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Popular cultureHome » Themes » Popular culture
By the mid-twentieth century, cultures beyond Wales were becoming an ever-greater presence in the daily lives of people in Wales through developments in cinema and broadcasting.
The screening of English and American films on cinema screens and the popularity of radio increased the Anglo-American influence on communities across Wales. This influence became even greater as television sets became household items in homes up and down the country during the 1950s and 1960s.
This period also saw the rise of rock and roll, and a youth culture that was very different from that of the previous generation.
The arrival of rock and roll culture may be traced back to Bill Haley and the Comets’ hit ‘Rock around the clock’, which shot into the charts after it featured in the opening credits of the 1955 film ‘Blackboard Jungle’. Bill Haley performed in Cardiff as part of his European tour in 1957, putting the new Welsh capital firmly on the rock and roll map.
Wales has not been passive in its absorption of Anglo-American pop culture. Over the years, numerous Welsh musicians and actors have made their mark on stage and screen, including the likes of Tom Jones, Richard Burton, Bonnie Tyler, Ioan Gruffydd, Manic Street Preachers, Mathew Rhys, Catatonia, The Alarm, ‘The Edge’ from U2, John Cale, Rhys Ifans, Super Furry Animals, Shakin Stephens, Catherine Zeta Jones, Sir Anthony Hopkins and The Stereophonics.
Peter Stead, ‘Popular Culture’ in T. Herbert and G. E. Jones (eds.) Post-war Wales, (Cardiff, 1995)