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Monday, 3 August, 1998, 07:15 GMT 08:15 UK
Let's hear it once again for the Eighties
Musical memories: Simon Le Bon, Human League and Boy George
Memories... Simon Le Bon, Human League and Boy George
It's time to dust down all those 12" singles and revisit the time often known as the "golden age of pop," if not the age of big hairdoes, white stilettoes and men wearing make-up.

An evening of nostalgia at Radio City
The Eighties are being billed as the next in a long line of revivals to hit the trend scene this year.

And it was America that played host to a revival of some of the decade's best-loved acts, who gathered on Thursday in New York's Radio City Musical Hall for a concert to relive moments bygone.

Culture Club, Boy George, synthesizer whizz Howard Jones and The Human League who kicked off the trip down Memory Lane.

It was the first live performance by Culture Club in New York for 15 years. Boy George, the band's flamboyant frontman, said it makes good sense for a band like Culture Club to go back on tour.

"I think people do get nostalgic. The Eighties was always looked upon as a terrible decade, a very greedy one. We had Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan, these right-wing politicians.

"I think a lot of people look back on it now and are trying to find what was good about it. Hopefully, we are one of the things that was good about it," said Boy George.

Seems like yesterday

The 1980s was a real break with the past, according to Alex Needham, Deputy Editor of pop magazine Smash Hits.

Baroness Thatcher: symbol of the 80s
"A lot of what took place in the Eighties was a total reaction to punk and the anger and frustration reflected in that style of music," he said.

"The Eighties was the opposite extreme. It meant glamour and indulgence, and the music was much more influenced by soul and disco."

In came Haircut 100, Kajagoogoo, floppy shirts (for men), backcombed hair and of course, the unforgettable padded shoulders, courtesy of the female characters in US soaps like Dallas and Dynasty.

To some style-watchers, the Eighties reeked of self-indulgence, hedonism and materialism.

Mr Needham said much of this was based on the need to escape from the harshness of the time.

"When I think of the 1980s, I remember Magaret Thatcher, the miners strike and yuppies so desperately keen to be successful. This was the grim reality.

"Music and fashion became forms of pure escapism. Pop music in the Eighties was never trying to say anything about what was wrong with the world, whereas punk did."

Eighties in the Nineties

But it is obviously a period in time still dear to people's hearts, at least as far as music is concerned.

Howard Jones as a Nineties man
Pop star Howard Jones, infamous for upright blond spikey hair in those days, said it is not just those longing for a look back to the olden days, who come to his shows.

He said: "When you look out there, there are obviously people who have been there from the beginning.

But then there are those who are in their early twenties. It really is a broad cross-section when you look out into the audience."

Neither is Boy George keen to regard "comeback" tours as a chance to dwell on the past.

"This tour has been great fun, but the next stage is to go forward than go back. I don't want to be Gerry and the Pacemakers, and do Culture Club Eighties tours for the next 10 years," Boy George said.

"It's a means to an end. If people focus back in on the band, then that is an opportunity to do something fresh and new," said Boy George.

Both Culture Club and Howard Jones are currently touring the US and new albums by both of them are in the offing.

Attitudes to an Eighties revival are mixed. Some would rather forget - it starts to make them feel their age. For others, it is one of the easiest ways to relive their youth.

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