The Beatles in Spain: The Contribution of Beat Music and Ye-yés to the (Subtle) Musical, Cultural and Political Openness of General Franco’s Regime in the 1960s
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AuthorRuiz Mas, José
Universidad de Alicante
Spain’s tourism in the 1960sFranco’s SpainThe Beatles; Ye-yéHippiesAnglicisms in Spanish
Ruiz Mas, José. 2022. “The Beatles in Spain: The Contribution of Beat Music and Ye-yés to the (Subtle) Musical, Cultural and Political Openness of General Franco’s Regime in the 1960s.” Alicante Journal of English Studies 36: 111-130. [https://doi.org/10.14198/raei.2022.36.06]
From the late 1950s and throughout the 1960s, the impact of American twist and rock'n'roll and British beat music, the Eurovision Song Contest, the considerable growth of the national record industry, the number of radio stations and the (still timid) deployment of nationwide TV gave rise in Spain to the development of the ye-yé fashion amongst the young Spanish population. This was accompanied by the development of a mild feeling of rebellion and critical spirit against the traditional conservative/Catholic status quo and the conventional mores of the previous generation. Indeed, from 1964-65 onwards dozens of Beatle-like bands imitated the Beatles' rhythms, language, image, poses, fashion and song lyrics. The two live performances of the Beatles in Madrid and Barcelona in 1965 disseminated their popularity even further in Franco's Spain. English became the lingua franca of modernity, of international tourism and of the new musical genres. In this Anglophile context, Beatlemania was to exert a relatively gentle influence on the social and political Spanish scenario of the decade and contributed to preparing the path to the country's democratization in the late 1970s.