THE YEAR WAS 1966 – #MusicalMemories

37 Comments#FlashbackFriday, #MusicalMemories, Memoir, Music

The year was 1966.Musical Memories, The Doglady's Den

We had moved back to Germany from Canada the year before (see previous instalment for details, if you missed it. Click HERE). During the week, living on the base, I was just another Canadian “Army Brat”. Weekends with my grandparents and other relatives transformed me back into a German girl. For Easter break (2 weeks), we took a road trip to Tyrol, Austria, where my aunt and uncle owned a hotel and café in the ski resort town of Mayrhofen. Thus began our European travel adventures…

Main sources for music at that time were British Forces Radio, Radio Caroline (A British Pirate Radio station, just like the movie), Radio Luxemburg (broadcasting in 4 languages – English at night), German radio and TV. In April, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones were duking it out on the charts, as usual:

Our two car convoy hit the road, Oma (grandmother) taking the lead in her sporty, white Audi. My mother and I rode along as did Pepe, Oma’s silver poodle. Following behind was my father and Opa (grandfather), who didn’t drive. It was a long trip, approximately 9 hours including rest stops. What I remember most is the dog farting at regular intervals along the way and us frantically opening the windows!

Map Date ©2015 GeoBasis-DE/BKG (©2009), Google
Map Date ©2015 GeoBasis-DE/BKG (©2009), Google

We were given hotel rooms, but also enjoyed spending time in the private apartment and at the café downstairs, which had a lovely outdoor patio. My uncle, a pastry chef by trade, would get up every morning at 5 am and bake the most delectable goodies for afternoon “Kaffee und Kuchen” (coffee and cake), a ritual as important to German culture as Afternoon Tea is to the British. Minutes away from Mount Penken, we sometimes took a cable ride to the top and stopped for lunch. Interesting to see women skiing in bikinis! The sun was warm, but there was still plenty of snow. Only my aunt and uncle knew how to ski (I learned a couple of years later), but we enjoyed the ambiance, nonetheless.

[click images to enlarge]

The café had the requisite jukebox. Although there was less English music on Austria’s charts, Nancy Sinatra made a big impression. That was the year native son Udo Jürgens won the Eurovision Song Contest, (on March 5th), so his entry also got plenty of airplay.


My mother’s other sister had married a Frenchman from Versailles. That July, we were all invited to his sister’s wedding at the family homestead. How exciting! Versailles is only 25 km (~15 miles) away from Paris, so, arrangements were made to stay a few extra days and do some sightseeing. The two-car convoy was back in action, except this time, Pepe stayed behind with a friend. First stop was Strasbourg (in Alsace), where my aunt and uncle lived with their one-year-old daughter. They led the way and we were now a three-car motorcade.

Bochum Germany to France
Map Date ©2015 GeoBasis-DE/BKG (©2009), Google

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The Beatles and Stones still dominated the charts, with Paperback Writer and Paint it Black.
This was the first time I noticed The Spencer Davis Group and The Troggs. Gotta love it!


Mother’s old schoolmate lived a few blocks away from Oma and Opa. Over the course of time, I became good friends with her kids, who were twins; a boy and a girl. They had a band (can’t remember the name of it!) and jammed on weekends. Although I was a couple of years younger, they invited me to participate once in awhile, starting with the tambourine and some backing vocals. My (contralto) voice wasn’t terrible and I could sing in tune so eventually, they let me try a few as the lead. This spurred me on to pursue a professional singing career 10 years later, which went nowhere. Mediocre vocalists aren’t exactly in demand.

The band’s signature tune was “Hanky Panky”, sung by the boy. We all rocked out to that! I managed a credible rendition of Monday, Monday, with the twins singing harmony.

As the year came to a close, I marvelled at my good fortune.
This dual existence was so much fun; and the travel! How I loved the travel!

This is a continuing series, inspired by


It Rains…You Get Wet and Your Daily Dose

Coming next: The year was 1967
More travel adventures and “The Summer of Love”


Where were you in 1966?
Any memories you’d like to share?

Looking forward to your comments!


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Canine Innkeeper in suburban Toronto, Canada, known as “The Doglady”. Writer/website owner, photographer, animal lover, music fanatic, inveterate traveller. History, literature and cinema buff. Eternal “hippie/rockchick”. Binational, German/Canadian and multilingual. Looking for the next adventure!

37 thoughts on “THE YEAR WAS 1966 – #MusicalMemories

  1. This is great! Love the year by year breakdown and memories, and obviously the awesome music of the period, Debbie. Very well done. Certainly will be following this lovely excursion. 🙂

    1. Thanks! 🙂 I will get caught up on yours, as well. Please excuse my terrible memory. 😛 I’m almost finished the edits and will add the same for future posts.

  2. You lucky gal! I was 2 yrs old at that time. I went with my mom and brother in 1972 to Vienna, Salzburg and Graz where my Oma and Opa lived now as well as my Tante Ilse and Onkle Egon. I love the Alps and feel drawn to them even though I have a strong phobic fear of heights. Love the music

    1. It was a good year, Birgit. 🙂 I see you have strong ties with Austria, as well. Your heritage draws you to The Alps, no doubt. Glad you enjoyed the post. A popular Austrian greeting comes to mind…….Grüß Gott! There was definitely a different “flavour” to Austria, as compared to northwestern Germany, where we lived.

  3. I am not so fond of Western music. But then, i kinda liked it. The family fotos are so lovely and reflects bonding and love amongst you all.

  4. Wonderful music. Thanks for sharing. When I listened to Michelle and read the date, I wondered if the American first lady’s parents were influenced by the song.

    1. Hi Joyce; Nice to see you, again. 🙂 I bet so many baby girls were named “Michelle” that year. Glad you enjoyed the post. More to come. Thanks for visiting and have a good weekend.

