The New Romantics ? 1980’s London Music

By | April 17, 2018

During the late 1970’s Punk Rock became popular and those of us who were fans of Disco ignored punk rock as a passing fad. In the late 1970’s and early 1980’s as an alternative to Punk a new type of music appeared in London called The New Romantics. They could be identified by their Big hair and make up – both Men and Women. It was often associated with the New Wave music scene that had become popular during that time. It has seen several revivals since then, and continues to influence popular culture.

Developing in London nightclubs such as Billy’s and The Blitz, the movement was associated with bands such as Visage, Culture Club, Adam and the Ants, Ultravox, Duran Duran, Japan and Spandau Ballet.

Other artists, such as Brian Eno and Roxy Music had significant influence on the movement. The term New Romantic was coined by Richard James Burgess in an interview with reference to Spandau Ballet.

As a whole, the movement was largely a response to the ethos and style of early punk rock, which had been enjoying widespread popularity around this time. Although punk initially had great appeal as a vehicle of self-expression and entertainment, by the final days of the 1970s, some had felt that it had lost its original excitement and degenerated into an overly political and bland movement instead. The New Romantic image ultimately sought to contrast with the austerity of punk as a whole by celebrating artifice in music and culture as opposed to rejecting it.

New Romantic music is influenced by many genres such as Disco, Rock, R&B and early electronic pop music. Since the New Romantic movement began in and was largely based in nightclubs, a great amount of the music associated with the movement was meant to be suitable for dancing. Glam rock acts of the 1970s such as David Bowie (whose 1980 single “Ashes to Ashes” was influenced by and considered a New Romantic anthem, Roxy Music and Brian Eno have been cited as major influences on the music and image, the bands. Kraftwork, a German band pioneering electronic music, also heavily impacted many of the artists.

Since each of the bands associated with the movement took a different approach to their music, it is difficult to define what constitutes New Romantic music. Contrasting with the punk rock which was popular at the peak of the movement, New Romantic music tends to be elaborate and highly stylized. The musical structures are usually consistent with those of pop music, as are the lyrics, which are often very emotional, which deal with themes such as love, dancing, history, the future and technology. The lyrics of New Romantic music also tend to be far more apolitical than those of punk rock or other songs written in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Many of the bands featured synthesizers and electronic drums or drum machines in their music, often alongside bass and lead guitar. While some bands such as Ultravox or Duran Duran consciously synthesized rock and electronic elements, others such as Culture Club or Spandau Ballet drew greater influence from R&B and soul music while still employing electronic instrumentation, albeit to a lesser extent.

Some bands, such as Visage, made music that was almost entirely electronic; often many early British electronic bands such as the Human League and Depeche Mode have been connected to the New Romantic movement, although some sources, sometimes including the individual members of such bands, deny the association.

During the last 25 years the New Romantic’s music scene has been active and in the charts on a regular basis – Duran Duran is an example as a group who still release new music.

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Product Description

Beyond coverage of mainstream 80s music, such as "hair band" hard rock, pop, new wave, and rap, this compilation of essential musical artists also covers genres like classical, jazz, outlaw country, and music theater.


• A bibliography with sources on top musical trends in the 1980s

• An index of this decade's top musical artists

Price: $44.11
  • Used Book in Good Condition

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