Bowers & Wilkins and Abbey Road Studios help celebrate five decades of British cool – and you can be there!

Bowers & Wilkins is attending Vintage at Goodwood, and would love for you to join us. Together with the world-famous Abbey Road Studios, we are representing the very best that Britain has to offer in terms of sound recording and reproduction.

This innovative festival of music, design and fashion celebrates all that is great about British popular culture. The festival takes place in the wonderful surroundings of the Goodwood Estate on the 13, 14, 15th of August.

To mark the event, we are extremely happy to be able to offer you the chance to win tickets to the festival. First prize is a glamorous Hotel Bell Tent for four people for the festival weekend, while five runners up can win a pair of tickets for a day of their choice.

To enter, simply post a comment below telling us your favourite decade for British music and why. And we will pick the winners from our favourite answers.

This competition is now closed, and the winners have been notified by email. Thank you to everyone who entered.


  • sarah whiteley says:

    the 80′s before my mum fell ill we had the best house parties i remember sitting in the kitchen with a snowball listening to the goings on in the street with the sound of the best mixes of music everyone from abba, bruce springsteen everybody dancing and siging along to aga do do do ha ha what a time o and then a bit of phil collins to shake everyone up loved it happiest memories i try to recreate but its not the same ::-(( but loving my new zepplin the tunes are rocking in it !!

  • Andrew Blake says:

    The long 1960s – c.1963 and the early Beatles to c.1975 and prog-rock’s pompous suicide (when the limited pop ambitions of punk and disco took over). Lots of great soul, rock, jazz and first wave metal, but this was also the last high point of European classical music with Stockhausen in his prime, and Boulez conducting the BBC symphony orchestra and making them play as if it mattered.

    Runners-up prize to everyone who has tried to make electronic dance music interesting since 1987! Well done Autechre in particular.

  • Paul Riordan says:

    ’00’s – there continues to b e great music coming out (thankfully) and I can still listen to all of the fantastic music produced before……

    Favourite bands at the moment include UNKLE and Alice Russell.

  • Neil Donnan says:

    It has to be the current decade. New great music is being produced all the time and ‘World’ music is becoming more accessible thanks to sites such as B&W. Sound reproduction is also better today. I loved vinyl and still listen to my old albums on my Linn LP12, but digital streaming with FLAC is a whole new dimesion to music listening pleasure. I have a Linn Klimax DS and it has unlocked my reripped CD collection. Internet radio now also brings music to my ears that I would never have heard in previous decades. This is the most exciting time for new music, and we still have all our history to enjoy.

  • Edward Clark says:

    For me the 60’s. It held such promise of all things new. Anything was possible! Even the world state seemed achievable and so much music!

  • SusieBillo says:

    How can I choose? I love music from all eras – except maybe Punk! I was born in the 50’s so learned to rock ‘n roll as a toddler, then came the 60’s as a teenager – wow – the twist, the Beatles, Stones – then the 70’s – all the fab colourful outfits that went with ABBA and co. The 80’s brought the new romantics, the shoulder pads, oxford bag trousers, and then the 90’s, which took themselves far too seriously in my view. Now in the 00’s anything goes, including a mixture of all of the above. And digital technology has come along to make it all so accessible and sound so great!

  • Jeremy Rogers says:

    the 1960s………….were so innovative, and we wanted our music to be part of the change taking place in the world, and we all had such fun, particularly at the new festivals. (The first Glastonbury 40 years ago..!) My best moments – Hendrix playing in Alum Bay as the summer sun came up, and, the Grateful Dead playing three different three hour sessions at Ally Pally on consecutive nights.
    Jeremy Rogers

  • Graham says:

    70’s = Led Zeppelin

  • Martin Lambe says:

    The 90’s – to be more precise the golden age of music hall the 1890’s. With the incontrovertible influence of Ragtime sweeping across the western world and changing popular music forever, you can see the 1890’s in the foundation of all the music genres that followed. It was also the decade of Elgar, who left us the legacy of the Enigma Variations and the influence on Gustav Holst, the last great composer. The 1890’s was the first decade the 7” Gramophone Record was produced, the ancestor of the 78 rpm, 45 rpm, 33⅓ rpm, and all other analogue disc records popular for use in sound recording through the 20th century.

