That Was the Year That Was – 1968
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The world would never be the same again
It was a year of seismic social and political change across the globe. From the burgeoning anti-Vietnam war and civil rights movements in the United States, protests and revolutions in Europe and the first comprehensive coverage of war and resultant famine in Africa.
To some, 1968 was the year of sex, drugs, and rock and roll. Yet it was also the year of the Martin Luther King, Jr., and Bobby Kennedy assassinations; the riots at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago; Prague Spring; the antiwar movement and the Tet Offensive; Black Power; the generation gap; avant-garde theater; the upsurge of the women’s movement; and the beginning of the end for the Soviet Union.
1968 In both Europe and America Japanese imported cars and other goods were continuing to rise and trouble the governments of UK and USA as they worried about industries in their own countries being effected and jobs lost. In the spring of 1968 on 4th April The Rev Martin Luther King was assassinated and Robert Kennedy was mortally wounded when he is shot by Sirhan Sirhan.
The peace movement had continued to grow and more and more Americans were against the war in Vietnam, and once again more riots occurred throughout cities in America. The music scene was once again set by the "Beatles" and the "Rolling Stones" , and fashion flirted with see through blouses and midis and maxis skirts joined the Mini Skirt as part of the fashion trends. There is a Flu Pandemic in Hong Kong and the first Black power salute is seen on Television worldwide during an Olympics medal ceremony.
Another 96 Indians and Pakistanis from Kenya had arrived in Britain, the latest in a growing exodus of Kenyan Asians fleeing from laws which prevent them making a living. The party included nine children under two, and all flew in on cut-price one-way tickets costing about £60 – less than half the normal single fare. Omar Sharmar, an Indian who was forced to close his haulage business in Mombasa when the government refused to grant him a licence, estimates he has lost £2,000.
Enoch Powell’s Rivers Of Blood Speech
The Conservative right-winger Enoch Powell has made a hard-hitting speech attacking the government’s immigration policy. Addressing a Conservative association meeting in Birmingham, Mr Powell said Britain had to be mad to allow in 50,000 dependents of immigrants each year.
He compared it to watching a nation busily engaged in heaping up its own funeral pyre.
The MP for Wolverhampton South West called for an immediate reduction in immigration and the implementation of a Conservative policy of "urgent" encouragement of those already in the UK to return home.
"It can be no part of any policy that existing families should be kept divided. But there are two directions on which families can be reunited," he said.
Mr Powell compared enacting legislation such as the Race Relations Bill to "throwing a match on to gunpowder".
He said that as he looked to the future he was filled with a sense of foreboding.
"Like the Roman, I seem to see the river Tiber foaming with much blood," he said.
He estimated that by the year 2000 up to seven million people – or one in ten of the population – would be of immigrant descent.
Mr Powell, the shadow defence spokesman, was applauded during and after his 45-mintue speech.
However, it is likely his comments will be less warmly received by the Conservative party leader, Edward Heath.
Several opinion polls were stating that the majority of the public shares Mr Powell’s fears.
Top Of The Pops from 15th February 1968 introduced by Jimmy Savile & Dave Cash and featuring: Manfred Mann – Mighty Quinn, The Foundations – Back On My Feet Again, Status Quo – Pictures Of Matchstick Men, Alan Price Set – Don’t Stop The Carnival, Brenton Wood – Gimme Little Sign, The Move – Fire Brigade, Hermans Hermits – I Can Take Or Leave Your Loving, Amen Corner – Bend Me Shape Me, Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich – Legend Of Xanadu.
January – The Ford Escort car is introduced to replace the Anglia.
Dutch Elm Disease continues to increase with tens of thousands of trees now destroyed.
British Post office introduces First Class Post.
London Bridge sold for 1 million. and later re-erected in Arizona.
