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Which Came First – Mods or Rockers?

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This is an interesting one.  The Mods and Rockers were two conflicting British youth subcultures of the early to mid-1960s.

RockersThe Rocker subculture was centred around motorcycling, and their appearance reflected that. Rockers generally wore protective clothing such as black leather jackets and motorcycle boots (although they sometimes wore brothel creeper shoes). The common rocker hairstyle was a pompadour, which was associated with 1950s rock and roll — the rockers’ music genre of choice.

ModsThe Mod subculture was centred around fashion and music, and many Mods rode scooters. Mods wore suits and other cleancut outfits, and preferred 1960s music genres such as soul, rhythm and blues, ska and beat music.

So it’s fair to say that Rockers just came first (following on from the teds or teddy boys of the early 50s – claimed to be the first real ‘teenage’ movement of its kind).

The term Mod derives from modernist, used later in the 1950s to describe modern  jazz musicians and fans.  The 1959 novel Absolute Beginners by Colin MacInnes  is probably one of the earliest written examples of the term modernist being used to describe young British style-conscious modern jazz fans.

RAF RoundelCarnaby Street has long been associated with music and fashion, and is now synonymous with many cool youth brands.  But it’s the distinctive mod style (parkas, suits, and the classic RAF roundel) that is particularly associated with the area.

There are even two Westminster City Council green plaques on Carnaby Street: the first can be found at 1 Carnaby Street and is dedicated to fashion entrepreneur John Stephen, who was responsible for beginning the Mod fashion revolution here. The second plaque, located at 52/55 Carnaby Street, is dedicated to the Mod pop group The Small Faces and their manager Don Arden (father of Ozzy Osbourne’s wife Sharon).

Small Faces     John Stephen

Our source here was mainly Wikepedia – so if you have anything else to add, please feel free to comment.