Playing dress up

As we move through the decades, our music idols have become more and more outlandish in their appearance.

Episode 2 of People’s History of Pop, due out this summer, features the increasingly striking fashions of pop stars, from Marc Bolan’s glitter to Black Sabbath’s crosses. The desire to emulate their look has given us some wonderful photos of die-hard fans on PHOP. A particular favourite of ours is this impersonation of Ziggy Stardust by Scotty Somerville. ziggy

This would have been a familiar site at a David Bowie concert circa 1973, where the queues leading into the venue would present a sea of fans all dressed in the most outrageous way they could ready to see their idol, the master of wild imagery.

If you or someone you know ever dressed up as your music idol and took a photo, we’d love to see it! Just go to www.phop.co.uk and follow the instructions to upload your image.

It’s the small things

So far the People’s History of Pop has seen everything from rare acetates to superstars’ wardrobes. But it’s often the small things that have evoked the fondest memories. Of all the items in their collection, many of our contributors have said they’d save the oddities of their hoard first in the event of an imaginary fire.

Items as seemingly incongruous as an old beer can, a handful of orange confetti and a plastic bag have been hailed as the jewel in a crown of pop paraphernalia. They are souvenirs with no price tag, reminders of triumphant acquisitions; of catching Ray Davies’ half-finished drink, of experiencing the Pet Shop Boys’ live for the first time, and of buying that first single in a long-departed local record store.

Here are a few of our favourite obscurities:

Caught in a frenzy by Chris Vanezis a the Smith's farewell gig at Wolverhampton Civic Hall in 1988
A piece of Mozza’s shirt: Caught in a frenzy by Chris Vanezis a the Smith’s farewell gig at Wolverhampton Civic Hall in 1988
Alice Cooper paper knickers: Saved from the School's Out! album in 1972 by Angela Tomlinson. Presumably unworn...
Alice Cooper paper knickers: Saved from the School’s Out! album in 1972 by Angela Tomlinson. Presumably unworn…
Ray Davies' lager can: Caught by Terry Cawser a Kinks gig in Ipswich in the mid-1970s
Ray Davies’ lager can: Caught by Terry Cawser a Kinks gig in Ipswich in the mid-1970s
Stuck to the underwear of a Pet Shop Boys fan, this confetti is a reminder of a great gig
Stuck to the underwear of a Pet Shop Boys fan, this confetti is a reminder of a great gig

If you have a music souvenir that’s more curious than costly share it with us at www.phop.co.uk

British B-Boys be rockin’ on and on

We love this photograph uploaded to the People’s History of Pop by Martin Jones. It features the Wolverhampton B Boys Breakdance Crew in 1985 with their trophy from an ‘All Dayer’ dance event.

Can you spot the Drum and Bass legend in the photograph?

Wolverhampton B Boys breakdance crew, 1985, featuring Goldie. Uploaded by MMJones29. Licence: Copyright (c) all rights reserved
Wolverhampton B Boys breakdance crew, 1985. Uploaded by MMJones29. Licence: Copyright (c) all rights reserved

 

Check out this great video of the Wolverhampton B Boys battling Coventry rivals Future Shock on children’s television show Saturday Starship in November 1984.

Fun Fact: The classic B-boy track ‘The Mexican’ was originally recorded by the British prog rock band Babe Ruth.  It is considered by some as one of the most influential songs in hip-hop and breakdancing culture.

You can read more about the track in the The Stories Behind the Songs article published in Classic Rock Magazine in May 2012.

Were you a breakdancer in the 1980s or 1990s? Upload your story to PHOP.CO.UK

Strike a Pose: Women, Music and the 1980s

In 1981, women’s liberation magazine Spare Rib put Grace Jones, X-Ray Spex singer Poly Styrene and Gina from The Raincoats on the cover for their Woman and Popular Music issue.

John Lennon’s ‘Woman’ was one of the biggest selling singles worldwide and Duran Duran caused controversy with the release of their ‘Girls on Film’ music video.

In London, 21-year-old photographer Anita Corbin captured the images of girls in youth clubs, nightclubs, on marches and in their homes for her ‘Visible Girls’ series of double portraits.

Jill and Friend, The Blitz, Covent Garden London. Uploaded by Anita.Corbin Copyright (c) all rights reserved
Jill and Friend, The Blitz, Covent Garden London. Uploaded by Anita.Corbin Copyright (c) all rights reserved

These photographs uploaded to the People’s History of Pop capture the diverse subcultures across London in the 1980s from a young women’s point of view.