  • James says:

    For me, it has to be the 60’s. Even though the 70’s were MY formative years, it was the 60’s which were the formative years for modern Western music culture. The Beatles defined the 60’s but, though they were the catalyst, they were not alone in the explosion of innovation. New technology was a vehicle for musicians and not just a gimmick (think of drum machines) as it was in the 80’s. Pop music was a craft in the 60’s in a way it never was before and never has been since. Pop music since the 60’s has come to stand for “simple music for the masses”. In the 60’s, Pop music was creative, intelligent, innovative, and significant. It “spoke” to the people. It encouraged cultural and political change. It challenged the norm and tore down boundaries between cultures. The Beatles, The Who, The Stones, Pink Floyd, The Beachboys, etc were embraced from London to Tokyo and spoke to each culture individually. Only a handful of artists (Bob Marley for example) since then speak to all humanity.
    Finally, you just have to look at it’s longevity to realise it’s universality. Fifty years on and it still commands air time on radio stations all over the world. No offence to them, but I doubt a single X-Factor star or boy band will still be on the air in 2060!

  • Bavers says:

    Its so difficult to choose, but the 80’s stands out to me as the decade that Paul Weller made the transition from ‘new wave’ to ‘song smith’ ETBG broke through. The New Romantics went mainstream and Bowie was at his all time best, Queen rocked ‘Live Aid’ and Acid Jazz was founded.

    All musical genres across this sceptered Isle found a peak from Goth Rock [The Cure] to the Ska Revivalists [Madness et al] and from Joy Division to The Police through Jazzie B’s unique blend of ‘Soul II Soul’ to Courtney Pine’s Jazz.

    And we even won the Eurovision song contest thanks to Bucks Fizz!

  • Roger Nicholls says:

    It has to be the 60s, the development from R&R through Psychedelia to Prog was fantastic. The ambition of artists to explore not only musical boundaries but technical ones as well, the development of phasing, backwards tracks, guitar sounds etc was a significant influeence on the sounds produced. The people developing the electrontics, the engineers and producers all played their part. There was also something very special about the vibe then that reflected changes in society as a whole.

  • Sharon Fairhurst says:

    This is a difficult one with every decade of music there is history of iconic sounds and not forgetting great fashion …..the 60’s was a fanatastic ‘revolution’ in music and being born when Hard Days Night (Beatles) was at number one (hey 46 years today) what more can I add. Of course there were also other briliant sounds such as Bowie and Elvis was rock and rolling. Then came the 70’s with a real mix of sounds from the greats such as Bowie, Queen, Rollings Stones, Abba, George Harrison, Eagles Fleetwood Mac, Stevie Wonder and The Eagles……Moving into the New Romantics era of the 80’s with Spandau Ballt and Duran Duran and the punk movement and the synthesizes sounds of Soft Cell. The 90’s gave us Kylie. Madonna, Beautiful South and Take That.

    Now well we still have all the greats of past times and great cover versions, mixes with bits taken of other songs and put into new songs ad great new talents. icons of yesteryear are still playing and the music of those that are no longer with us still played.
    So I would go with the 00’s as I can listen to all the music of yesteryear and the present on my Bowers and Wilkins Zepplin and look forward to the new music of the coming decade.

  • Stephen Taylor says:

    I think the sixties Changed music forever but for me the seventies had it all, it took what musicians/artists did in the sixties & just ran with it.

    The seventies has to have the most diverse styles of music of any decade it seemed as if our eye’s were opened to the whole world of music not just from the USA & the UK like in the sixties but from all round the world.