The popular rock band the Beatles released the “White Album,” an untitled double album that featured some of the legendary band’s most experimental music. Many of the songs were written when the band was in Rishikesh, India while they were attending a meditation camp. While the album received mixed reviews at the time, it still reached the number one spot on the music charts in both the United Kingdom and United States. Modern critics mark the album as on of the best albums ever created and it remains popular today.
The first public demonstration of the computer mouse, video conferencing, teleconferencing, email, and hypertext.
1 January – The Colour television licence is introduced when a £5 "colour supplement" is added to the £5 monochrome licence fee, therefore making the cost of a colour licence £10.
1 January – Cecil Day-Lewis is announced as the new Poet Laureate.
5 January – Gardeners’ World debuts on BBC1 television, featuring Percy Thrower.
8 January – The Prime Minister, Harold Wilson, endorses the ‘I’m Backing Britain’ campaign, encouraging workers to work extra time without pay or take other actions to help competitiveness, which is spreading across Britain.
16 January – The Prime Minister announces that the Civil Defence Corps is being stood down.
4 February – 96 Indians and Pakistanis arrive in Britain from Kenya. Some 1,500 Asians have now arrived in Britain from Kenya, where they were forced out by increasingly draconian immigration laws.
4 February – The cult series The Prisoner finishes its first run on British television.
16 February – The Beatles, Mike Love, Mia Farrow, Donovan and others travel to India to visit Maharishi Mahesh Yogi at Rishikesh.
6 – 18 February – Great Britain and Northern Ireland compete at the Winter Olympics in Grenoble, France, but do not win any medals.
18 February – David Gilmour joins Pink Floyd, replacing founder Syd Barrett, who had checked himself into a psychiatric hospital.
14 February – Northampton, the county town of Northamptonshire, is designated as a New town, with the Wilson government hoping to double its size and population by 1980.
24 February – Announcement of the first discovery (last year) of a pulsar by astronomer Jocelyn Bell Burnell working with Antony Hewish at the University of Cambridge.
1 March – First performance of an Andrew Lloyd Webber–Tim Rice musical, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat in its original form as a "pop cantata", by pupils of Colet Court preparatory school in Hammersmith.
2 March – Coal mining in the Black Country, which played a big part in the Industrial Revolution, ends after some 300 years with the closure of Baggeridge Colliery near Sedgley.
12 March – Mauritius achieves independence from British Rule.
15 March – George Brown, British Foreign Secretary, resigns.
17 March – A demonstration in London’s Grosvenor Square against U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War leads to violence – 91 police injured, 200 demonstrators arrested.
30 March – The Yardbirds record their live album Live Yardbirds at the Anderson Theater.
1 April – Thames Valley Police is formed by the amalgamation of Berkshire Constabulary, Buckinghamshire Constabulary, Oxford City Police, Oxfordshire Constabulary and Reading Borough Police.
6 April – The 13th Eurovision Song Contest is held in the Royal Albert Hall, London. The winning song, Spain’s "La, la, la" is sung by Massiel, after Spanish authorities refused to allow Joan Manuel Serrat to perform it in Catalan. The UK finish in second place, just one point behind, with the song "Congratulations" sung by Cliff Richard, which goes on to outsell the winning Spanish entry throughout Europe.
7 April – Motor racing world champion Jim Clark, 32, is killed when his car leaves the track at 170 mph and smashes into a tree during a Formula 2 race at Hockenheim.
11 April – Popularity of Harold Wilson’s Labour government is shown to be slumping as opinion polls show the Conservatives, led by Edward Heath, with a lead of more than 20 points.
18 April – London Bridge sold to American entrepreneur Robert P. McCulloch who rebuilds it at Lake Havasu City, Arizona.
20 April – Enoch Powell makes his controversial Rivers of Blood Speech on immigration. The speech is made at the Midland Hotel in Birmingham to a meeting of the Conservative Political Centre at 2:30 pm. The Birmingham-based television company ATV saw an advance copy of the speech that morning, and its news editor ordered a television crew to go to the venue, where they filmed sections of the speech.
