That was the year: 1945

© Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS

We delve into the GT archives, and way back through history, to look back at a year in guitars, music and world events…


War dominates the headlines as hostilities in Europe gradually reach a conclusion and the dreaded V-2 rocket and V-1 flying bomb attacks cease. V-E Day is celebrated with street parties throughout the country, the demobilisation of armed forces begins and the coalition government ends.

Winston Churchill resigns following a defeat by the Labour Party, Clement Attlee becomes the new prime minister. The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki brings forth the signing of the Instrument of Surrender by Japan and V-J Day follows.

Leo Fender convinces fellow inventor and lap steel player Doc Kauff man to team up forming the K & F Manufacturing Corporation building Hawaiian guitars and amplifiers.

They begin selling a combination of lap steel featuring a patented pickup and an amplifier designed by Leo. Harry Volpe is voted the "World's Greatest Jazz Guitarist" by a New York radio station.

After production of Gibson's popular ES-300 electric guitar was halted in 1942 it's now back with a 'straight' P-90 pickup, much neater than the diagonally placed earlier units. (Dannie Cedrone uses one for his solo on Bill Haley's Rock Around The Clock in 1955).

The L-00 acoustic as associated with Robert Johnson, is discontinued although his is now generally thought to have been a cheaper Kalamazoo model.

Bo Diddley makes the first of many home-made guitars from 'left over junk and recycled wood'. The square edged body and single pickup remains the basic design although some are plain whist others benefited from doodles or finger painted art. (The original guitar is now the property of the Hard Rock Café, New York).

The Sunday Express introduces the Giles family cartoon, the BBC Light Programme begins broadcasting, the Jodrell Bank Observatory is established; author Arthur C. Clarke suggests the idea of a communications satellite in Wireless World magazine; Piccadilly Circus tube station is fitted with fluorescent light; the film Brief Encounter is released; George Orwell's Animal Farm and Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited are published; and on the last day of the year Britain receives its first shipment of bananas since war began.

Baby boomers includes Eric Clapton, Pete Townshend, Bob Marley, Lowell George, Rod Stewart, Ritchie Blackmore, Rita Coolidge, Al Stewart, Bob Seger, Lemmy, John Fogerty, Debbie Harry, Ian Gillan, Jose Feliciano, John McVie, Leslie West, Bette Midler, Neil Young, Anni-Frid Lyngstad and Björn Ulvaeus (ABBA), Stephen Stills, Bryan Ferry, Van Morrison, Elkie Brooks, Don McLean, Rick Wright, Carly Simon and Micky Dolenz and Davy Jones of The Monkees. Runner Eric Liddel crosses the final finishing line as do former PM David Lloyd George and US President Franklin D Roosevelt, whilst Adolf Hitler, Joseph Goebbels and Heinrich Himmler commit suicide and Benito Mussolini is executed.