Quadrophenia and Paul Weller with The Jam and later with the Style Council | 1979-1980

The post-punk return to modernism of the late 1970s was mostly a fiasco, in hindsight doomed to failure as a result of its essentially derivative nature and lack of original talent.

Largely energized by the first ever full-length commercial film about mods (Quadrophenia), the bandwagonesque set of bands that sprung up (The Lambrettas, Merton Parkas, The Chords, Secret Affair, and The Purple Hearts being some of the most famous) were a dead end that matched the energy but not the quality of their New Wave contemporaries.

When the movement started to disintegrate a brief attempt was made to escape categorization via the Glory Boys moniker but this never caught on in any significant way. Ultimately, in an odd repetition of the 1960s, the more dance/hedonistic/fashion elements of the movement became adopted by other societal groups, becoming exaggerated and causing the whole system to crash via the New Romantic movement and the subsequent mid-eighties frivolity.

Regardless, there was an intersting resurgence of interest in American Soul as typified by the return of tracks such as Green Onions to the top of the charts. The only new group with enough style and substance to pull of a contemporary reworking of the Stax/Atlantic sounds were Dexys Midnight Runners with the release of their first album in 1979.

The true mod legacy of this revival, however, was the emergence of the most important and relevant figure in the pop music world of the late 1970s and early 1980s: Paul Weller, who was quite courageous about displaying his mod influences at a point in time when they were unfashionable and a clear liability in the eyes of the press.

First through The Jam and later with the Style Council he singlehandedly redefined mod as applied to the punk generation and became a substantial influence for the then-youngsters who were to form the basis of the 1990s mod revival.

Also during the late 1970s, ska music, an original favourite of the 1960s mods, inevitably became fashionable once again. A set of genuinely talented bands appeared (mostly by way of the successful independent label 2-Tone) whose following and membership included various representatives from the mod/skinhead/rude boy camps.

One Response

  1. Nick Oodian August 10, 2007

Leave a Reply