    I have to admit I did struggle with punk at it’s height,But I love music in all it’s guises even Japanese watermusic (my wife has to leave the house it drives her mad).

    Lastly I have searched all my adult life for true hifi & I think your 802d speakers have finally given me just that combined with linn Klimax pre/power & missing link cables they sound stunning & look fantastic. Thanks. Steve T.

  • Lilly Hunter says:

    I liked the 1960’s, for the British Blues wave. John Mayall, Eric Clapton and you know the others! Superb music and sound quality.

  • Andrew says:

    So many decades to choose from………
    I laways love the music of the decade I’m in.

  • sharath says:

    the 80’s

  • Mr South - AcidHeadz says:

    The 80’s – Acid House the revolution, the music, the people, dancing all night long with new friends and lovers and still growing strong today.

    Every time I hear a house track it takes me back, in the middle of field in 89, take back take back to 89 ( Back To 89 – AcidHeadz)

  • Martin McDonnell says:

    The first decade of the 21st Century has for me been a revelation in terms of the quality of music, particularly in the loosely “pop” genre. From the Killers to Katie melua to Paulo Nutini this is evident.

    Albeit that I am a child of the late 50’s, I feel that the last decade has drawn from the best of the 60’s through 90’s, added benefits of technology and added some real individuality and talent. An added bonus has been the lack of “cheesy” music e.g. Benny Hills Ernie!!

    The availiblity/visibility of music developed in this period with the internet and has been the catalyst to influence talent that otherwise might have gone unnoticed. Long may it continue!!

    The second 10 years is looking good as well.

  • paul donaghy says:

    It has to be the 70’s …

    Although I came of age in the 80’s essentially with Hip Hop and House .. the 70’s had everything … the acceptance of Reggae (my major love), the urgency and anti authoritarianism of Punk and the surprising convergence of the two genres ….

    The emergence of Two Tone from Coventry (The Specials, The Beat, The Selecter, etc) … Northern Soul, you name it the 70’s had it all …

    Let’s not forget The Jam, one of the greatest bands alongside The Specials in my book to come out of the UK.

  • Barry Singleton says:

    I have always and still do enjoy soul, motown, funk music
    I have a great collection of vinyl and play my music every day
    Fantastic sounds

  • Simon says:

    The 90’s because it was when I was growing up and started listening to a lot of music.

  • richard says:

    For me it has to be the seventies. What a great ecletic mix of music and fashion. T rex, james Brown, Slade, Abba flaresand tank tops. Everything just seemed to be more innocent and above all fun. People sometimes look back and laugh at the seventies but if you were there it was just a more relaxed decade, especially as a teenager i think i was really lucky to be able to listen to such a great variety of music and a lot of it live as well, with groups happy to play smaller venues.

  • Susie says:

    The 60’s without a doubt is my favourite.

    Why – The Beatles – Rolling Stones – Small Faces – Sandie Shaw – Lulu – Kinks – Long John Baldry – Animals – Georgie Fame – Tom Jones – The Who – Pink Floyd – The list goes on and on, need I say more?

  • Dog of the Bay says:

    For me it has to be the Sixties – not just because I grew up then – but it was a moment in time between the dour Fifties and the cynical Seventies when we dared to hope that everything might be fixable.

  • suzie says:

    For me, it was the 80’s for the creativity, experimental (including the corny songs), colourful music, and the same can be said with the fashion and the adverts that changed the world.

    and to top it all, for the tunes to remind me of my happy childhood, with lots of laughter and when all my siblings were the best of friends!

  • karma says:

    As Andrew says… so many decades to choose…. But I think I choose the 70’s:Bowie, Pink Floyd, Fleetwood Mac , enesis ,The Eagles,Stevie Wonder. Peter Gabriel. Carol King. The Police. Queen. The Beatles. The Rolling Stones. Bob Dylan. The Who. The Jam. Led Zepplin. Sly & The Family Stone. James brown. Jackson 5.