The speech provokes great outcry among the British public, making Powell one of the most popular and loathed politicians in the country, and leading to his dismissal from the Shadow Cabinet by Conservative party leader Edward Heath.
21 April – Enoch Powell is dismissed from the Shadow Cabinet by Opposition leader Edward Heath due to the Rivers of Blood Speech, despite several opinion polls stating that the majority of the public shares Mr Powell’s fears.
23 April – Five and ten pence coins are introduced in the run-up to Decimalisation, which will be complete within the next three years.
27 April – The Abortion Act 1967 comes into effect, legalising abortion on a number of grounds, with free provision through the National Health Service.
3 May – Mr Frederick West (aged 45) becomes Britain’s first heart transplant patient.
4 May – Mary Hopkin performs on the British TV show Opportunity Knocks. Hopkin catches the attention of model Twiggy, who recommends her to Paul McCartney. McCartney would soon sign Hopkin to Apple Records.
8 May – The Kray Twins, 34-year-old Ronnie and Reggie, are among 18 men arrested in dawn raids across London. They stand accused of a series of crimes including murder, fraud, blackmail and assault. Their 41-year-old brother Charlie Kray is one of the other men under arrest.
11 May – Manchester City win the Football League First Division title.
14 May – At a press conference, John Lennon and Paul McCartney introduce the Beatles’ new business concept, Apple Corps, Ltd., a disastrously mismanaged entertainment company that included a recording studio, a record label, and clothing store.
16 May – Ronan Point tower block at Newham in east London collapses after a gas explosion, killing four occupants.
18 May – West Bromwich Albion win the FA Cup for the fifth time, with Jeff Astle scoring the only goal of the game against Everton at the Wembley Stadium.
20 May – Harlech (which became HTV in 1970) starts its dual service for Wales and the West Country, replacing the interim ITSWW, which had replaced TWW on 4 March.
22 May – The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland permits the ordination of women as ministers.
29 May – Manchester United become the first English winners of the European Cup after beating Benfica 4-1 in extra-time at Wembley Stadium.
30 May – The Beatles begin recording The White Album (officially titled, simply, The Beatles). Sessions would span over 4 months, ending on 14 October.
7 June – Start of Ford sewing machinists strike at the Dagenham assembly plant: women workers strike for pay comparable to that of men.
8 June – Martin Luther King, Jr.’s killer, James Earl Ray, arrested in London.
8 June – premiere of Harrison Birtwistle’s opera Punch and Judy in the Jubilee Hall, Aldeburgh during the Aldeburgh Festival.
10 June – National Health Service reintroduces prescription charges.
14 June – Manfred Mann appear in the first edition of the BBC2 series Colour Me Pop.
18 June – Frederick West, Britain’s first heart transplant, dies 46 days after his operation.
20 June – Austin Currie, Member of Parliament at Stormont in Northern Ireland, along with others, squats a house in Caledon to protest discrimination in housing allocations.
4 July – Alec Rose returns from a 354-day single-handed round-the-world trip for which he receives a knighthood the following day.
7 July – The Yardbirds perform for the last time before disbanding.
10 July – Floods in South West England.
Flooding had been occurring throughout the South West from mid-day but the full fury of the flood was felt during the hours of darkness. By 5.am almost every stream, brook and river in the area had burst its banks causing death, devastation and despair on a scale greater than any in living memory.
That night, seven people lost their lives, hundreds more suffered a terrifying ordeal of hardship and loss, bridges that had stood for centuries were washed away or severely damaged and countless houses, shops, factories and other properties were engulfed. It was a night that re-kindled the ‘spirit of the blitz’, a night when numerous selfless acts of heroism and community spirit prevailed.
As night gave way to day and the full extent of the disaster was revealed, it became obvious that for a great many people life would not return to normal for a number of days yet to come.. . for same it never did.
