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  • 1966 World Cup

    The first scandal of England’s 1966 World Cup occurred before the competition even started, when the Jules Rimet trophy was stolen. Weirdly enough, the prize was found on a street in South London by a dog named Pickles. The most infamous moment of the tournament was during the final between England and West Germany, when a controversial third goal from Geoff Hurst was awarded to England. Did it even cross the line? England went on to win 4-2. Following the winning goal, a BBC commentator uttered the famous words “they think it’s all over… it is now!” Over 32 million people watched the final in the UK, making it to this day the most watched event in the history of British television!


    The competition was boycotted by all African nations because FIFA did not guarantee any African nation qualification. Countries also protested the readmission of South Africa due to the apartheid regime. African teams withdrew in protest, and refused to participate in future contests until at least one African team had an automatic place, which came about in 1970. 1966 was the first competition to have its own mascot, ‘World Cup Willie’ the lion, and the last tournament to be broadcast in black and white. Have a look at the original BBC intro!

  • 1966 In Music

    Winners of the World Cup, England was also the home to some of the world’s best music. Liverpool’s Beatles dominated the charts, claiming three of the year’s top five singles. In March 1966 John Lennon famously quipped that his band was more popular than Jesus. Psychedelic rock also exploded onto the mainstream, with London’s Yardbirds heralding a new dawn for English rock. Watch a live performance of 'Shape Of Things' to get a taste.


    Bands which found hits across the Atlantic included The Temptations, The Monkees and the Beach Boys, marking 1966 as a high point for sixties music. “I always say the 60s didn’t start until ’65, and they ended after ‘67” said John Densmore, a founding member of the Doors, who recorded their debut album in 1966. Sam & Dave released 'Hold On, I'm Coming' on Stax Records, further bringing black music into the mainstream. Soul music took another leap forward when Aretha Franklin joined Atlantic Records in 1966, finding a musical home which soon saw her become the Queen Of Soul.

  • 1966 In History

    The press in 1966 was filled with talk of the Love generation, youth culture, the Vietnam war, the Cold War and criticism of consumerism. The Vietnam War waged on, with induction into the US military jumping 50% from the previous year. President Lyndon Johnson committed to the war in this famous speech. Anti-war protests increased across the USA, with tens of thousands of demonstrators picketing the White House and Washington Monument in the summer.


    1966 also saw a wave of Civil Rights protest led by Martin Luther King, and the rise of the Black Power Movement led by Malcolm X. The more radical Black Panther Party was founded in California by the end of the year. In international politics the Cold War raged on, with China making headlines by beginning the communist-inspired 'Cultural Revolution'. Despite these protests, popular culture was nevertheless colourful and exciting. The baby boom generation was coming of age, leading to an explosion in youth culture. England was once again at its centre, Time magazine declaring London the 'Swinging City' in April.

  • 1966 Spotify

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