YESTERDAY, Dylan Jones wrote how 1995 was Britain’s cultural boom year. But some Sun writers disagree.
Here, they share the 365 days that they believe changed the culture of the country.
1971: By Tony Parsons
‘All the creative promise of the Sixties reached glorious fulfilment’
IN 1971 some of the greatest musicians who ever lived released their greatest music.
It was the year when all the creative promise of the 1960s reached glorious fulfilment. It was the year of Sticky Fingers by the Rolling Stones, Blue by Joni Mitchell, Imagine by John Lennon, What’s Going On by Marvin Gaye Who’s Next by The Who, LA Woman by the Doors and Led Zeppelin IV – Stairway To Heaven.
These giants still had great music in them, but time was already running out. Jim Morrison would be dead at 27 before the year was out.
John Lennon would retreat into domestic bliss at the Dakota in New York, while Keith Richards’ struggles with heroin addiction were all ahead.
But in 1971 the music was unimaginably good.
And the coming stars of the Seventies were getting into their stride in 1971. David Bowie released Hunky Dory and Marc Bolan shocked the nation by wearing glitter on his face when T. Rex did Hot Love on Top Of The Pops.
And it wasn’t just the music. The Two Ronnies, The Old Grey Whistle Test, and Upstairs, Downstairs all made their debut on TV, while blockbuster movies A Clockwork Orange, Dirty Harry and The French Connection were all made.
1971 was a glorious eruption of creative genius.
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1979: By Ulrika Jonsson
‘It was a culture shock, but remains imprinted on my mind and heart’
THE year that changed the course of my life forever was 1979. I came to England in June and it was nothing short of a culture shock.
I arrived wearing my baggy Levi’s 501s while all the English girls were still in super skinny jeans and boob-tubes. I felt ahead of the times. You’d just elected your first female Prime Minister, Maggie T.
Everyone seemed to be on strike but you were just coming out of your winter of discontent and things felt like they were on the up.
I discovered pubs – in fact, the first ever Wetherspoons had just opened and people were driving Ford Cortinas. Inflation may have been at 13.4 per cent but The Life Of Brian had just been released and I laughed like a drain.
You had half-day closing in the shops on a Wednesday afternoon which perplexed me. And milk was delivered in glass bottles to your door.
They may not have been the best of times. But they weren’t the worst of times. And 1979 will forever be imprinted on my mind and my heart.
1981: By Jane Moore
‘Men knew more about make-up and hair products than women’
IN 1981, I was a few months into Journalism College in Cardiff when I met fashion trailblazer Steve Strange.
Already running The Blitz Club in London, he would make regular trips home to Wales and hang out at cool clothes store Paradise Garage, where we’d all flock at weekends.
There, he told us he was bringing the Blitz’s ‘in house band’ – Spandau Ballet – to play at a small venue in Cardiff’s then undeveloped docklands.
Their debut single To Cut A Long Story Short has just reached No 5 in the charts, but their visit – and Steve’s influence – placed Cardiff at the forefront of the New Romantic movement that went on to define 1981.
Duran Duran emerged from it, as did The Human League, ABC, Japan, Soft Cell, Culture Club and Steve’s band Visage.
The hits that year were classics, still sung with gusto today. Don’t You Want Me, Tainted Love, Vienna, Ghost Town, Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic and Stevie Wonder’s exquisite Lately.
OK, we’ll skirt over Joe Dolce’s Shaddap You Face and the Birdie Song, but every year has its duds.
The fashion was velvet knickerbockers, frilly white shirts and ornate, buckled shoes – and men knew more about make-up and hair products than women.
2001: By Clemmie Moodie
‘Life was cheesy, life was good . . . if only we could turn back time’
FOR the most part, life in 2001 didn’t take itself too seriously. Life was cheesy. Above all, life was good.
We were introduced to Donkey (and Shrek), Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake donned their co-ordinating denim outfits at the American Music Awards, and the Now 49 cassette was filled with banger after banger.
Blue – one of the most under-rated bands of all time – released All Rise.
And Gabrielle, who rocked an eye patch like no other singer in the history of singing, gave us Out Of Reach.
A track which featured on Bridget Jones’s Diary – itself a cultural phenomenon – it was also the sound-track to my first ever heartbreak. Of course, I wasn’t the only one doing some dumping that year.
Politically, too, things were afoot.
It forever changed the world’s political landscape, and shattered the hope, the goodwill, and the sheer joyous bubblegum pop spirit of the previous nine months.
In the words of Cher – still going strong in 2001 – if only we could Turn Back Time…
2010: By Kevin Adjei-Darko
‘Goodbye True Religion baggy jeans and hello slim fit T-shirts and chinos’
THE start of the 2010s was undoubtedly the best year for a number of reasons.
I was still at university living a carefree life as an aspiring journalist.
The aesthetics of my first car, a Vauxhall Tigra, bought in June of that year, genuinely made me feel like an F1 driver.
My fashion sense had a complete overhaul – it was goodbye to True Religion baggy jeans and hello to chinos and slim fit T-shirts.
It was also the year Instagram arrived. I had a Blackberry, which was incompatible, so I had to borrow a mate’s iPhone to update my photos.
Rihanna was also having the time of her life with her Loud era. Cee Lo Green gave all bitter exes an infectious anthem with Forget You. And while One Direction may not have won X Factor this year, they went on to dominate the charts.
Sports-wise, there was much to celebrate as England beat old rivals Australia to win the T20 World Cup.
And we had our coalition government as Tory leader David Cameron and Nick Clegg’s Lib Dems shared power. So let’s raise a glass to the roaring 2010 – after all, it was the year of the tiger.
2022: By Adrian Chiles
‘Fact is now more dramatic, uplifting and, yes, stranger than fiction’
CULTURALLY there is no time like the present. Here, now, every day. There’s never been so much of it.
And I’m not talking about films, dramas, comedies, music or whatever genre Love Island is considered part of.
Yes, all this stuff is being churned out in abundance. I’m talking about real life, what’s happening all around us.
Switch the news on and you’ll see there is as much tragedy, comedy, drama and farce as we can possibly consume.
The passing of the Queen and the national coming together which ensued; the horrors of Ukraine and the serious threat of nuclear weapons being used; the musical chairs at the top of our government; the dizzying financial upheaval following the Chancellor’s mini Budget last week; the frightening prospect of the winter ahead.
The list goes on.
Culture, in a sense, has become unnecessary.
No one has to create it any more. It’s happening anyway. You couldn’t make all this stuff up. Fact is now more dramatic, uplifting, frightening, unpredictable and, yes, stranger than fiction.
That said, out of all this chaos, great culture will evolve. I’m not sure how artists of any kind anywhere will do the world justice, but they surely will. It’s going to be fascinating watching them try.
And after the Lionesses’ glorious Euros triumph this summer, could the men make it a “football’s coming home” double?