The Glory Years

Watch Liverpool fans unite on the Anfield Kop to sing The Beatles, 1960s

Liverpool can not only be recognised as the birthplace of The Beatles but also be accredited with the genesis of British rock in the 1960s. From the Casbah to the Cavern, the 1960s saw the rise of the Fab Four to unparalleled glory and fame. Running in tandem, the decade also witnessed Liverpool Football Club achieve success in a way which had never been done in the club’s past. Bill Shankly, the then manager of Liverpool Football Club, made it possible through his immaculate work ethic and devotion towards the club. He once famously said, “Liverpool was made for me and I was made for Liverpool” in a quote the epitomises him as a man. Shankly had received a telegram shortly before the FA Cup Final in 1965, which read: “Best of luck lads, we’ll be watching on the tele” and signed by “John, Paul, George and Ringo.”  

The Kop represents a football fraternity unlike any other. The Beatles’ rise to popularity instilled a feeling of pride among the Kopites and soon, with the city arm in arm, the Liverpool fans could be seen swaying in rhythm to popular songs such as ‘She Loves You’ as the likes of Tommy Smith, Roger Hunt, Tommy Lawrence, Ian St John and more played before them. Shankly was full of praise for the Kop during his reign as the manager, once stating: “Well the Kop’s exclusive. The Spion Kop at Liverpool is an institution. And if you are a member of the Kop you feel as if you are a member of a big society where you’ve got thousands of friends all roundabout you. And they’re united and loyal.”

‘She Loves You’, released on August 23, 1963, was the best-selling single by the Beatles during the 1960s. “Yeah Yeah Yeah” soon became a catchphrase and several European countries referred to The Beatles as the “Yeah-Yeahs”. In fact, Ozzy Osbourne was so moved by this song that he chose a career in music—like countless other familiar faces in music. “Imagine you go to bed today and the world is black and white and then you wake up, and everything’s in colour,” Osbourne said, poetically summing up the mammoth impact the band had on contemporary culture.

Liverpool fans entering Anfield, 1960s. (Credit: Cadgliad GWP)

The Beatles revolutionised music in ways manifold. John, Paul, George and Ringo influenced the youth with their music and charisma which were unrivalled. Experimenting with different instruments and tunes yet keeping it simple was what appealed to the youth. Being enterprising and adapting to counterculture allured the audience.   

In truth, the 1950s were difficult for Liverpool Football Club. They were relegated from First Division and found themselves competing for a place in the Second Division of English Football. Bill Shankly was just the person the club required to bolster their confidence and take responsibility at the helm. Under his stewardship, Liverpool were promoted back to the First Division for the third and final time and went on to win a league title after 17 years. In 1965, Liverpool won the FA Cup for the first time in its history with Ian St. John scoring the winner in the final. Liverpool’s dominance in football was not restricted to England and the rise of the club could be fathomed by its impact in European football. In 1966, though Liverpool lost to Borussia Dortmund in the final of the European Cup Winners’ Cup, reaching that stage was a big step forward and the harbinger of greater things to come.

A major rebuilding process was initiated by the Liverpool Government in the 1960s owing to the devastation caused by World War-II. Peaceful times ushered in a wave of youth culture with innovative ideas and creativity. Trade and commerce flourished during this period, which led to employment in this sector. The docks on both sides of Mersey were busy like never before and most of the youth were employed in these docks. The love for culture and emotion shared by the people of Liverpool was palpably evident every time the Reds played at Anfield. In spite of being one of the main ports of the Industrial Revolution, it is The Beatles and Liverpool Football Club which define Liverpool as a city.

See the remarkable footage, below.

Comments

comments

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *