Review: 1966 by Jon Savage

Title: 1966 – The Year the Decade Exploded

Author: John Savage

Pages: 640 Pages

Publisher: Faber & Faber

The Blurb

From the acclaimed author of the classic book on Punk, England’s Dreaming, comes a history of the pivotal moment in the 1960s that changed pop culture forever.

The pop world accelerated and broke through the sound barrier in 1966. In America, in London, in Amsterdam, in Paris, revolutionary ideas slow-cooking since the late ’50s reached boiling point. In the worlds of pop, pop art, fashion and radical politics, often fueled by perception-enhancing substances and literature, the ‘Sixties’, as we have come to know them, hit their Modernist peak. 

A unique chemistry of ideas, substances, freedom of expression and dialogue across pop cultural continents created a landscape of immense and eventually shattering creativity. After 1966 nothing in the pop world would ever be the same. The 7 inch single outsold the long-player for the final time. It was the year in which the ever lasting and transient pop moment would burst forth in its most articulate, instinctive and radical way.

Jon Savage’s 1966 is a monument to the year that shaped the pop future of the balance of the century. Exploring canonical artists like The Beatles, The Byrds, Velvet Underground, The Who and The Kinks, 1966 also goes much deeper into the social and cultural heart of the decade through unique archival primary sources.

The Review

1966 is a comprehensive look at an impactful year in music and society in general. Savage takes you on a musical journey highlighting the important figures and events in music and politics that changed the face of the world as it had been known.

Artists such as The Beatles, Otis Redding, The Supremes among many others are celebrated and their stories are told, about how their actions altered things so much that we still feel the changes today.

Personally, I feel that 1966 is best served as an academic text. To read it for pleasure – which I was doing – felt a bit heavy. However, to read with purpose would make this book a lot more enjoyable. Regardless of this 1966 is a fascinating and thorough read.

1966 – The Year the Decade Exploded by Jon Savage is available now.

For more information regarding Jon Savage (@JonSavage1966) please visit his Twitter page.

For more information regarding Faber & Faber (@FaberBooks) please visit

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