  • P. Bellinghausen says:

    I will not choose a decade that starts and ends in arbitrary noughts. If we pretend Jesus was born in -6BC, if at all (apparently a more likely date than that which our particularly revised calendar would lead us to believe) then I am allowed to pick my decade with a year with 4, in which case I choose the 1964-1973 decade, which tells the most perfect tale of birth and evolution of an art form that has remained the UK’s most characteristic, successful, and important cultural export since Romantic poetry.
    In 1904 the British Isles were called Das Land Ohne Musik – the Land Without Music – by a particularly caustic German critic. He was, in many ways, spot-on. The Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian eras, with their characteristically uptight moral values, saw music as an social, upper class pastime, deeply mingled with politics. The true rebels, the individualists, were all writers; music required all-too-large organisations and orchestras to be in any way innovative. Patriotic, bombastic, relatively simple music works (Elgar’s marches and Holst’s The Planets are good examples) were the reflection of everything that was imposed on the British public, instead of having sprung from it.
    The first decades of the 20th century didn’t improve the situation much. There was Britten, but he was practically the only one, nothing fancy compared to the dozens of highest calibre German or Austrian composers creating opposing camps, developing neoclassical, atonal and serial doctrines, mingling with the French and the Russian virtuosos, and altogether having a jolly good time.
    Then something started happening across the pond. African-american musicians had been pouring their soul into their art for years, but something clicked; the white started listening. And from soul to swing and trad jazz, everything paved the way to the explosion of rock and roll halfway through the century. The UK started paying attention, but for at least another ten years, this new, young music was american by definition.
    Then, the Brits got it.
    1964 brought the wave of music every kid in Britain knows still. The Beatles had already released two albums, but it was A Hard Day’s Night which brought them into real superstardom across the pond, along with many of the most influential bands of years to come. I could namedrop. In fact, I will. The Rolling Stones’ debut album. The Kinks’ “You Really Got Me”. The Animals. And also, The Fourmost, the Irish band Them, The Hollies, The Hermits, Freddie and the Dreamers, all shined around 1964. And the British Invasion kept on going. Mods and Rockers waged wars, and somehow youth became the centre of culture.
    What I consider particularly interesting is what happened after that time. A faster musical evolution had never seen before, and arguably never seen since.
    The appropriation of Blues by UK bands started as a youthful game. Real bluesmen were old. Their lyrics were cynical, wise, a far cry from the first musical efforts of their UK disciples. But that started to change very quickly, and musicians all across the Isles started stepping up to the plate. The Beatles arguably led this movement, but they weren’t the only ones. More musically accomplished bands started emerging from the pool of talent. The Who’s My Generation displayed an anger seldom heard before, and bands like Cream and later the Nice starting pushing the boundaries of what could be done with this new musical format. London-based The Jimi Hendrix Experience expanded on the blues into new, amazing sounds. The Beatles, however, let the way until their breakup in 1968. By that time, their music had stopped being a teenage fancy and had become experimental, intelligent, and mature. BBC Radio 1 had began broadcasting, and John Peel was already in the rota.
    Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Black Sabbath all started that year. The creators of hard rock and metal were legends in their own right, spawning musical subgenera around the globe for decades to come. David Bowie, Roxy Music and T. Rex sowed, and later reaped, the seeds of a very English glam revolution which would dictate the music in the 80’s and the so-called indie music that still dominates UK and US radio stations to this day.

