What’s in a name?


I’m putting the finishing touches to the book Autumn of Love. Through it I refer to Beats, Beatniks, Mods, Rockers, Skinheads etc but especially to that transitional period around 1966/1968, in music, fashion and lifestyle between the Mods and the ‘Hippies’.

But of all the teenage tribes, the label I’m least comfortable with is that last one, Hippy. I understand of course the argument that “all labels are meaningless man, they’re just the tricks of the media”, but without some kinds of labels and even stereotypes, it becomes almost impossible to write anything in fewer than a million words (the same point applies to musical genres).

Why does the term Hippy make me uneasy? Here are a couple of pictorial examples. The first image illustrated an article by Nik Cohn about the end of the mods and it appeared in the Observer colour supplement on 27 August 1967. Note, these people are called “Hippies”


HOWEVER, if those very smart young people are HIPPIES – as with the Mods, practising, “clean living, under difficult circumstances” – then what’s this guy?



Author: pompeypop

University lecturer, longtime local musician and recently historian of popular music - especially in and around Portsmouth. My blog is entirely about that topic

5 thoughts on “What’s in a name?

  1. The top picture are just a load of Kings Road Sloane type trendies!!!!
    Whereas Neil was just a dirty student from 10 years later!!!

  2. Hippies are called after the 40s jazz age Hipsters..they were famous for smoking a lot of weed and sarcasm…

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