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In 1967 the Daily Mail conducted a survey to establish who teenagers idolised

Although Hollywood was already a strong force and pop music had major clout over kids’ imaginations, it was still a very different world to the celebrity-driven egomaniacal world that we live in today. Supermarkets were new, televisions were only just becoming commonplace and teenagers weren’t as image-conscious as you can see from the video. It’s amazing who British teenagers voted as their top 10 idols:

1. Their Mothers

That’s right. Teenagers voted Mum as their number one role model, a warm and family-focused gesture from a generation who perhaps depended more on their parents to receive information and education than young people do today.

2. The Queen

The recent royal wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton proved just how popular the monarchy is, yet a teenage poll in 2011 would never rank The Queen so highly. Lady Gaga, Victoria Beckham and Jordan would be much more likely candidates.

3. Sir Francis Chichester

Sailing around the world was seen as such an astonishing feat in the 1960s it was basically science-fiction. It’s incredible how venerated these solo explorers were. (Good clip: 500,000 people greet Francis Chichester upon his return to Plymouth)

4. Mr Wilson

Prime Minister Harold Wilson was voted 4th biggest icon to teenagers in 1967, remarkable! We wonder where teenagers today would place David Cameron? Probably three hundred and forty-eight places beneath rapper Dizzee Rascal.

5. Their Fathers

Good old Dad, in at fifth place, not quite as cool as the Prime Minister evidently. Still, defying Freud nevertheless.

6. President Johnson

It seems even back then in 1967 teenagers were aware how chained British politics was to activities across the Atlantic. Interestingly, Barack Obama could well feature on a list of teen idols today, the first African American President and more liberal than his predecessor.

7. “Young husband”

We don’t understand this one? Presumably teenagers didn’t have husbands. Is it a person called Younghusband? We can’t keep up. Do leave a comment below if you think you can help us out here, thanks!

8. Elvis

The first pop star on the list, it’s Elvis alright, shown here with his bride Priscilla. Elvis is still an icon today, although perhaps not a role model that teenagers relate to. Still, he’s the first entertainment sector entrant on his list, a sign of times to come. (Good clip: Elvis weds Priscilla in 1967)

9. U Thant

Who on earth is U Thant? He was the United Nations Secretary. We’re starting to think teenagers’ Dads filled the questionnaire out now. Admittedly they were Daily Mail readers, still, could any teenager in Britain name the current UN Secretary? What about the current presenters of T4? As we thought.

10th equal. Prince Philip

Prince Philip, a teen icon. Now 89 years old we think it’s fair to assume teenagers wouldn’t place him up there in 2011, although he’s definitely cooler than Will.I.Am.

10th equal. Bobby Charlton

Bobby is still seen as a legend and a hero thanks to the 1966 World Cup victory. We’re sure David Beckham would rank today, and of course footballer Ronaldo, although both are businessmen and fashionistas as much as they are footballers, and neither men have achieved anything on the pitch to compare to Sir Charlton. (Good clip: World Cup Final 1966, colour footage)

If you were a teenager in the 1960s who would you vote to be your 10 role models and/or icons? We’d definitely have Mick Jagger, Brigitte Bardot and David Hockney in there. And what if you were a teenager today, in 2011? Would you vote into the top 10? A few suggestions from the staff at British Pathé: Lady Gaga, Prince William, Rihanna and Karen Brady. Goodness.

WATCH THE REEL HERE: Britain’s Top With The Teens (1967)

Watch over 90,000 archived newsreels for free on www.britishpathe.com

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3 thoughts on “1960s Teen Idols: Life Before Lady Gaga

  1. Apropos the perplexing #7, we are told it is ‘THE young husband’ and we are shown what I assume is a typical young man at his work desk? I would say that rules out #7 being a specific person and is perhaps more in the general category of mums and dads…

    Does that mean teenagers in 1967 admired young husbands in general? Your guess is as good as mine! (I take it that young wives weren’t as admirable? :P )

    Stunned to see U Thant on the list and above Prince Philip and Bobby Charlton at that!

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