Historically Mod culture has been pigeon-holed as an early to mid-'60s youth movement that had a resurgence in the early 1980s. It has, however, been a part of youth culture since the late 1950s when youngsters started listening to modern jazz in and around the hip London hangouts.
The 'Modernists' or Mods as they became known, were a London centric few that cherished their appearance, well-tailored, sharp Italian suits as described in the 1959 novel 'Absolute Beginners'.
Whilst many of the youngsters worked their mundane jobs Monday to Friday the lived for the weekend as portrayed in the film Quadrophenia. The weekend was time for them to sharpen up and be seen out and about in the latest styles, the styles not only looked good but also distanced the youngsters from the post-war hardships their parents were experiencing.
By 1963 the Mod movement was up and down the land and no longer confined to a few underground Jazz Clubs in Soho. As with many teen movement clothes, hair, music and of course their mode of transport was everything and perhaps even more so with the Mods.
Paul Jobling and David Crowley called the mod subculture a "fashion-obsessed and hedonistic cult of the hyper-cool". Italian Suits, suede shoes, hush puppies, parkas, tonic suits, Fred Perry shirts, Brutus shirts, Straightline Levi's, polo shirt, desert boots, penny collar shirts, Ravel Shoes, suede and leather shoes, bowling shoes.
There wasn't just one but several cuts that were related to the movement; The Caeser cut, The French Crop, The Fringe Cut, The Ivy League, The Layered Cut, Back Combed or French Combed.
The Mods had a massive range within their music taste from the classic Jazz of Miles Davis to the Jamaican Ska of the Skatalites. The Small Faces, The Who (The High Numbers), Tamla Motown, The Kinks, The Action, The Rolling Stones, The Yardbirds, Prince Buster, The Skatalites and many, many more.
Lambretta TV200, GT Lambretta SX200, Vespa 125, Vespa 150Gs, Vespa 125 Primavera. By the mid-1960s many were customising their scooters beyond recognition.
Mods v Rockers.
As was the case for every youth movement there would always be another movement that took exception to them and in the case of the Mods, it was the Rockers, their complete antithesis. The Mods were everything the Rockers hated and vice versa.
The riots and fights occurred largely in coastal areas in 1964 but were to play out in clubs and street fights up and down the land. The press played their part in the hype too causing what was to become known as a 'Moral Panic' surrounding these events.Were they really any different to many altercations that happened outside many bars and clubs by other youngsters that weren't Mods or Rockers? By 1968 it was all over, flower power and hippies had arrived but it was definitely not forgotten and for many, it still carries on to this very day. Mod was to re-emerge in the early 1980s spearheaded by Paul Weller's Jam amongst others but for many, they are still talking about their generation.
One band that still unites Mods new and old are Steve Marriott's Small Faces;
The Spring Chicken Top 5 Mod songs;
- The Kinks - All Day and All of the Night. (and You Really Got Me)
- Dobie Gray - See You At The Go-Go
- The Who - My Generation
- Fontella Bass - Rescue Me
- .Tin Soldier - Small Faces
What are your Top 5 Mod songs? - Let us know in the comments below.
Header Image Moped Mods