janis Joplin

Janis Joplin was an American singer-songwriter from small-town Texas. Yet she rose to fame in the late 1960s while heading Big Brother and the Holding Company, a San Francisco psychedelic rock band. The star’s subsequent solo career was also shining and charismatic – but sadly short-lived. Best known for covers such as “Summer Time” and “Piece of My Heart,” Joplin only released three albums before dying of a heroin overdose in 1970.

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25. The French Chef

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Writer and TV celebrity chef Julia Child is credited by some as having popularized French cuisine in the United States. It’s even said that her first cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, effectively brought French food to the American masses. Child later also fronted a TV series called The French Chef, which arguably helped to make beef bourguignon a staple of American family dinners in the 1960s.

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24. Family dinner

Family dinners are an opportunity for relatives to get together, break bread and talk about their days. It has always been a popular ritual of domestic life, of course, and for many it’s never gone out of style. But children of the 1960s might remember how it was in the days before smartphones, when mom and dad dressed up, take-away food was unavailable and exotic fare was practically unheard of.

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23. Flamboyant desserts

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It’s not that desserts have gotten less interesting these days; it’s that after-dinner treats are often less flamboyant. You see, desserts of the 1960s included such weird creations as stained glass cake, which was prepared with the ever-faithful jello mold. Chocolate fondue, tunnel of fudge cake, pineapple upside-down cake and baked Alaska were also popular in the 1960s.

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22. Twiggy in a pinstripe suit

This 1967 photograph depicts English model Twiggy in a suit from one of her fashion collections. Having emerged out of the famous London scene, the model became a 1960s cultural phenomenon concurrent with the “British Invasion” of rock bands to the United States. Twiggy has continued to model in recent times too, with one of her more prominent jobs being with British department store Marks & Spencer.

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21. Jackie O

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In this photograph from 1970, Jackie O – who at the time was married to wealthy shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis – sports a stylish jacket, polo neck and flares. It’s perhaps no surprise, then, that Jackie was one of the most influential style and fashion icons of the 1960s. Originally a socialite and photojournalist from New York State, Jackie met John F. Kennedy in 1952 and went onto become first lady of the United States from January 1961 to November 1963.

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20. The Beach Boys

With more than 100 million record sales to their name, the Beach Boys are one of the most successful and influential rock groups of all time. Hailing from California, the group originally consisted of brothers Brian, Dennis and Carl Wilson and Mike Love and Al Jardine. The guys were the vanguard of surf rock, of course, but their musical style blended jazz, R&B and rock to forge a sound that was uniquely their own.

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19. John and Yoko

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This photo was taken at the office of Apple Records in London in 1969 – the same year that John Lennon and Yoko Ono got married. Interestingly, the couple’s honeymoon was also the subject of an artistic collaboration that saw the pair depicting events for lithographs. This was followed by John and Yoko’s famous bed-in – a way in which the couple protested the Vietnam War.

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18. Diana Ross and the Supremes

Quintessential diva and music legend Diana Ross enjoyed a spectacular solo career through the 1970s and ’80s. Yet it was her time with the Supremes in the 1960s that some critics still consider her most creative phase. The 1968 photo above, then, includes a Supremes line-up consisting of Mary Wilson, Diana Ross and Cindy Birdsong. In that year, in fact, the group reached number 2 on the U.S. album charts with Diana Ross & the Supremes Join the Temptations.

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17. 1964 Ford Mustang

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The 1964 Ford Mustang was the first in a long line of Mustang models. Considered to be the original pony car, this stylish vehicle was understandably a popular entry onto the U.S. automobile scene and was widely imitated by competitors. The car was actually produced until 1973, and each iteration brought new improvements, including larger spaces and more powerful engines. In 1974, though, the Mustang was replaced by the Mustang II, which used different components.

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16. Chevrolet Corvette

This 1962 promotional image presents the first-generation Chevrolet Corvettes – also known as the “solid-axle” generation – shortly before the introduction of the 1963 Sting Ray. The newer line of Sting Rays actually had the benefit of coming with separated rear suspension. But nonetheless, the first generation would remain a common sight on American streets for the rest of the decade.

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15. Drive-in diners

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No one who grew up in the 1960s will forget the classic American drive-in, where you could cruise your vehicle into a lot and tuck into your meal where you parked. Today, of course, the drive-in has been replaced by the drive-through, which has more of an emphasis on speedy turn-over. Yet baby boomers might argue that something has been lost in the impersonal nature of the drive-thru transaction.

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14. Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton

This photo was taken in 1964 in Montreal, Canada, at the first wedding of power couple Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. The ceremony actually took place just days after Taylor had divorced her previous spouse. Unsurprisingly, then, Taylor and Burton’s relationship was often in the limelight in the 1960s and ’70s. In fact, the couple subsequently divorced in 1974, tied the knot again in 1975 and then split for good in 1976.

