1950s revival IN THE UK in the 1970s
May 26, 2021 8:58 AM   Subscribe

Was there a 1950s revival in England in the 1970s that mirrored America’s 1950s revival? (Aha Na Na, Happy Days, the Broadway production of Grease)
posted by pxe2000 to Society & Culture (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I would say, yes. There were some bands I would think of as having a 50s style in the UK during the 70s. Showaddywaddy, Mud, etc. I was a kid but remember young guys dressed like teddy boys. The film Grease was very very popular.
posted by ElasticParrot at 9:06 AM on May 26, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Yes - Teddy boy & rockabilly were both pretty big subcultures in some parts of the UK an the 70s - they were not the result of but definitely overlapped in timing with the movie version of Grease, and Happy Days on TV.

Punk & teddy boy were kinda like sworn enemies, and punk won that battle by about 1978 - but punk & rockabilly got on together like a house on fire, and begat psychobilly, which lasted well into the 80s & still wore notably 50s-derived styles.
posted by rd45 at 9:44 AM on May 26, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Absolutely, from around 73-74. It was a kind of melange, with bands like Showaddywaddy and Mud wearing drape coats, brothel creepers, etc. but still with 70s haircuts. The music was almost pastiche, with lots of cover versions of Buddy Holly, Bill Haley, etc.

By the time Grease (the movie) came out in 1978, it was already over and the popularity of Grease was more about Travolta the teen idol.
posted by essexjan at 9:47 AM on May 26, 2021 [2 favorites]

Yes, unfortunately and it wasn't as good. It also seeped into the 1980s with TV programmes like Hi-De-Hi, a "comedy" set in a 50s holiday camp with the man who personified this period of time, Paul Shane, who spent his entire life dressed like mad-eyed baby-making-machine Bill Haley.

I want everyone to know him because he ruined television for me. He was everywhere.

I said this man.
posted by ihaveyourfoot at 10:59 AM on May 26, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Malcolm McClaren and Vivienne Westwood's first iteration of their shop, Let It Rock, catered to the neo-teds, and there was an upsurge in interest after The London Rock and Roll Show in 1972, featuring Jerry Lee Lewis, Bill Haley, Little Richard and Chuck Berry. Looking back, there was an ongoing urge to return to the "purity" of rock'n'roll that shot through British popular culture (and also more marginal bits of culture - for example, Pub Rock was very much inspired by that urge) as a reaction to the excesses of Serious Rock (such as Progressive Rock), and as with Let It Rock, the subculture seemed to lead straight into Punk in the mid-seventies. There's also the strange nostalgia of twenty-somethings for the music their older brothers and sisters listened to when they were children (hence the mod and ska revivals at the end of the 1970s). It lasted a long time, though - look at the success of Darts in 1978/79.

I wonder whether the U.S. 50s revival stuff might not have been appealing directly to the teenagers of the 1950s, who were now parents with their own kids, though. That would be a different thing.
posted by Grangousier at 11:39 AM on May 26, 2021 [4 favorites]


Was there any summer special they didn't make even less special in the 70s?
posted by biffa at 12:17 PM on May 26, 2021 [4 favorites]

Apropos of nothing, Sha-Na-Na performed at Woodstock.
posted by Billiken at 12:46 PM on May 26, 2021 [2 favorites]

Not just Showaddywaddy, Darts & Mud as already mentioned, but Shakin' Stevens and, alas, Matchbox too.
posted by misteraitch at 12:47 PM on May 26, 2021 [2 favorites]

British movie with David Essex from 1973 mirroring the nostalgia: That'll Be The Day
(a few scenes here)
posted by Rash at 1:55 PM on May 26, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Pub Rock was very much inspired by that urge

Grangousier's aside needs amplification: London and the SE's pub rock scene was a very "back to basics" rock, with much of the sound of the 50s with little of the fashion affectation. I mean, this was 1975, but does Dr Feelgood sound anything like you'd expect from that year? She Does It Right

So any of the bands touched by pub rock — including Dr Feelgood, The Stranglers, The Blockheads and (to a lesser extent) Squeeze — carried on that basic, revival rock without just being cover bands.

And yes, Matchbox — ick, I'd forgotten how much of UK teds/rockers were all about that "We Love Slavery" flag
posted by scruss at 5:01 PM on May 26, 2021 [3 favorites]

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