Cats – it had to happen – my favourite musical genre, featuring many of my favourite ever bands.
By 1978, after Punk’s initial incendiary impact had waned, it was clear that “the Seventies” as we knew them, were over. Disco and various ponderous excruciating MOR dinosaurs had been condemned to the musical dustbin of history. In the UK, a socio-cultural revolution was underway. Punk had inspired a plethora of new youth cults, each featuring their own fashions and music.
A massive mod revival was also underway, which would eventually see a three-piece from Woking become the UK’s most popular band, until the frontman, songwriter and lead guitarist, Paul Weller, decided to wind it up. Their mantle was quickly grabbed by a four piece from Manchester, featuring a mop headed Rickenbacker enthusiast and one of the most flamboyant and vainglorious figures in rock history.
But, back to those youth cults – as well as Punks they included Rude Boys, New Romantics, Goths, Industrialists (whose origins were Germanic) and regrettably, Skinheads. Psychedelia would also undergo a mini-revival from the early eighties on.
Parallel to these movements were the many bands (and the odd solo performer) that emerged from Punk around ’76-’77, which were not necessarily aligned to any particular youth movement. They included the likes of the Stranglers, the Clash, The Damned, the Buzzcocks, Joy Division/New Order, Human League/Heaven 17, PIL, UK Squeeze, Elvis Costello, Simple Minds and XTC. The latter are two of my favourite bands of all time. The groundbreaking bands at that time were not necessarily from the UK either – think the likes of Talking Heads, Devo and Blondie, for example. Here in Oz, we had the likes of Split Enz and the Models.
As the seventies morphed into the eighties, “New Wave” as a genre began to feature prominently in the hit parades in the Anglosphere. There are so many bands that were around from about 1981 onwards who could lay claim to being classified (incorrectly or otherwise) as part of this “New Wave”, that there’s no point in trying to even list them.
Anyway, enough rabbiting on (and barely scratching the surface) from me. Here’s two of my favourite tracks from that magical era:
XTC: This is Pop
Simple Minds: The American
Enjoy, people! Please post freely, especially those who remember the era as vividly as I do.