17 July – The Beatles animated film Yellow Submarine debuts in London.
28 July – Final day on air for ABC which had broadcast to the North and Midlands regions during weekends.
The 1968 Contract Round sees the end of weekend franchises in these regions. From the following day, Granada and ATV broadcast seven days a week. The North is split into two regions with Granada broadcasting to the North West and Yorkshire Television broadcasting to the Yorkshire region. It is also the last day on air for ATV London which lost its weekend franchise to the newly formed London Weekend Television.
29 July – ATV begins broadcasting seven days a week in the Midlands, while Granada begins broadcasting seven days a week to the North West and Yorkshire Television does likewise in its newly created region.
30 July – Thames Television goes on air, having taken over the ITV London weekday franchise from Rediffusion, London. Thames is a result of a merger between ABC and Rediffusion, ABC having been awarded the London weekday franchise.
30 July – Magpie premieres on ITV.
31 July – Popular sitcom Dad’s Army begins its nine-year run on BBC1.
August – John McVie marries Christine Perfect.
2 August – London Weekend Television takes over the ITV London weekend franchise from ATV London. They went on air initially using the name London Weekend Television but then adopted the name London Weekend before reverting to London Weekend Television (often abbreviated to LWT) in 1978.
August – Independent Television technicians strike immediately after the 1968 franchise changes, causing a national stoppage. The individual companies are off the air for several weeks and an emergency service is established.
The ITV Emergency National Service is presented by management personnel with no regional variations. This was the first time that a uniform presentation practice was adopted across all regions.
4 August – Yes performs for the first time, at a summer camp.
8 August – Royal Navy Leander-class frigate HMS Scylla is launched at Devonport, the last ship to be built in a Royal Dockyard.
11 August – British Rail’s last steam train service runs on the standard gauge: steam locomotives make the 314-mile return passenger journey from Liverpool to Carlisle before being dispatched to the scrapyard or preservation.
31 August – First Isle of Wight Festival. Headline Acts – Jefferson Airplane. Other Acts – Arthur Brown, The Move, Smile, Tyrannosaurus Rex, Plastic Penny, Fairport Convention and The Pretty Things.
September – The new school year in England sees the first local authorities adopt three tier education, where 5-7 infant, 7-11 junior schools are replaced by 5-8 or 5-9 first schools and 8-12 or 9-13 middle schools, with the transfer age to grammar and secondary modern schools being increased to 12 or 13.
Japanese car maker Nissan began importing its range of Datsun badged family cars to Britain.
7 September – Led Zeppelin performs for the first time, billed as The New Yardbirds (the Yardbirds had disbanded two months earlier, and guitarist Jimmy Page subsequently formed this new group).
8 September – Tennis player Virginia Wade wins the 1968 U.S. Open Women’s Singles event.
15 September – Floods in South East England.
15 September – Song of Summer, Ken Russell’s noted TV documentary about Frederick Delius, is shown for the first time as part of the BBC’s Omnibus series.
16 September – General Post Office divides post into first-class and second-class services.
19 September – The Who begin recording Tommy, a rock opera that tells the story about a deaf, dumb and blind boy, including his experiences with life and the relationship with his family.
26 September – Theatres Act 1968 ends censorship of the theatre.
27 September – The US musical Hair opens in London following the removal of theatre censorship.
October – The M1 motorway is completed when the final 35-mile section opens between Rotherham and Leeds.
2 October – A woman from Birmingham gives birth to the first recorded instance of live Sextuplets in the UK.
5 October – A civil rights march in Derry, Northern Ireland, which includes several Stormont and British MPs, is batoned off the streets by the Royal Ulster Constabulary.
6 October – British racing drivers Jackie Stewart, Graham Hill and John Surtees take the first three places at the United States Grand Prix.
8 October – Enoch Powell warns that immigrants "may change the character" of England.
12 – 27 October – Great Britain and Northern Ireland compete at the Olympics in Mexico City and win 5 gold, 5 silver and 3 bronze medals.
13 October – The rebuilt Euston railway station opens.
18 October – National Giro opens for business through the General Post Office, with administrative headquarters at Bootle.