Two Mod Girls, Oxford Street, London WC1 March 1981. Uploaded by Anita.Corbin Copyright (c) all rights reserved
Two Mod Girls, Oxford Street, London WC1 March 1981. Uploaded by Anita.Corbin Copyright (c) all rights reserved

Over 30 years have passed since Anita took the original photographs and she needs your help tracking them down.

Did you party and pose with Jill and her friend at the Blitz? 

Do you remember the Two Mod girls on Oxford Street?

If you recognise any of the women featured in these photographs please email phop@7wonder.co.uk

Susan and Linda outside Southgate Tube Feb 1981. Uploaded by Anita.Corbin Copyright (c) all rights reserved
Susan and Linda outside Southgate Tube Feb 1981. Uploaded by Anita.Corbin Copyright (c) all rights reserved

POP FACT: Aneka was the only solo female artist to have a U.K Number 1 single in 1981 with her hit ‘Japanese boy’.

Were you part of a subculture? What did you wear? Where did you go? Did you pose for a portrait? Share your story at PHOP.CO.UK 

The full collection of Visible Girls photographs will be exhibited from 14th April – 27th May 2016 at Metro Imaging as part of the PUNK London series of events.

 

A brief history of music & t-shirts

P1070759Your granddad might not have worn a Frank Sinatra tee, but once t-shirts became part of casual wear in the early 1950s, it didn’t take long for them to become the ultimate statement item. Like carrying a record around (but a lot easier), wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with the name of your favourite band tells everyone on the street exactly what music you like and, of course, what tribe you belong to.

In the 1970s, designers like Vivienne Westwood tapped into the emerging anti-establishment mentality of British youth with slogans designed to shock. Billed as “the ultimate punk-rock T-shirt”, her design featuring a swastika and inverted crucifix under the word “Destroy” became iconic of a musical and social movement.

In fact it was Johnny Rotten’s t-shirt that first caught the attention of future Sex Pistols manager, Malcolm McLaren, in the summer of 1975. Walking down the Kings Road with the words “I Hate” scribbled above a Pink Floyd logo evidently displayed his potential to become the snarling face of punk rock.

In the 1980s, designer Katherine Hamnett used bold prints to fuse fashion with social issues. In their 1983 video for Wake Me Up Before You Go Go, pop band Wham! wore her print, “CHOOSE LIFE”, prompting millions of fans to adopt the slogan, which promoted an anti-drug and anti-suicide campaign.

The idea of using the humble tee to send a message caught on. In 1984 the BBC banned Relax, the debut single by Frankie Goes to Hollywood for its “explicitly sexual” lyrics. Inevitably it went straight to Number 1 and record label owner Paul Morley’s idea of printing “FRANKIE SAYS RELAX” onto white t-shirts turned millions of fans into protest billboards. The t-shirt was so iconic it is still one of the most popular slogans, long after the band’s career ended.

Do you still have your favourite band t-shirt? This Friday is BBC 6 Music’s Wear Your Band T-shirt to work day so show off your old tee by tweeting a picture using #tshirtday.

While you’re at it, don’t forget to upload your music merchandise and memories to www.phop.co.uk or email phop@7wonder.co.uk

All about the BOY

 

BOY Bondage Trousers by Graham Carr Jones licensed under CC BY-SA
BOY Bondage Trousers by Graham Carr Jones licensed under CC BY-SA

 

Graham Carr Jones bought these trousers from BOY LONDON on the Kings road  in 1978/79. The addition of a Tartan “bum flap” was inspired from Graham’s original bondage trousers bought in a shop near Brick Lane.

BOY LONDON was founded by Stephane Raynor and John Krivine in 1976 and became the go to place for cool kids, pop stars and pop artists to buy their BOY logo T-shirts and bondage gear.

“We just wanted to open a shop, call it BOY, start trouble”
Stephane Raynor. Source: Now or Never

During the 1980s the brand became linked to musicians including Boy George and the Pet Shop Boys which you can read more about in this Q&A with Stephane Raynor for Rolling Stone. 

This fun promo video from the 1980s shows that nothing can escape brand BOY.

“Everyone knew BOY was a joke,” says John Krivine. “But the kids from the suburbs were buying like mad.”  Source: Pretty Real 

In 2008, an original pair a BOY LONDON bondage tartan trousers and matching jacket was sold at a Christie’s auction for over £600.

The brand continues to be popular today with pop stars such Rihanna, Wiz Kalifa and Nicki Minaj all wearing the label.

Did musicians influence the way you dressed as a a teenager or the way you dress now?  

Where did you shop to recreate that pop star look?

Share your story at PHOP.CO.UK