What it Was Like Growing Up In the 60s

Image by stuarthampton Pixabay

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Disco Dancing in the 60’s Photo by Clker-Free-Vector-Images Pixabay


I will be starting this post in 1963 when I was 11 years old and in the sixth grade living in Durango, Colorado, while my dad was stationed on Johnston Island for a year in the Pacific Ocean. He was in the Air Force. My sisters, Lori and Kim, were 2 years old and an infant.

My friends were starting to be a very important part of my life. In my opinion, the ’60s had the best music of any decade, and you still have music from that era in commercials and in movies.

The top 3 songs on the Billboard Year-End Chart 1. Sugar Shack by Jimmy Gilmar and the Fireballs 2. Surfin USA by the Beach Boys 3. The End of the World by Skeeter Davis.

The Chiffons, Herman’s Hermits (formed in England in 1963), Lesley Gore, Dionne Warwick, James Brown, The Rolling Stones, The Kingsmen, The Beach Boys, and Jan & Dean were some of the popular artists of that year.

President Kennedy Giving A Speech – Photo By space.com Unsplash
  • Beatlemania began when President Kennedy gave a speech in West Berlin.
  • On November 22nd, President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. I remember we were in gym class when it was announced and we were all in shock and crying.
  • The lava lamp was invented by a British inventor.
  • The smiley face was invented to motivate bored office workers.
  • Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech on August 28, 1963
  • The average cost of a new home was $12,650.00
  • The average income was $5807.00
  • Gas was 29 cents a gallon
  • The average cost of a new car was $3,233.00


This year we were transferred to Merced, CA., where my parents bought a home. I was starting junior high school, (which is now called middle school), and had to make new friends.

The top 5 spots on the Billboard Year-End Chart were Beatle songs. 1. Can’t Buy Me Love 2. Twist And Shout 3. She Loves You 4. I Want To Hold Your Hand 5. Please, Please Me.

The popular artists of this year are The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Animals, The Supremes, Bob Dylan found success, Dave Clark 5, The Ronettes, The Who, The Byrds, Lynrd Skynyrd, and The Kinks to name a few. Known as one of the greatest years of music in the last century!

The Beatles – Photo By Isabella Mendes – Canva
  • The Beatles took the world by storm in America.
  • The Civil Rights Act is signed into law.
  • There were race riots in major US cities
  • The War was not authorized against N. Vietnam. Saigon was taken over.
  • Cassius Clay won the World heavyweight boxing championship, beating Sonny Liston.
John Lennon Photo By stuarthampton Pixabay

“If someone thinks that peace and love are just a cliche that must have been left behind in the 60s, that’s a problem. Peace and love are eternal.”

― John Lennon


I continued to 8th grade, still living in Merced, CA.

The Billboard Year-End Chart top 3 songs. 1. Wooley Bully – Sam The Sham & The Pharaohs 2. I Can’t Help Myself – Four Tops 3. I Can’t Get No Satisfaction – The Rolling Stones.

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Popular artists such as The Beatles continued to reign at the top, The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Petula Clark, The Beach Boys, and Led Zeppelin.

Vietnam Memorial Wall Photo by comuirgheasa Pixabay
  • The miniskirt appears in London.
  • Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. led the civil rights march in Alabama.
  • Race riots broke out in Watts, California.
  • The war in Vietnam worsens and we continue to lose more men.
  • The anti-war movement grows.
  • The craze for kid’s toys – Super Ball and The Skate Board.
  • Skirts got shorter and men’s hair grew longer.
  • The miniskirt made its appearance.


Now I started my high school years, still in Merced, CA.

The Billboard Year-End Chart top 3 songs. 1. The Ballad Of The Green Berets – Sgt. Barry Sadler 2. Cherish – The Association 3. You’re My Soul & Inspiration – Righteous Brothers.

The artists are Simon & Garfunkel, The Animals, Tom Jones, The Beach Boys, Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin, The Yardbirds, The Beatles, The Byrds, The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, The Doors, Cream, Ike & Tina Turner, Jimi Hendrix, The Supremes, “Little” Stevie Wonder, and The Monkees.

The Monkees Had A Popular TV Show 1966 – 1968
Photo by skeeze Pixabay
  • The Monkees were created for a TV show from 1966 to 1968. They became very popular and had many hit songs.
  • Miniskirts are in fashion
  • The war in Vietnam is still going on.
  • Inflation grew due to the war.
  • Race riots continued.
  • Fashion included lots of colors, patterns, and boots.
  • Protesting continued against the Vietnam war.
  • Some say the LA Times thought 1966 could be the rock-n-roll most revolutionary year, thanks to The Beatles, Bob Dylan, and The Beach Boys. After 50 years a case can be made that 1966 may have been the single most creatively expansive year of ALL! We don’t know how objective this is!


I am now a sophomore in high school and still living in Merced, CA.

The Billboard Year-End Charts show the top 3 songs. 1. To Sir With Love – Lulu 2. The Letter – The Boxtops 3. Ode To Billie Joe – Bobbie Gentry.

Psychedelic rock has been introduced during this time period. Popular artists are The Beatles, Small Faces, Eric Burden & The Animals, The Doors, Jefferson Airplane, Pink Floyd, The Byrds, The Rolling Stones, The Who, Procol Harum, The Monkees, and Jimi Hendrix Experience.

