The FAB66 Suite

I ain't got nothing against no Viet Cong
38 x 31cm. Mixed media on card. Acrylic double-tray-frame.
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Muhammad Ali, who had recently changed his name from Cassius Clay, declared himself a conscientious objector and refused to go to the Vietnam war. He was subsequently denied a boxing license in every US state. Ali’s stance was clear "I ain't got nothing against no Viet Cong; no Viet Cong never called me nigger." Stripped of his titles in the US, he toured Europe, successfully defending his World Heavyweight title against Britain’s Henry Cooper. In an interview that year, the Champ explained how he got into boxing “Someone stole my bicycle and I said I was going to learn to fight so that I could catch him and beat him up. But I never did catch him. But I ended up the champ of the whole world.”

The Beatles
The band toured the far east, playing Tokyo at the Nippon Budokan, amongst high security. This year saw the demise of the band’s famed ‘mop-top’ hairstyle. On a hiatus before recording began on the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album, each Beatle privately grew a moustache. On 29 August 1966 they played their final concert at Candlestick Park in San Francisco. George Harrison marries Pattie Boyd.

1966 saw Cherilyn Sarkisian and Salvatore Bono touring to promote their new album - The Wondrous World Tour - with a performance at London’s Finsbury Park Astoria, Cher going barefoot. That year, the same venue would see visits from The Beach Boys, Lulu, Dusty Springfield, The Small Faces, Roy Orbison and The Who. Cher would also be promoting her second solo album - The Sonny Side of Chér. Which included the hit Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)… Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down) Cher's first million-selling single

Bang bang, he shot me down
Bang bang, I hit the ground
Bang bang, that awful sound
Bang bang, my baby shot me down

More popular than Jesus
38 x 31cm. Mixed media on card. Acrylic double-tray-frame.
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In 1966, John Lennon would meet Yoko Ono at the Indica Gallery, London for her exhibition ‘Unfinished Paintings And Objects’. That same year, he controversially suggested The Beatles were “more popular than Jesus.”

American born, British-based folk recording artist Julie Felix became the resident singer on the popular BBC TV programme The Frost Report.

Steve McQueen starred in Nevada Smith, and The Sand Pebbles - for which he was nominated for Best Actor.

Roger Moore found worldwide fame, as he starred in The Saint. He would later sum up his acting ability “Left eyebrow raised, right eyebrow raised.”

Terence Stamp starred in Modesty Blaise, which was entered into the 1966 Cannes Film Festival. He also began a short relationship with Julie Christie, on the set of Far From the Madding Crowd. A signed photo of Stamp, in his 1962 breakthrough role as Billy Budd, presented to FAB’s grandmother Daisy James, reads “My first supporter. Best Wishes Terry”.

Hi Diddle Riddle 
38 x 31cm. Mixed media on card. Acrylic double-tray-frame.
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Elvis releases Love Letters, Frankie and Johnny, Tell Me Why and If Every Day Was Like Christmas. He proposes to Priscilla Beaulieu.

Bob Dylan released the seminal rock album Blonde on Blonde, which featured the hit single Just Like A Woman. His World Tour takes his band to The Royal Albert Hall for two gigs on 26th and 27th May. A week earlier, whilst performing at Manchester's Free Trade Hall, emotions spill over, when impassioned folk-follower Keith Butler expresses his disgust with Dylan’s embracing of a more ‘electronic’ sound, by shouting "Judas!" from the stalls. Dylan’s response was "I don't believe you. You're a liar!"

Roy Orbison released the album The Classic Roy Orbison. He visited the UK to promote the single “Twinkle Toes”, with support by The Walker Brothers, The Marionettes and Lulu. A ticket for the Front Stalls at the Odeon Theatre Leeds cost 15/-.

The Batman television series, starring Adam West, debuts on ABC. In the first episode, Commissioner Gordon declares “I don't know who he is beneath that mask of his, but I know when we need him, and we need him now!” One hundred and twenty episodes were produced. A film based on the television show, Batman, was also released in 1966.

60 x 60cm.
Mixed media on card. Acrylic double-tray-frame.
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In 1966, Vogue magazine celebrated its golden anniversary. At the height of the swinging sixties, London was the centre of the creative world, across a multitude of industries. Therefore the natural choice to shoot the cover of a special 50th Anniversary issue was an English fashion and portrait photographer, born in the post-war East End - David Bailey - who owes much of his subsequent success to the then Vogue Art Director John Parsons. His cover model was ‘it girl’ Donna Mitchell, who would also feature within the issue, photographed by American David Montgomery - best known for his iconic photograph of Jimi Hendrix.

VOGUE50 also includes the work of Brian Duffy (who alongside Bailey, defined the sixties, with notable images of Michael Caine, Twiggy, Jean Shrimpton, and most famously the shoot which resulted in David Bowie’s Aladdin Sane cover visage), William Klein’s shot of Audrey Hepburn, and Art Kane.

“All I could do at school was paint and draw and that was the only time I ever passed any exam. It was the only thing I ever got right at school.”

2016 - Vogue celebrated its centenary.
All artwork, text and images © James Straffon 2024.