📑 Not singing, but being a singer – Who exactly were the New Romantics?

Bookmarked Not singing, but being a singer • Andrew Ford (Inside Story)

In the early 1980s, bands like Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet, Adam and the Ants and the Human League were at the forefront of a second “British invasion” of the United States, rivalling the one led by the Beatles two decades earlier. It seems all the more odd, then, that it should be so hard to say what the New Romantics’ music consisted of.

Andrew Ford dives into Dylan Jones’s book, Sweet Dreams: The Story of the New Romantics to unpack the question, who exactly were the New Romantics? Ford suggests that it is often easier to say what the movement was not, however at the same time it often borrowed from these various genres. For example, the New Romantics was not punk, but definitely borrowed the posing part:

The clothes might have been brighter, cleaner and less torn, the pose more a sulk than a sneer, but New Romanticism was as much an attitude as punk ever was.

In many respects, the catalyst for the new romantics were Roxy Music and David Bowie.

Peter York, one of Jones’s talking heads, says of Roxy Music’s “Virginia Plain” that Ferry’s voice was “the natural antithesis of Joe Cocker.” Here was “a singer whose whole approach said, ‘I’m not singing, I’m being a singer.’”

Ford also spoke with Jones about the book on The Music Show:

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