New Romantic

1970s popular culture movement originating in the UK / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The New Romantic movement was an underground subculture movement that originated in the United Kingdom in the late 1970s. The movement emerged from the nightclub scene in London and Birmingham at venues such as Billy's and The Blitz.[1] The New Romantic movement was characterised by flamboyant, eccentric fashion inspired by fashion boutiques such as Kahn and Bell in Birmingham and PX in London.[2] Early adherents of the movement were often referred to by the press by such names as Blitz Kids, New Dandies and Romantic Rebels.[3][4]

Boy George performing at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club in 2001

Influenced by David Bowie, Marc Bolan and Roxy Music, the New Romantics developed fashions inspired by the glam rock era coupled with the early Romantic period of the late 18th and early 19th century (from which the movement took its name). The term "New Romantic" is known to have been coined by musician, producer, manager and innovator Richard James Burgess.[5][6][7][8][9] He stated that "'New Romantic' [...] fit the Blitz scene and Spandau Ballet, although most of the groups tried to distance themselves from it."[10][11]

Though it was a fashion movement, several British music acts in the late 1970s and early 1980s adopted the style and became known to epitomise it within the press, including Steve Strange of Visage, Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet, A Flock of Seagulls, Classix Nouveaux and Boy George (of Culture Club). Ultravox were also often identified as New Romantics by the press, although they did not exhibit the same visual styles of the movement, despite their link to the band Visage.[lower-alpha 1] Japan and Adam and the Ants were also labelled as New Romantic artists by the press, although they all repudiated this and none had any direct connection to the original scene.[4] Other aspiring bands of the era including ABC, Depeche Mode, The Human League, Soft Cell, Simple Minds, Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark and Talk Talk have all at some point been inaccurately associated with the New Romantic movement. A number of these bands adopted synthesizers and helped to develop synth-pop in the early 1980s, which, combined with the distinctive New Romantic visuals, helped them first to national success in the UK, and then, via MTV, play a major part in the Second British Invasion of the U.S. charts.

By the beginning of 1982, the original movement had largely dissipated.[4][1] Although many of the artists associated with the scene continued their careers, some to enormous commercial success in the next few years, they had largely abandoned the aesthetics of the movement. There were attempts to revive the movement from the 1990s, including the short-lived Romo scene.