Glo Back: Remembering the wild summer of '69
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The Eagle Has Landed2 of 11
As Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin took that giant leap for mankind on July 21, 1969, crowds gathered back on Earth, watching their footsteps via the world's first live satellite broadcast. The success of Apollo 11's lunar landing catapulted the U.S. to the head of the Space Race and became one of the most notable achievements of the 20th century.
Rocking & Rolling3 of 11
Although they wouldn't be performing at Woodstock in August, The Rolling Stones did appear at the U.K.'s festival equivalent: the London Hyde Park concert on July 5, 1969. Yet before debuting their newly minted "Honky Tonk Women" to the crowd of 500,000, The Stones read a poem and released thousands of butterflies in memory of their former guitarist Brian Jones, who had died two days earlier.
Black Is Beautiful4 of 11
Despite having only two lines as Dionne in the rock musical Hair when it premiered in England, Marsha Hunt (who briefly dated Mick Jagger) started turning heads as the first black woman to appear on the cover of British Vogue in January 1969. The New York Times later credited Hunt's cover girl appearances as being instrumental to the black is beautiful movement.
Broadway's New Age5 of 11
In the dawn of a new theatrical age, Hair made waves (long and flowing) as Broadway's first rock musical. The show's title track, "Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In," by The Fifth Dimension topped the Billboard charts in July 1969, claiming the No. 2 spot under The Archies' "Sugar, Sugar." (Yes, a cartoon-animated band really did have the year's top single.)
Road Trip Renegades6 of 11
One of the first films to resonate with youth counterculture, Easy Rider opened in July 1969 and launched Peter Fonda and Jack Nicholson into the Hollywood limelight. The film about motorcycle bikers and their wild escapade from L.A. to Mardi Gras in New Orleans brought in an unexpected $40 million worldwide (a much-needed boost for the lagging industry at the time). It also clinched Academy Award nominations for both stars: Best Screenplay for Fonda and Best Supporting Actor for Nicholson.
Showing Some Leg7 of 11
As hairstyles grew longer, girls' skirts went in a slightly opposite direction. First introduced in 1966 by Mary Quant in London, the miniskirt didn't enter fad territory in the U.S. until popularized by actresses like Ali MacGraw or Jane Fonda, who often paired their minis with boots or leggings. But in other circles, the mini got a less enthusiastic response—particularly on the Ohio Senate floor, where a journalist was ousted for her risqué ensemble in 1969. The Vatican also had it banned from St. Peter's Basilica in Rome.
The Dream Continues8 of 11
Following her husband's assassination in 1968, Coretta Scott King published her memoir, My Life With Martin Luther King Jr., in the summer of 1969 and continued working as an active leader with the civil rights movement. The Coretta Scott King Book Awards were also established in 1969 in memory of her husband to recognize talented authors and illustrators in the African-American community who value and advocate universal human rights.
Hollywood Tragedy9 of 11
Although 1969 was a summer of peace, love and rock 'n' roll, it was also a summer of sorrow. In July, Valley of the Dolls actress Sharon Tate was a budding Hollywood star, the wife of renowned movie-director Roman Polanski and an expectant mother, eight months pregnant with her first child. But in August, she and four others fell victim to a horrific killing spree plotted by cult leader Charles Manson and his followers. Manson was found guilty of conspiracy and convicted to life in prison.
A Mafia Hit10 of 11
Before making their indelible movie mark in 1972, America's iconic mafia family made its literary debut in 1969 as The Godfather settled onto the best-seller list. Yet even Vito Corleone's gusto couldn't keep up with Alexander Portnoy's bawdiness. The sexually candid and controversial novel Portnoy's Complaint by Philip Roth captured the top spot.
Furniture as Art11 of 11
Keeping with the 1960s mid-century modern aesthetic, furniture wasn't only functional— it was also art. And if the furniture happened to be designer Eero Saarinen's Tulip Table, then it was award-winning art. Saarinen's design won the 1969 Museum of Modern Art Award after seeking to eliminate the "ugly, confusing, unrestful world resulting from the slum of legs underneath typical tables and chairs." The result was a pedestal-style design that has maintained its popularity well past 1969.
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