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Protests took many forms in the 1960s...

Sounds on Sunday: 50 of 50/3

WHAT WERE we listening to 50 years ago?

In July 1969, Something in the Air, by Thunderclap Newman, topped the charts for three weeks. This classic track has been used as background music on TV, in film and for adverts ever since – and covered by some 20 other artists.

The name “Thunderclap Newman” was not only the name of the band, which was put together by The Who guitarist Pete Townshend. It was also the nickname of jazz pianist Andy Newman – Townshend’s friend from art college, who was brought in as the band’s keyboards player.

However, Townshend’s main purpose in forming the band was to record tracks written by drummer Speedy Keen, who also sang lead vocals on Something. How close did the band come to being named “Speedy Drummer”? We may never know. Townshend helped out on the recording by playing bass.

The decade had not only called for revolution to save the world and humanity but also saw at least one serious attempt to do so – Paris 1968. It also saw the Summer of Love (1967) – the height of Flower Power. Something unites the two: calling for humankind to “get it together” and organise armed revolution.

With the optimism of Imagine, it’s a tribute to the political debate of the 1960s and a spirit which, as young climate protestors have shown us, is still alive today.

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