By 1963 the newspapers were calling it "Beatlemania" - and there was no doubt that Britain was in love with The Beatles. Screaming fans clogged the streets around the London Palladium when the Liverpool rock group starred in a TV show, caused traffic jams at airports - incidentally delaying the new Prime Minister - and bought(...)


"Don't fret cat, it's all bells. We got no bread baby, but that's not our bag anyway. So dig the crazy scene and don't be such a drag". The beats checked out of the idyllic life promised by 1950's suburbia, making their home in the smoky jazz clubs of the urban utopia. They were the(...)

Bermuda Triangle

The Bermuda Triangle is an area in the North Atlantic Ocean where, over the years, many ships and planes allegedly disappeared without a trace. Stories of such vanishings were being reported as early as 1950 but, during the 1970s, obsession with this "cursed" area of the sea took hold on a colossal scale and there was(...)

Big Hair

In the extremes of the 80s, the "bigger is better" concept came also to hair. To follow the fashion precept that all things must be in proportion, the wide shoulders, nipped waists and ballooning pants that marked the decade's silhouette left nowhere for hair to go but up. Big hair was sported in malls from(...)


'Bigfoot' was a major "thing" in the 1970s, explored in numerous documentaries, and imagined on such series as The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman.  Sasquatch even starred in his own Saturday morning series, Bigfoot and Wildboy.


The biorhythm arcade machines of the 1970s were certainly akin to fortune-telling machines, but with all those lines and numbers, they gave the impression that their predictions were actually steeped in cold, hard science. No sir, this wasn’t any kind of Zoltan hocus-pocus - after all, if you were staring down at a custom-made graph(...)

Bisexual Chic

During the sexually liberated 70's, when the rule of thumb was "if it feels good do it", gay sexuality seemed a lot less taboo. Rock stars (especially British ones) camped it up - or pretended to - as part of keeping up their image. Bisexuality was momentarily something to boast about in the late 70's,(...)

Black Lights

In the late 60s and early 70s, the Black Light brought a new dimension to our world. White T-shirts and teeth suddenly would glow in the dark, and gaudy fluorescent hippy posters would come alive with secret symbols and slogans. The so-called black light comes from ultraviolet rays that are invisible to the human eye.(...)

Blaxploitation Movies

  After the civil rights victories of the previous decade, 70s America had realised how hip, happenin' and marketable the black image was. Hollywood saw major dollar signs, so a machine was quickly invented which churned out movies showcasing the style, rhythm and badness which Whitey could never hope to possess but could view from a distance(...)


The white anklets known as bobby sox (socks) rocked the conservative world when teenagers began wearing the socks with saddle shoes as a form of adolescent rebellion in the late 40s. During the war years, rationing of silk and nylon prohibited women from wearing their stockings. Improvising, the British made a short ankle sock to(...)

Boombox/Ghetto Blaster

A boombox (or Ghetto Blaster) - basically a large but portable cassette player with two or more loudspeakers - was first developed by Philips who released their 'Radiorecorder' in 1969. Soon every Japanese electronics manufacturer had one in their product range and flooded the European boombox market, continuing to innovate with size, form factor and(...)

Brat Pack

When young actors like Emilio Estevez, Molly Ringwald, Matthew Broderick and Rob Lowe moved out of obscurity and into films like The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller's Day Off and St Elmo's Fire they seemed like just the usual starlets. Critics pasted them and adults ignored them. But the teen audience loved them. Under the patronage of their mentor, writer and director John(...)

Break Dancing

A major component of the budding hip-hop culture of the early 80s, break dancing was a physically demanding youth-oriented dance activity involving complex, improvisational manoeuvres like bizarre gymnastic floor exercises. It evolved from the street corners of urban areas in the USA (like New York City) and was ideally a creative expression that allowed gangs(...)


The mid-90s was a golden era for British music, with several fine bands all coming good at the same time. There was, though, little camaraderie among the practitioners of what came to be called 'Britpop' - as evidenced by the 1995 chart war between the top two bands of the genre, the arty pop-oriented middle-class(...)

Bumper Stickers

My other car is a . . . I brake for . . . Love is . . . Honk If You Love Jesus Jesus Saves Ass, Gas or Grass - Nobody Rides For Free Honk If You're Horny Have A Nice Day Hang Ten Keep On Truckin' Hang Loose Make Love Not War Make(...)

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