There’s a moment in The Simpsons when Homer says he remembers when the 60s ended – then pauses – and sighs, “the 31st December, 1969”. Well, the 70s were arguably dead before the end of 1979. Though watching the old 1977 editions of Top Of The Pops, it’s depressing to see how long the mid-70s MOR and cruise ship bands lasted. In my memory, punk swept away all long-haired, flared, kaftan wearing prog rockers by the end of 1976 but unfortunately it was not so.
Much of the country was still in thrall to pop and rock crap well after the Sex Pistols had split up. I remember being shocked when I arrived at university in 1981 – all black eyeliner and leather pants – to find boys and girls looking like they’d stepped out of a 1975 Top Of The Pops audience.
Still, there were landmarks that pointed the way forward. And one gig at the Lyceum theatre in London in 1979 was hailed by the NME as the end of the 70s. Still Little Fingers, Gang of Four, Human League, The Fall and The Mekons were the future – it would seem. In retrospect, the 80s would certainly be moulded in the first half by a reformed Human League but the others wouldn’t wield wouldn’t have such a big impact. I saw The Fall at Eric’s in Liverpool – quite amazing – and Gang of Four were brilliant in their time.