Fifty years ago, homosexuality was decriminalised – and pop was never the same again. From Dusty and Motown to Mick Jagger and the Kinks, here are the songs, scenes, clubs and clothes that liberated Britain

In one of his very last acts as Beatles manager, Brian Epstein signed a contract for the group to represent Britain in the Our World global satellite television event, broadcasting the band to an estimated 400 million people in 25 countries. So on 27 July 1967, the day that male homosexuality was partially decriminalised in the UK, the UK No 1 was All You Need Is Love.

Exactly one month later, Epstein was dead from an overdose of sleeping pills. Nowhere in his obituaries was his homosexuality mentioned. He didn’t hide who he was, even if it caused him anguish, and the fact was common knowledge among the pop milieu. But even after the passing of the Sexual Offences Act, it was not thought of as a topic worthy of discussion. Perhaps the Beatles’ magic still held, perhaps it wasn’t thought suitable.

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