WATCH: The New Romantics documentary

Electronic music has many roots in previous generations before it and the New Romantic era is no stranger to the use of Synths, electronic drums and the eventual rise of New Wave (Synth Wave), the forefront of House Music in the UK. In this documentary, explore the move from rock, punk to the electronic music we have today, including the artists behind the movement from Kraftwerk to Gary Numan.

The New Romantic movement was a pop culture 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. 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. Early adherents of the movement were often referred to by the press by such names as Blitz Kids, New Dandies and Romantic Rebels.

Influenced by David BowieMarc 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. He stated that “‘New Romantic’ […] fit the Blitz scene and Spandau Ballet, although most of the groups tried to distance themselves from it.”

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 VisageDuran DuranSpandau BalletA Flock of SeagullsClassix 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. Japan and Adam and the Ants were also labelled as New Romantic artists by the press, although both repudiated this and neither had any direct connection to the original scene. 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 end of 1981, the original movement had largely dissipated. Although some of the artists associated with the scene continued their careers, 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

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About the Author

Loves long walks along the beach, holding hands and romantic 80's power ballads, partial to electronic music and likes to make the odd mix or two.