Muhammad Ali Stripped Of His Boxing Title – Photo By skeeze Pixabay
  • World’s first heart transplant.
  • First ATM machine.
  • The 1st Super Bowl.
  • We were still in the Vietnam war with increased troops.
  • More peace rallies.
  • Muhammad Ali was stripped of his boxing title, due to refusing to join the Army.
  • Twiggy, a famous model, made her appearance with a bang!
  • The miniskirt even went shorter and stayed popular.
  • The Beatles still reigned at the top!
  • “Discotheques” began appearing throughout cities.
  • Color TV became the rage.
  • Smoking pot became a way to socialize and dance to music.


This is my Junior year in high school and my dad was transferred to Cheney, Washington for one year. We lived in base housing outside of Spokane, Washington, and had to ride the school bus to Cheney High School. Back to making new friends again!

The Billboard Year-End Chart top 3 songs. 1. Hey Jude – The Beatles 2. Love Is Blue – Paul Mauriat 3. Honey – Bobby Goldsboro.

The popular artists were Billy Joel, The Bee Gees, Earth, Wind & Fire, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Rush, The Temptations, The Supremes, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, James Brown, Sly & The Family Stone, Blood Sweat & Tears.

Martin Luther King Jr Was Assassinated On April 4th – Image By johnhain Pixabay
  • Dr. Christian Barnard performed 1st successful heart transplant.
  • Boeing 747 made its first maiden flight.
  • The 911 call service started.
  • War continued killing men, women, and children.
  • Imported cars were becoming popular.
  • Martin Luther King was assassinated on April 4th.
  • Robert Kennedy was shot 3 times on June 5th and died the next day.
  • Peace riots continued and more and more people were against the war.
  • The Beatles and Rolling Stones ruled the music market.
  • See-through blouses and midis and maxi skirts joined the miniskirt fashion trend.
  • Apollo 7 launched on October 11th and was the first manned mission in the Apollo program.
  • Apollo 8 launched on December 21st and was the first manned mission to leave Earth’s orbit, to orbit the moon, and return to Earth.


We did our final move my senior year as my dad retired after 21 years, to Denver, Colorado, where I graduated from high school.

The Billboard Year-End Chart top 3 songs. 1. Sugar, Sugar – The Archies 2. Aquarius/Let The Sunshine In – The 5th Dimension 3. I Can’t Get Next To You – The Temptations.

Popular artists were Iron Butterfly, Aretha Franklin, Neil Young, Crosby, Stills, & Nash, Led Zeppelin, Santana (debuts), Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Rolling Stones, and The Beatles, who were beginning to wind down, which we didn’t know at the time, Tommy James & The Shondells, Donovan, Fleetwood Mac, Cream, Dusty Springfield, The Moody Blues, Chicago, The Turtles, Elton John, Three Dog Night.

The First Moon Walk On Apollo 11 – Photo By WikiImages Pixabay
  • The Beatle’s last public performance was on the roof of Apple Records.
  • The Beatles released their final album “Abby Road” that they recorded together.
  • Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet makes its debut.
  • Pontiac Firebird Trans Am is introduced.
  • Woodstock attracts over 350,000 rock-n-roll fans
  • Charles Manson murders 5 people, including Sharon Tate, with members of his cult.
  • The first man lands on the moon on Apollo 11 mission with Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin.
  • War protests continue.
  • The draft lottery is instituted for the US Forces.
  • Troop withdrawal starts from Vietnam.
  • Richard Nixon became President.
  • Sesame Street debuts.
  • Senator Edward Kennedy’s affair became public
  • Bell bottom jeans and tie-dye shirts became the trend.

In Conclusion

The ’60s can be remembered as a time of war, and equal rights protests, in my opinion, one of the most diversified music genres, as you still hear music from this time in commercials, TV programs, and movies.

The Beatles were dominant and became a legacy, several important public and political figures were assassinated, the space program was strong, and a man walked on the moon, fashion was more colorful and bold than I can remember, and many new inventions and services were created.

There was so much that transpired during this decade, definitely a time of change!

I feel this was a good time to grow up, as we were taught respect and manners, we didn’t feel entitled as our parents set rules and boundaries, we had TVs with 3 or 4 channels, no cell phones, party landlines (we shared the line, so you had to wait until the line was clear), no internet, and we went outside and played with our friends, sometimes all day, until it was dark.

If you found this post interesting and informative leave a comment in the section below, and please share it on social media and with family and friends.

Here are is another post you might enjoy: Celebrate Safely On The 4th Of July At Home, On The Water, Or At The Park

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See you soon, Denise

If you want to read more about the ’60s, please check out the book below from Amazon.

Posts may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases and collect a small commission at no cost to you. This helps my blog to keep going. Thank you! For more info, read my disclosure policy.

10 thoughts on “What it Was Like Growing Up In the 60s

  1. I can’t imagine the excitement of being around for Apollo 11. That must have been amazing! Lovely post and I’d of loved to have been around for the fashion. Thanks for sharing!

    1. First off, Delta, thank you for subscribing to my blog and thank you for the comment. Yes, the ’60s had a lot going on, and a generation looking for a change! The fashion was fun and colorful. I hope you will enjoy other posts and be inspired!

  2. Thank you for the comment Mellissa, I appreciate the feedback! It was the best, and you now see numerous commercials with songs from that time period. My older son has been a BIG Beatles fan since he was a young kid!

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