The mixture of austerity Britain and the recent Diamond Jubilee has evoked a profound nostalgia. Perhaps not really an identical period to our own (there have been no energy shortages – yet anyway – and the workplace is unmistakably different), sentimentality for the 1960s and 1970s is present in this decade’s fashion (tie dye is creeping back), its governmental construction, and in our music.
Musically, the decade that started this millennium was populated by same-sex bands, which led on from the boy bands of the 1990s, and the progression of inane technomusic. This has given way to a grand return to the singer/songwriter format that was all the rage in the 60s and 70s. Potentially putting those 60s and 70s stars who are still touring, albeit without really being able to sing – Elton John, Paul McCartney – out of a job, a new breed of singer/songwriters are clearly filling a void left by the stalwarts of the last century’s musical highlights. They do so with loving reference to those big stars, however; just watching Noah and the Whale’s Give It All Back you’re instantly transported to the Golden Age of the singer/songwriter.
…a quirky advert by Mattessons…
I’d say it’s good news for a time that many were thankful to leave behind when the 1980s approached. It’s fun and easy to romanticise the hair, the music, the colour and the soul of that decade; although far harder to feel and understand the social hardship and deprivation: it’s only on BBC4 that you find eye-opening documentaries on this, notably the evolution London’s East End from the late 1970s to now.
Popularising this romantic vision is certainly being pushed in the mainsteam, though with a modern-day social media twist. You must be Hank Marvin is a quirky advert by Mattessons for their fridge raiders that plays on the image The Shadows’s lead guitarist, Hank Marvin, and its subsequent rhyming slang “starving” – it took me a minute to find the link between him and the food, too.
The social courage of the 60s and 70s is perhaps why the era is back with a bang. Promoting the resilience and positive social change that our country had in some of the country’s darker economic times is uplifting and will help many through an otherwise unappealing era.