    And finally, bands that had started just before the Beatles’ breakup started shining in their own right, bringing forth a kind of music that had little to do with rock and roll. Pink Floyd, Procol Harum, Genesis, Jethro Tull and The Moody Blues were quickly joined by King Crimson and Yes, all quickly branded with that much maligned 4-letter word. What many people do not realise is that so-called prog rock was the first British music that seamlessly brought together both that newly-found musical freedom and the country’s historical and cultural heritage, instead of breaking away from it. Early sixties music was, however British in spirit, completely based on music across the pond. The early progressive scene, however, brought together rock and classical music with British folk music, British literature and British visual arts, and despite all the debauchery, exhibitionism, and musical pointlessness that would inevitably taint the movement forever, up until 1973 progressive rock was, in many ways, an apex of inventiveness and ingenuous elegance in popular music, concluding the decade and that insane explosion of creativity with a strange little peak of imagination and originality. Tubular Bells, Starless and Bible Black, Thick as a Brick, Close to the Edge, Selling England by the Pound and The Dark Side of the Moon, all released in that year, were finally proof that the Brits could be as ambitious, intelligent, talented and innovative as the Germans. Land without music, my arse.
    …And of course, along came punk and new wave and more amazing music. Still, the explosion itself, the birth and adolescence of the music we listen to today happened then. I certainly wasn’t alive at the time, but I appreciate and cherish that music for what it was, and still is.

  • Simon S says:

    There is simply no argument for any other decade than the 60’s.

    Until the 60’s children had listened to the same music as their parents and grandparents. The 60’s saw the arrival of the “teenager” and they had their own music for the first time ever. They wanted to be different, and have their own sense of self. That’s why most parents were scared of “That evil rock & roll” because they didn’t like the effect on their kids.

    You have only got to look at the bands, films and fashion of the 60’s to know it was the best bar none.

    The Beatles, The Stones, Hendrix and Led Zeppelin. What more could you ever want or need to listen to ? Now you throw in a little free love, mini skirts and mini’s, now everyones a winner ;-)

    If Doc Brown ever does get around to inventing his time machine, I know where i’ll be headed. London 1960.

  • andy novak says:

    the 60’s of coarse,,,the stones and the beatles did it all ,,,big A

  • Ian Upton says:

    Best decade? 1970’s


    As with many others, it was the decade of my teenage years. Starting with Glam Rock (eg T-Rex and, sadly, Gary Glitter!) then swiftly onto more serious stuff with my first ever ‘proper’ gig to see Roxy Music at the Brighton Dome. Then to David Bowie, Talking Heads, Genesis, Bob Marley and Joni Mitchell (a rather eclectic mix for one so young!). Playing air guitar to Deep Purple at the Top Rank Ballroom and seeing Stuart Copeland, pre-Police, drum with Curved Air at Chichester Festival Theatre (Squeeze were the support but we’d never heard of them so went back to the bar!). Finally turning punk’ish in 1997 as a student in Bristol – the Stiff Live Stiffs tour with Ian Dury, Elvis Costello et al, The Jam, Stranglers and Clash.

    The topped the decade with Bruce Springsteen at the Brighton Conference Centre.

    Just a few examples – there are many, many others and much more since as my music tastes have widened and new stuff introduced to me by my sons as they have gone on their own similar voyage of discovery.

  • Gary says:

    It has to be the Naughties.

    Because you can appreciate all the past decades now, I can listen to anything from the 40’s all the way through to the 00’s.

    If i had picked 1 decade i would have missed out other great artists who weren’t around.
    Even though many great artists have died they’re still around now in greatly re-mastered tracks.

    My playlists are always randomly skipping the decades, so although I grew up in the 80’s and was around in the 90’s I can’t really make a judgement to say that one is better than the other. How could you if you weren’t there living through that decade?

    My grandparents love stuff from 40’s and 50’s.
    My parents love stuff from the 60’s and 70’s.

    The greatest attribute of this decade is you can listen and appreciate all of these now.

  • grahame newell says:

    The 80”s did it for me with such a variety of music from Roxy Music, Heaven 17, Specials to Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet and Simple Minds.

  • wobbly jelly says:

    The best decade is… well the one you either find music or school disco’s – only music you’ll ever dance to (convincingly). Just to fit me well will say the 70’s started in 77 – so you get punk, new wave, through The Fall and into C86 – best jangly indie pop. And then say look backwards to good stuff I missed and was introduced by big brothers and starting uni.

