The Thatcher Crisis Years

1980s politics blog from TV historian Tony McMahon

You talk to people about 1981 and they’ll remember 2Tone and New Romantics but Rockabilly gets a bit swept under the carpet.  Wasn’t that Shakin’ Stevens?

Well, he was around but more importantly – there was a whole underground scene with lots of clubs across London and bands to match. Clubs included the Orange Tree in Barnet and the White Heart in Tottenham…or the Royalty in Southgate. The bands tended to have the word “cats” in their name – Pole Cats, Stray Cats, you get the drift…

I remember a lot of the sports jocks at school adopted the rockabilly style at the turn of the decade because it was neat, cool, got the girls and had that pseudo-James Dean thing about it. Variations on classic 50s fashion continued to be popular throughout the 80s. HERE is a good blog post on “80s does 50s” fashion.

The late 70s/early 80s rockabilly revival seemed to emerge alongside the Mod revival – though neither side will thank me for saying that. It seemed to me at the time that the music faded from the charts but the look endured well into the decade. But rockabilly die-hards will of course deny that.

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