1981 – the year of the psychedelic revival


Out of the ashes of various punk and mod revival bands came a new breed of combo claiming to be reviving psychedelia.  Echo and the Bunnymen and the Teardrop Explodes are often categorised under the 1981 psychedelic label.  They had emerged from the Crucial Three, an extremely short lived Scouse combo in the late 70s that had included Ian McCulloch (not in Echo), Julian Cope (now in Teardrop) and Pete Wylie (fronting up Wah!).

Psychedelic clubs soon began to sprout up – like the Groovy Cellar and the Clinic – and amusingly, Lee Pattinson of Echo and the Bunnymen was turned away from one such club in September that year because his clothes were deemed to be insufficiently psychedelic!

In some ways, it’s not much of a surprise that this sound of the 60s made a comeback because the drugs available when I was at university in 1981 were pretty much those that had been available 15 years earlier – dope and acid.  The latter was the real engine for the sound though the attraction of acid trips had been somewhat canceled out by the creation of an army of acid casualties, often to be found in your local psychiatric ward inventing a global conspiracy that was out to get them.

Mood Six was another band that popped up around 1981 from the leftovers of Mod revivalists, the Merton Parkas.  But by the time that Doctor and the Medics were making their appearance on Top Of The Pops, I was well through with this nonsense.

Mercury Rev and the Flaming Lips are seen as bands of today that have inherited part of that 1981 sound.

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One thought on “1981 – the year of the psychedelic revival

  1. I wish you could stretch your window by just a year – I’d love you to cover the Dukes of Strasophear, XTC’s psychedelic venture, which started in 84. Chips from the Chocolate Fireball is one of my favourite albums.

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