  5. Oh my! That was my first year in high school, although I know Paperback Writer (my theme song then and now) came out at the same time as Rain, around the beginning of the summer of ’66 (I was living with my dad then). I loved those two songs and played the 45 over and over again until I think it broke. (I still love them; I actually bought the record for Rain–something all Californians were looking for.
    Wasn’t Mick Jagger cute back then? He looked like a street urchin.
    I spent a lot of time at the beach those days, listening to all my dearest music with my handy-dandy transistor radio. I thought I was so lucky to have some top technology. Heeheehee.

    1. Those must have been idyllic days for you, Mary. 🙂 I can just imagine you at the beach, listening to your transistor!
      For you:

  6. Loved reading about that time…I’ve always been fascinated by the bygone decades and feels good to read about it, something about it, from someone who experienced it first time…

    1. Hi, Kim; Glad you enjoyed the post. This is a continuing series. I’m pretty jazzed about writing it because so many things I’d long forgotten come back to mind. Must admit, my life has been pretty exciting in many ways. Still, it wasn’t all roses, but those are chapters for a different book. Concentrating on the good stuff, now. 🙂 Thanks for visiting and have a good weekend.

  7. Good morning, Debbie the Doglady! I often point to 1966 as the greatest year of my life. I got my driver’s license and the freedom and independence that go with it. I gained a new group of friends as a regular (rat) at the Shady Dell and began a long series of romantic exploits. It boggles my mind to think that as I danced at the Dell to these records by the Beatles, Stones, Troggs, Shondells and Mamas and Papas, those very same songs were forming the soundtrack of your life as you experienced a European adventure beyond my dreams. You were very fortunate to have that opportunity, Debbie. You were exposed to other languages and cultures and absorbed and adopted some of their influences. This post has it all – the music, vintage photos, humor (“Pepé Le Pew”) and even a tip about a movie with which I was not familiar but which I now want to see, Pirate Radio. Thank you for another marvelous post, dear friend Debbie, and enjoy your weekend!

    1. It sounds like 1966 was outstanding for you as well, Shady. 🙂 My good fortune was primarily by accident of birth and having parents of two different nationalities (although my father was also of German descent, but from way back). The music of that era shaped so many of us and will be a huge part of musical history, forever. I think you’ll enjoy “Pirate Radio”. It’s one of my favourite movies. Yes, we should have named the dog “Pepe le Pew”. His gas bombs were deadly! 😀 Thanks again for your continued support. Hope you have a good weekend also.

  8. Hmm… I can’t help wondering if it really was the dog!
    Did anyone use the German for drive? The dog may have thought it was a request in English!

    1. Hahaha! So clever, Clowie. 😀 (If anyone is reading this and doesn’t get it, the German word for drive is “Fahrt”.) So, you speak German as well? I’m not sure Pepe was bilingual. Thanks for dropping in and have a good weekend.

  9. I lived in Australia in the 60s and started my family while I was young. I’ve now moved to England.
    My Londoner husband used to drive the Beatles around at that time. He remembers when the shy Rod Stewart joined the band. So long ago.

    1. I would love to visit Australia, some day, Francene. 🙂 How cool that your hubby was a chauffeur for The Beatles; and Rod Stewart as a bonus? I’m envious of that, for sure (Rod is one of my all-time favourites). Thanks for visiting and have a good weekend.

  10. Some great tunes back then though I was too little to know as I didn’t grow up with them. In 1966, we moved to Canada from Holland where I was born. And I hear you on the coffee and cake tradition, being European! 😉 <3

    1. German and Dutch people are from the same roots, Elly, or so my Dutch friend keeps telling me. 🙂 Some of the best music came along in the 60s and 70s, in my opinion. I’m biased, of course, having lived through those decades. Thanks for visiting and have a good weekend.

  11. Hello there German girl. I have similar photos of me sitting with my grandmothers and aunts at Cafe’s for ‘Kaffee und Kuchen’. I love that tradition… and it shows. :-0 If I lived in a café’ I would have eaten it from the inside out…lol . You have a charming and entertaining way of relating to us your life.
    In the summer of 66 I worked as a waitress in Schloss Elmau. I was 17 at the time. It was considered to be an honor to work there, since they hired students from all around the world. We didn’t get any pay! That sure is one way for an establishment to get rich.
    Loved the music! Do you have any tape of the band and your singing?

    1. Hahaha! Same here, Angelika. 😀 Schloss Elmau looks amazing! I guess they were doing you a favour by letting you work there for nothing. 😉 Hope you had plenty of time off to enjoy the area, at least!
      No, there were never any recordings made of this rag-tag band; strictly a “basement phenomenon”. LOL We did play a few parties of friends, but Brigitte and Björn lost interest a couple of years later.

    1. Yup; this is flashing waaaaaay back. 😀 Actually, I found France more interesting than Austria. Thanks for visiting and have a good weekend.

  12. Loved the music – most of them triggered memories. 1966 — I was getting married. These boots were made for walkin’ — it’s what I should have done 🙂

    1. Sounds like some of those memories weren’t so great for you, Carol. The music always was though, yes? Thanks for dropping in. 🙂

  13. How I love the Mamas & the Papas! And one of my very favorite songs of all time is Nancy Sinatra’s big Boots hit! I forgot about the Troggs and the Spencer Davis Group! I should’ve added them into my A-Z. Totally forgot about them.
    I loved hearing about your travels and adventures. How fun to have a pastry chef in the family! 🙂

    1. Glad you enjoyed the post, Michele. 🙂 There were so many great bands back then; hard to remember them all. I’ve been perusing old music charts to jog my memory. My uncle made amazing cakes and the café was always packed in the late afternoons.

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