Those Were the Days

I well remember the sixties. It was a time of unbounded optimism. Well, except for the Cuban missile crisis and the assassination of JFK, it was. Bright young things were putting a fresh coat of paint on everything – fashion, art, music and even politics. The kids were wearing flowers in their hair, and the age of Aquarius was just around the corner.

The vibe today is completely different. Autocrats are stoking conflict all around the world and everywhere – even in prosperous, peaceful regions – the dark cloud of climate change looms ominously. The flowers have withered, the outlook is grim and even the brightest of sixties colours have faded to black, white and sepia.

But let’s not despair. Beauty and hope will not be extinguished by anger and hatred. Take a look at this post’s headline picture, for example. It’s a lovely face, full of hope and expectation. It is 1968 and Mary Hopkin is looking forward to a lifetime of fun-filled adventures. And yet, she sings a sad song – a song about days gone by, before a once bright future dissolved into a dull and empty loneliness.

According to the comments on this video clip, the tune is Russian, and it was popular in Lithuania long before Mary Hopkin recorded it. I haven’t verified that claim, but it does have a Slavic feel to it. Perhaps that was a subconscious factor in its selection – it certainly fits the mood of the man quietly tapping on the blogger’s keyboard today. But sad songs are often beautiful, and this one is no exception. While we weep with the lyricist, we also delight in the work of the tunesmith, the arranger and the producer. And there’s that clear Welsh voice to savour, too.

In the sixties, London was a riot of colour. Strangely, on Google, black and white photos dominate the search results. In those days, I suppose, ordinary people only took photos at special occasions and mostly in monochrome. Times do change. Our perspectives change, too.


Mary Hopkin released her latest album, Pieces, on 1st February 2022.

3 thoughts on “Those Were the Days

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