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The Mod Scene was centered on British pop music played by well-shod lads by way of Carnaby Street. Mods worked in offices by day to supply their wardrobe of custom fit tight pants and nightlife ticket. They buzzed around the city on Vespa and Lambretta scooters, protecting their sleek duds with large parkas. Here are just some of the songs they listened and swaggered to.
“The Harlem Shuffle” by Bob & Earl
Released in 1963 on the Marc Records Label, mods shuffled to the clubs to dance along with this groovin’ tune which has been covered by Booker T & the MG’s, The Righteous Brothers, and The Rolling Stones in 1986. Bob & Earl’s version peaked the Billboard Charts at #44, but made it to the top-ten when it was re-released in 1969. Rated as one of the best duets ever.
“Cool Jerk” by the Creation
The Creation experimented with “Pop Art” in their sound, as well as in their live shows, similar to The Who’s early records both produced by Shel Talmy. They spray painted pictures on stage during the music, while the guitar player used a violin bow to play the electric guitar, long before Jimmy Page made it popular. The song “Cool Jerk” was released in 1967 when the mod squad started coming into their own sounds.
“I’m Rowed Out” the Eyes
I chose this video because it shows some great styles in clothes celebrating the Mod fashion sense. Here’s a vid mosh featuring Mary Quant, a popular fashion designer of the times. The Eyes were obscure during the Mod movement, but in their heyday, with a few well placed hits. “I’m Rowed Out” was a single that used the slang of the times, much like most contemporary rock music. “I’m Rowed Out” means “I’m done” They were one of the greatest Mod bands of the time, even rivaling The Who, so as an homage and a satire, they also released a song called “My Degeneration.”
“The Kids are Alright” by The Who
The Who were the quintessential Mods group. In this old video, you can see Roger a little restrained as if he hasn’t found his voice yet, but in the music, you can hear Pete just warming up his famous axe swing. The Mod essence was captured accurately in The Who’s movie “Quadrophonia”, which features a re-enactment of a the riot between the Mods and the Rockers at Brighton Beach. Most parents didn’t understand it, anyone over the age of 25 for that matter. And so, The Who’s response was “The Kids are Alright.”
“Itchycoo Park” by The Small Faces
The Small Faces helped us turn the corner from Mod to psychedelia with their artful sounds. The video is their turn on the television show The Beat Club, a UK television show featuring the fashion sense and the dancing Mods of the day.