Today I posted on Facebook one of my all time favourite, sad songs from 1965; ‘Unchained Melody ‘ by the Righteous Brothers.

Listen to the words if you love sad songs! My novel, ‘Big Dreams’ is set in England in 1965 and is based on my true story and the music is a huge part of it.

It was the It best time to be alive. Everything changed when the 60’s were ushered in; the bands and the music, the fashions, the sexual revolution and a new consciousness for peace in the world.

The second world war had finished over ten years before and people wanted to have fun! They wanted to dance and sing and wear great clothes. There was excitement when The Beatles and The Rolling Stones burst onto the music scene around 1963-1964. We could feel it. My friend and I were teenagers going to a good school and all we wanted to do was see bands every week and do well at school with our A levels. Our dream was to move to Paris, get good jobs and an apartment and leave our parents and dreary England behind! We were having a good time, Jo was enjoying sex and Lily was avoiding it so’s not to risk getting pregnant and getting tied down. The new Birth control pill had just become available but only to those who were sixteen. Lily’s sixteenth birthday was only four moths away. She figured she could then have sex like a boy; with no fear of consequences. Lily and Jo joked that Jo must be sterile as she hadn’t got pregnant!

Trouble started when Jo became mad about Tom Bennett. But when she introduced him to Lily one night at the Bligh’s Hotel, he fell hopelessly in love with Lily. Tom chased her for months but Lily didn’t want to upset her friend. She’s heard he didn’t go out with girls, just have sex with them. In the meantime, they were having fun seeing live bands and even going up to London on the train to The Marquee Club in Wardour street to see Sonny and Cher. Lily had begged and pleaded with her parents to be allowed to stay at Jo’s house for weeks and incredibly, they eventually said ‘yes’ ! Up until then, the most that she could hope for was watching ‘ Top of the Pops ‘ on TV, with Jimmy Saville getting the best bands on his show. Every Saturday night, there were bands like The Rolling Stones,singing ‘ Route 66. Or The Yardbirds, singing, ‘For Your Love ‘.  Cilla Black, singing ‘Anyone Who Had a Heart’. Sandie Shaw, singing, ‘ Always Something There to Remind Me’. Can anyone remember this program or these songs?

Another favourite TV show was, ‘ Ready, Steady, Go’ ! Kathy McGowan was a fabulous host and she would have ‘ The Dave Clarke Five, singing ‘ Glad All Over ‘ or Donovan singing, ‘ Catch The Wind’ .  Jimmy’s not around anymore, having died recently amid a huge scandal. Are you still around Kathy? We’re called ‘Baby Boomers’, all of us who were around then. There’s over ten million ‘ Baby Boomers’ in England, over twenty million in the US and around four million in Australia! I would love to hear from some of you and tell me what you relate to and what are your favourite songs and memories?

Were any of you caught in the big unmarried mother’s homes debacle? One of the friends in ‘Big Dreams’ was! Can’t tell which one, it’s a secret until you read the book! Millions of young girls around the western world got swept up in the 60’s ‘Free love’ paradigm. The birth control pill gave a new expectation to boys and backfired on the girls who were too young to get it. All the girls were in the homes to get their baby’s adopted, some girls wanted to keep their baby but the parents forced them to give it up. There was stigma and embarrassment on the parents side and rarely sympathy for what their daughter was having to endure.

Lily cried a lot when she played her sad songs. Not just because she had a melancholy nature or that her father was a violent man but because she just loved the songs. Gerry and the Pacemakers sang a song, ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’. Tears would roll down her face every time she played it. The Liverpool football fans still sing it at the football games. Lily also cried a lot because she dreamed of Paris, dreamed of beautiful fashion designs; but mostly dreamed of escaping her loveless home. 

Lily, (me), has another dream now, for ‘Big Dreams’ to become a best selling novel and made into a film one day. Can you imagine the fun, the fashion, the music and all the drama in a big, colourful film? Lily can!


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