Milo Books

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Teddy Boys

No youth cult has been so enduring, yet so misunderstood, as the Teddy Boys. From the moment they appeared in the early 1950s, inspired by the flamboyance of Edwardian clothing and the hot sounds of dance bands to seek escape from the austerity of the era, the Teds were maligned by a starchy British Establishment that had no idea what they were really about. As the movement swept the country, that scorn turned to fear, sparking moral outrage that lasted for a decade.

Teddy Boys traces the roots of the Teds among the post-War spivs, the music of jive and boogie artists, and dances like ‘the creep’. The new fashion and its link with violence began to attract media attention after a fatal gang fight in south London, and soon Teddy Boy clothes, haircuts and dance styles were banned from concert halls around the country, to no avail. The arrival of rock ‘n’ roll and the hit movie Rock Around the Clock saw the craze reach its frenetic peak.

This lively history tells how the Teds fell into decline after the Notting Hill Riots of 1958, but how their spirit was preserved by the leather-clad Rockers who fought with Mods in the 1960s. A landmark concert at Wembley in 1972, with artists like Jerry Lee Lewis and Chuck Berry, revived the fashion, and the rising popularity of rockabilly expanded interest across Europe and beyond. The scene is now thriving again, with numerous reunions, gigs and events worldwide. Teddy Boys is the first ever account of an enduring popular phenomenon.

RAY FERRIS and JULIAN LORD are lifelong Teddy Boys and founder members of the revivalist Manchester Peacock Society.

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