Teddy Boys


Teddy Boys – A Concise History by Ray Ferris and Julian Lord

No youth cult has been so enduring, yet so misunderstood, as the Teddy Boys. From their appearence in the early 1950s, inspired by Edwardian dress and jazz dance to escape the austerity of the age, the Teds were maligned by a British Establishment that had no clue what they were about. As the movement swept the country that scorn turned to fear, sparking moral outrage that lasted for a decade.

Teddy Boys tells 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 Boys 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 in the UK saw the craze reach its peak.

This lively short history tells how the Teds fell into decline after 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.