I’ve just come across a reference in a 1962 ‘Jazz Monthly’ to a CBS compilation LP, ‘Who’s Who In The Swinging Sixties’ – with ‘swinging’ in this case clearly a play on the idea of ‘swing’ as a jazz term and ‘swinging’ as an adjective denoting ebullience. I wondered if this may have been, in fact, the debut appearance of the phrase, albeit in a slightly different context to the one we’re all familiar with (Carnaby Street, London, 1965, etc.). Certainly, the first appearance of the term ‘Swinging London’ in print – from which I think the wider notion of the ‘swinging sixties’ derived – was in a famous ‘Time’ magazine cover story of April 1966.
In the book ‘Days In The Life: Voices From The English Underground 1961-1971’ (Heinemann, 1988), by Jonathon Green, Time magazine’s cultural commentator of the time, Andrea Adam, recalled the origin of that phrase:
‘As I remember it, the expression ‘Swinging London’ just came out of the blue. One of the editors on Time used it jokingly. Somebody said, ‘Oh hey… what about that?’ We never tried to push it as a concept, but it became the working title for the cover. And it caught » Continue Reading.