27 October – Police and protestors clash at an anti-Vietnam War protest outside the Embassy of the United States in London.
31 October – Alan Bennett’s play Forty Years On premiered at the Apollo Theatre in the West End.
8 November – John Lennon and his wife Cynthia are divorced.
18 November – James Watt Street fire: A warehouse fire in Glasgow kills 22.
21 November – The Cyril Lord carpet business goes into receivership.
22 November – The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society released.
22 November – The Beatles (also known as "The White Album") by The Beatles is released.
26 November – The Race Relations Act is passed, making it illegal to refuse housing, employment or public services to people in Britain because of their ethnic background.
26 November – Cream plays their farewell concert at the Royal Albert Hall. It will be the last time Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce, and Ginger Baker play together until their 1993 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
29 November – The Dawley New Town (Designation) Amendment (Telford) Order extends the boundaries of Dawley New Town in Shropshire and renames it Telford.
30 November – The Trade Descriptions Act comes into force, preventing shops and traders from describing goods in a misleading way.
2 December – Jimi Hendrix’s manager Chas Chandler quits over differences with Hendrix during the recording of Electric Ladyland.
17 December – Mary Bell, an 11-year-old girl from Newcastle upon Tyne, is sentenced to life detention for the manslaughter of two small boys.
Official opening of first phase of the Royal Mint’s new Llantrisant plant in South Wales.
22 December – The Animals reunite for one benefit concert at the Newcastle City Hall while Eric Burdon & The Animals are disbanding.
Obituarie: Chas Chandler
When Jimi Hendrix set fire to his guitar, Chas Chandler was ready with the lighter fuel. When Slade were desperate for a new image, Chandler dressed the band up as skinheads. The tough, outspoken Geordie was the perfect manager for both these diverse talents. A fouder member of The Animals, he could sympathise with musicians and understand their problems. As a canny businessman he also understood the power of publicity and the importance of image.
Few Sixties stars were able to make the jump from pop to business. They lacked the discipline and know-how. But when Chandler quit The Animals and swapped his caftan for a suit, he swiftly became one of the most respected and successful managers and producers of the rock age.
He discovered Jimi Hendrix, but it was his energy and commitment that helped turn a shy young American backing guitarist into a dynamic performer and a rock legend. Their mutual regard was based on trust and friendship. When their partnership eventually broke down, Chandler found it a bitter blow. But just before Hendrix died in September 1970, he called upon his old manager once more for help and guidance. Chas Chandler was a man that anxious artists knew they could trust.
He was born Bryan Chandler in Heaton, near Newcastle in 1938. After leaving school his first job was as a turner in the Tyneside shipyards. The first brush with with music came when he took up playing a homemade guitar. He later switched to bass and was in the Alan Price Trio when singer Eric Burdon joined the band in 1962.
Renamed The Animals, they quickly became one of Britain’s most dynamic R&B groups. From Newcastle’s Club A Go Go, they came to London in 1964, when they had a massive hit with "House of the Rising Sun". Many more followed, among them "Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood" (1964) and "We’ve Got To Get Out Of This Place" (1965), but disillusioned by their lack of financial reward and exhausted by touring,
The Animals broke up in late 1966. Said Chandler: "We toured non-stop for three years, doing 300 gigs a year and we hardly got a penny. But our manager Mike Jeffery did all right. 25 per cent of the gross of 300 gigs a year, that was good money."
During the Animals’ last US tour Chandler was advised by Keith Richards’ girlfriend, Linda Keith, to see an up-coming guitarist, Jimmy James, who was playing with the Blue Flames at the Cafe Wha in New York’s Greenwich Village.
Chandler was especially impressed by Jimmy James’s performance of the Tim Rose song "Hey Joe", offered to be his manager and invited him to London. James asked Chandler if he could introduce him to Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck, and that clinched the deal.
