Sixties Bookmark and Share

The beginning of the 1960s saw the emergence of numerous bands, many of them initially inspired instrumental bands like the Ventures and The Shadows: One of these bands was Indexi who excelled in evergreen songs build around. Davorin Popović's trademark nasal voice. Another band was Crni biseri from Belgrade, featuring Vlada Janković-Džet, a prominent Yugoslav musician, who got his nickname after Jet Harris. The Zagreb based Delfini were also formed the same year. After the British invasion, many of these bands later moved on to British rhythm and blues.

As in the rest of Europe Yugoslavia didn’t escape Beatlemania. One of the important source of information for the youths to stay up-to-date with the rock music developments around the world was Radio Luxembourg. On the border with Italy, several Yugoslav-Italian Beat festivals took place. In Skopje, a popular 1960s rock'n'roll group was formed named Bisbez who were considered The Macedonian Beatles. They were formed by merging two already existing bands Biseri and Bezimeni.
In the mid-1960s many bands such as Džentlmeni, Roboti and the reformed Siluete were influenced by the rhythm and blues artists, while others were more pop oriented. The charismatic frontman of Siluete, Zoran Miščević, became an idol of the new generation and a sex symbol. The band had a bad reputation for causing scandals and riots at their concerts. Their main rivals were the group Elipse, which after getting a new vocalist, the African student from Congo Edi Dekeng, went on to play soul music. In the Slovenian town of Koper Kameleoni whose '67 B-side 'Gdje si, ljubavi' was the first Slovenian beatsongs. Other Slovenian names were Mladi Levi and Bele Vrane (The Yugo Mama's & the Papa's).

Yugoslavia was the only socialist state in the European Broadcasting Union and therefore for a long time the only East European country to enter the Eurovision. They debuted in the contest in 1961 with a song called 'Neke davne zvezde' sung by Ljiljana Petrović. Taking the ESC serious they sended popular singer Lola Novakovic next year who ended fourth. She would remain highly popular in the sixties but somehow stopped performing at the end of the decade. The Croatian singer Tereza Kesovija represented Monaco at the Eurovision Song Contest in 1966 with the French sung Bien plus fort. She ended last while her Yugoslavian colleague Berta Ambrož became seventh with 'Brez besed'.

Indexi gradually moved to a more psychedelic sound, with more complex guitar and keyboard solos adding occasional folk and even classical music elements. One of the band's notable members was Kornelije Kovač. After leaving Indeksi he formed Korni grupa in 68. Another notable group was Grupa 220, which during a certain period featured Piko Stančić.

Under influences such as Bob Dylan for example, many young people embraced the acoustic sound and thus were called akustičari contrary to električari. Prominent acoustic artist was Ivica Percl, formerly of Roboti. He was very active during the student protests and demonstrations that swarmed through Europe during 1968 (see also our feature article about that period) Another influencial artists mixing Dalmatian folk with cantatori influence was Croatian artist Arsen Dedic who would have a great influence in popular music to come as a songwriter and performing artist. Amongst other he wrote songs for female vocalist Josipa Lisac..