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13. Julie Andrews and Audrey Hepburn

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In 1965 Julie Andrews won the Oscar for Best Actress for her part in the 1960s classic Mary Poppins. And in this photo the star is posing with her award alongside Audrey Hepburn at the ceremony in Los Angeles. That same year, coincidentally, Andrews starred as Maria Von Trapp in the Sound of Music, another classic of 1960s cinema.

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12. Jantzen bathing suits

This upbeat Jantzen promotional photo was released in 1966 at a time when emerging California surfing culture was evidently influencing trends in swimwear. Janzten had actually been designing and selling bathing suits from as early as 1916, though. The company had even pioneered the one-piece, rib-stitch suit and performed a deft publicity feat by marketing bathing suits as “swim suits.”

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11. Bell bottom trousers

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Also known as flares, bell-bottoms taper outwards around the ankles in the shape of a bell and were popular in the U.S. and Europe in the 1960s and ’70s. Clogs, Chelsea boots and Cuban-heels were also the standard accompanying footwear. And although flares went out of fashion with the emergence of punk, the style enjoyed a revival in the late ’90s and early ’00s.

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10. Waterproof coats

Polyvinal chloride (PVC) is often the clothing material of choice for many goths and punks, and in the 1960s PVC or “vinyl clothes” were being produced widely. Designers reportedly even thought that plastic had a futuristic look and so created boots, raincoats and dresses out of it. Today, though, vinyl clothes are more commonly associated with fetishism and risqué lifestyles.

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9. Paul Newman

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Born in 1925, Paul Newman rose to stardom in the 1960s with a string of memorable performances in films such as The Hustler and Cool Hand Luke. He finished the decade in style, too, with a leading role alongside Robert Redford in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Newman was also a championship racing driving and a philanthropist.

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8. John Wayne receiving an Oscar

Born in 1907 as Marion Robert Morrison, John Wayne was a prolific Hollywood actor who starred in 142 films during his long-running career. Frequently seen playing rugged and macho characters on screen, John Wayne therefore personified mythic American hardiness and self-reliance. The actor received just one Oscar, though, for his performance as an ill-tempered marshal in True Grit.

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7. Roger Moore and Isabelle McMillan

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Taken in 1965, this photograph depicts Roger Moore and Isabelle McMillan on the set of The Saint. Produced in the United Kingdom, The Saint was indeed a pillar of 1960s television. A mystery spy thriller, the show starred Moore as antihero Simon Templar, who uses unconventional methods to help those in need.

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6. Elvis and Priscilla

In 1967 Elvis and Priscilla Presley married in a low-key ceremony in the Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. This photo was actually taken at their champagne reception afterwards. The couple eventually divorced in 1973, though, but the pair remained friends until the King’s death in 1977. Interestingly, Elvis had actually met a 14-year-old Priscilla in 1959 when he had been in the U.S. Air Force.

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5. Edie Sedgwick and Andy Warhol

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Pop art progenitor Andy Warhol transformed the New York art scene in the 1960s. Campbell’s Soup Cans is among his most famous works, of course, but the artist is also known for exploring fame and celebrity in ways which had never been done before. The above image was taken in 1965 and depicts Warhol with actor Edie Sedgwick, one of his so-called “superstars.”

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4. Woodstock

As all rock ’n’ rollers know, Woodstock was an epoch-defining music festival that hosted some 400,000 unwashed revelers. Advertised as “an Aquarian exposition,” the three-day festival took place from August 15 to 18, 1969, in White Lake in New York State’s Catskill Mountains. The resulting event had such an impact on popular culture, in fact, that in 2018 plans were announced for a 50th-anniversary festival at the same site in August 2019.

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3. More supermarkets

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There were several factors that contributed to the rise of modern supermarkets in the 1960s. Firstly, domestic freezers became widely available, transforming the ways that families bought and stored food. Secondly, the advent of the automobile enabled both customers and suppliers to travel greater distances. And finally, assembly production lines allowed processed food to be produced more cheaply and in greater quantities.

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2. TV furniture

Flat-screen televisions these days are decidedly minimalist compared to their forerunners. In the 1960s, in fact, a television was not just a television. Frequently, the tube was a piece of furniture that incorporated some other fixture or object, such as a lamp, bureau or cabinet. Taken in 1969, for example, this image depicts a woman reading a message from her combination TV-fax machine.

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1. Steve McQueen

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Known as “The King of Cool” thanks to his tendency to play anti-heroes, Steve McQueen was an Academy Award-nominated actor. And over the span of his career, McQueen starred in revered classics such as Papillon, The Great Escape, The Towering Inferno and Bullet. In this 1966 image, the actor can be seen posing with a sports car at Riverside Raceway in California.

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