Monday, September 3, 2012

1977: The best of taste

Which kid wasn't a fan of Showaddywaddy in the mid-Seventies?

To me, they were a fun bad with a novelty image doing catchy, singalongs. I had no idea they were covering old songs from the 1950s and early Sixties until it was pointed out by mum, but I did recognise the whole drape coat Teddy Boy image as being from that decade, and of course the Fifties were very much still raging in the Seventies weren't they?

Happy Days, American Graffiti, Mud, Peter Blake's Pepsi ads, Darts, Laverne & Shirley,That'll Be The Day, etc., not to mention half the entertainers still on TV had been around since then. There was an enormous amount of nostalgia for those days by people who'd been lucky enough to enjoy being the first proper teenagers but who were now adults with children. (It was the 20-year cycle thing of course, though I've yet to see any Nineties nostalgia breaking through into whatever we're calling this decade, but I'm supposing it's only a matter of time).

It all filtered down. So the Fifites were on my radar. Both my parents grew up in that time, doing all the things teenagers did and listening to all the appropriate music, often heard on the radio and often heard in our house specifically in my bedroom. While downstairs they'd been replaced by Motown Chartbusters and the Carpenters, upstairs I was discovering Bill Haley and Buddy Holly through brittle 78s (which I still have) having my own nostalgia party.

Funny though, as the whole decade really did pervade the Seventies like no other nostalgia has done since. Though we can now look fondly at the Eighties and have done since the end of the Ninties, I don't remember an awful lot of Sixtiesness infecting the Eighties, apart from through the indie music scene. Or perhaps I missed it.

While we ponder why this is - and why it was the US Fifties rather than our own drab decade that really took off, let's enjoy some Showaddywaddy. Love the hair. Like Chachi.


  1. I never bought anything by Showaddywaddy, though I loved Darts and still have 2 or 3 of their LPs somewhere. I think the 'waddy always seemed a bit too much like a cartoon version of the 50s, with their matching drapes and brothel creepers, whereas Darts were somehow more authentic. (A footling distinction at this remove, I admit.) Their cover versions were less obvious, too.

    You're right about the 60s influence on the 80s, it came mainly through the indie scene (as the excellent CD that comes with the current Mojo shows). And don't forget the tributes - The Smiths recording with Sandie Shaw, the Pet Shop Boys with Dusty Springfield.

    I also think that the chart music of the 60s, more than that of any other decade, still sounds fresh. It doesn't need covering, or reinventing, or ironic rediscovery - when you hear a Kinks or Monkees song on the radio, it just sounds brilliant, in and of itself.

  2. There was an underbubble of 60s influence in the 80s that started around 82/83 - The Maisonettes, Heartache Avenue. A psychedelic revival with The Damned and XTC doing secret psych bands. Siouxsie and Dear Prudence, Dr and The Medics.

    On a 50s riff - check out Let The Good Times Roll - a walloping film, capturing 50s legends Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Fats Domino - on a revival gig in the early 70s. Newly funked up with up-tempo, fuzzy-faced bands backing them

  3. Their hair was all wrong, all wrong. They were like an Irish showband...