Chandler had already decided to stop playing himself. "I was never that good on bass guitar," he confessed. He brought his new find, now renamed Jimi Hendrix, to London in September 1966, and recruited Mitch Mitchell and Noel Redding to form Hendrix’s new group The Experience. He also formed a partnership with The Animals’ manager Mike Jeffery to look after Hendrix’s business affairs for the next two years.
Chandler eventually produced all Hendrix’s hit singles including "Hey Joe", "Purple Haze", and "The Wind Cries Mary" and his first two albums, Are You Experienced and Axis: bold as love.
He first presented The Experience at a series of London showcase gigs where Mick Jagger and Paul McCartney were among the stars who flocked to see Hendrix kitted out in Afro hairstyle and military uniform.
When The Experience played with The Walker Brothers at the Finsbury Park Astoria in London, Hendrix and Chandler debated how they could liven up their act.
The journalist Keith Altham said that as Pete Townshend smashed up his guitar, it was a pity Hendrix couldn’t set his on fire: "Chas immediately ordered his roadie Gerry Stickells to get some lighter fuel. Jimi only ever set fire to his guitar three times but it made history."
In 1968 Chandler quit as Hendrix’s manager half way through the Electric Ladyland album sessions, fed up with endless re-recording and the surfeit of hangers-on in the studio. He fell out with Jeffery over the way Hendrix’s career was being handled, and in 1969 returned to London to his Swedish wife Lotta, who was expecting their first child. Shortly afterwards he set up Montgrow Productions with Robert Stigwood.
Their aim was to find and develop new talent but Stigwood didn’t share Chandler’s enthusiasm for his next discovery, the Wolverhampton band Slade, and pulled out, leaving Chas Chandler as their sole manager. He paid off their previous management with pounds 100 and encouraged the adoption of a skinhead look, with cropped hair and bovver boots. Slade’s lead singer Noddy Holder said that the band "worshipped" Chandler for the way he had transformed their fortunes.
Under his guidance they became of the most prolific hit makers of the 1970s – their singles included "Coz I Luv You" (1971) and "We’ve Got to Get Out of this Place" (1972) – though they failed to gain American success. In 1979 he withdrew from management and formed his own record label Barn Productions. At the same time he separated from his first wife, and left London to retire to Newcastle, where he married his second wife, Madeleine Stringer, a former Newcastle beauty queen.
In 1983 he became part of the re-formed Animals, and had to relearn the bass guitar. It was not a happy experience. The group spent most of the time arguing and at one point Chandler was seen grabbing Eric Burdon by the scruff of the neck.
In recent years he helped local bands in the North East to record their own music, and he also set up in business with architect and saxophonist Nigel Stranger. They established Park Arena Ltd, which developed the 10,500- seater Newcastle Arena, the largest sports and entertainment venue in the north-east. It opened last year after nine years work, and has already featured artists such as Neil Diamond, David Bowie and Pulp.
A big-built man who liked to drink and smoke, he had, said Keith Altham "enormous drive and self-belief. It was that enthusiasm that helped both Jimi Hendrix and Slade become stars. He’d just tell everyone: ‘They are the best in the world!’"
Bryan "Chas" Chandler, bass player, manager and record producer: born Newcastle upon Tyne 18 December 1938; married twice (two sons, two daughters); died Newcastle 17 July 1996.
4 April – Freewheelers (1968–1973)
30 July – Magpie (1968–1980)
15 August – Nearest and Dearest (1968–1973)
21 September – Strange Report (1968–1969)
24 September – How We Used To Live (1968–2002)
25 September – The Champions (1968–1969)
5 November – Father, Dear Father (1968–1973)
8 November – Please Sir! (1968–1972)
16 November – Journey to the Unknown (1968–1969)
Unknown – The Big Match (1968–1992)
First Division – Manchester City
Second Division – Ipswich Town
Third Division – Oxford United
Fourth Division – Luton Town
FA Cup – West Bromwich Albion
League Cup – Leeds United
Charity Shield – Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur (shared)
Home Championship – England