  • Rob McMillan says:

    Has to be the 80’s for me – young at college not a care in the world – music summed up life at the time. A lot of innovation, in the music and the clothing (not that i went that far). End of punk, beginnning of electro synth, a good mix of music – ah to be 21 again (still , got the CD’s
    think I’ll go home tonight and re- live my youth – 2 young sons might not see it that way but I’m educating them :-) )

  • Big Martin says:

    It’s the 70’s for me. I’m firmly stuck there 40 years later. Deep Purple, early (Gabriel) Genesis, Zeppelin, Steely Dan, Crosby Stills and Nash – the list goes on and on (and I’ve momentarily forgotten the rest) ah…here’s some more….Marc Bolan, Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughn,Early Quo, The Stones………………..and cue the memory again………..

    Anyway – it’s the 70’s – such originality, such volume, such melodies and great musicianship and………and this is the good bit………………..the music has stood the test of time and STILL gets airtime !

  • Gary D says:

    As I was a teenager in the 80’s, then it has to be the 80’s. The new sounds, the new sights, the hairstyles! But most of all, it was the era when analogue and digital started to really fight it out and when electronic music started to compete against the ‘real musicians’. I’m still not sure who has won out in the end – although I’m loving the new attention being paid to proper fidelity and to high quality production values – as exemplified by Bowers & Wilkins no less! A big fat synthesised cheer for the 80’s and for fabulously produced music in general!

  • Gary D says:

    As I was a teeneager in the 80’s, it has to be the 80’s for me. The new sounds, the new sights, the hairstyles! It was the decade where analogue and digital started to fight it out and where electronic music was doing battle with ‘real’ musicians. Im not sure to this day who has won out – but I welcome the recent return to high fidelity and good production values as exemplified by Bowers & Wilkins no less! A big synthesized cheer to the 80’s then, and to fabulously reproduced music in general!

  • PETER RYAN says:


  • John says:

    My musical awakenings came with the rock opera productions in the Seventiies. The energy and many musical references and diverse styles and characterisations widened my musical appetite and introduced me to a variety of vocalists and musicians. The Who (Tommy, Quadraphenia), Rice/Lloyd Webber (Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita). The original concept albums and the later soundtrack albums to the film productions broadened my catalogue of music styles.
    There are mixed rock/classical influences in JCS and Evita including choral pieces and a further transfer to the visual medium of cinema was enhanced by the first time intorduction of Dolby encoded soundtracks (Tommy and Listzomania 1975 and 1977). Ken Russell (UK) directed these later two films and added his visual palette to the fundamental musical interpretation of these original compositions. Russell had earlier success with the film biopic of Gustav Mahler (Mahler) and The Music Lovers (Tchaicovsky). The combination of his Sound and Vision was an exciting period for music production and enjoyment.
    These concept albums, theatrical presentations and cinema transfers with soundtracks attracted a diverse range of singers and performers. Ian Gillan (Deep Purple/Black Sabbath) lead vocal on original release of Jesus Christ Superstar. Colm Wilkinson/David Essex/Julie Covington on original album release of Evita. Roger Daltry/Elton John/Eric Clapton/Tina Turner/Ann Margaret on film soundtrack album to ‘Tommy’
    The close of the decade saw the release of the concept album, THE WALL, (Pink Floyd). This was promoted initially by a single release with an animated promotional video by Gerald Scarfe which immediately secured the No. 1 spot. It was tantalising with a choral chorus by cockney school children delivering an anarchic anthem. It announced the concept double album by the Group and expanded their worldwide audience. The later touring live concert production was an aural experience of epic proportions.
    The end of the decade heralded the mainstream arrival of promotional videos which consolidated in the inception of Music Television (MTV) within 18 months in 1981.
    It was an interesting decade which touched on a wide range of artistic sources and styles and advanced the production qualities and reproduction medium for its audience.

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