December 4, 2023

The 70s 80s 90s Blog

Three Decades of History with TV historian Tony McMahon

Siouxsie Sioux says pop is rubbish…

2 min read
Siouxsie Sioux of the Banshees declared in 1982 that pop was over in terms of its excitement and daring compared to the 1960s

I’m afraid the death of pop has been predicted for longer than some people realise.  Back in 1982, in the tour programme for that year, Siouxsie Sioux stuck her stiletto heel in to the face of bubblegum pop.

“Current pop music is depressingly safe and shallow and complete disposable.”

Well, that certainly sounds familiar.  She went on to say that it was shallow, boring, lacking in aggression or sex.  It was all too “calculated”.

…”It lacks the emotion and the lunacy of the pop of the sixties.”

I went to see Siouxsie Sioux at the Hammersmith Odeon, as it then was, and two memories stick out very clearly from that night. Marc Almond was the support act with a very paired down, minimalist offering. Despite being a well-established pop star by this stage, he got a hail of homophobic abuse. To his credit, he gave as good as he got. Sadly this was at the dawn of the whole AIDS crisis which would only make that kind of hatred even worse for a few years before things got a lot better. I shudder when I look back to those days.

My other memory was the presence of John McGeoch on guitar. He had previously been in Magazine with lead singer Howard Devoto. Now that was a band I idolised. So, seeing McGeoch added to the magic of the occasion. Sadly he died in 2004.

DISCOVER: Pop stars who played for Ronald Reagan

The glory years of punk were well and truly over and the political pop of the late 70s was giving way to Thatcher-era throwaway hits. In a few short years, Stock Aitken and Waterman would start manufacturing pop stars with saccharine hits that punks would have despised.

Here is Siouxsie Sioux and the Banshees appearing on the 1978 pop programme Revolver. It was presented by Peter Cook, a well known comedian, who seemed to struggle in his role as master of ceremonies. Although his delivery was like a middle aged Johnny Rotten.

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