Ask the 1950s Style ex-Teddy Boy

A headbutt.
Someone grabs your lapels and you have razor blades sewn in them is gonna regret it

Up until this post, the only time I recall hearing about Teddy Boys was from a biography of the Beatles in a description of John Lennon. Seems he was always secretly having his jeans modified without his aunt finding out about it. I always thought that these modified jeans were part of the Teddy dress code.

You could actually buy fake handkerchiefs? Why fake instead of the real thing?

Fake because usually your top pocket was only about a couple of inches deep. It was in effect a fake pocket.

If you tried a real snot rag you’d have to fold it umpteen times, it’d bulge and ruin the whole cut of your jib. :stuck_out_tongue:

As I said earlier, no Ted would entertain the idea of jeans, it was a suit or nuffink.

Then again JL was a person apart so I guess he’d be forgiven a minor transgression

Unless I’m very much mistaken, Americans never hear of Teddy Boys unless they have read books about the Beatles, each of whom, to a greater or lesser extent, were themselves Teddy Boys, or tried to be, in the late 1950s. It seems to have been the going teen-rebel fashion and culture statement of the era and location.

Weren’t some of the early Beatle’s outfits said to be Teddy-ish or Teddy inspired? Like these:

jacketiswrong Scroll down a bit to where they are wearing the collarless jackets and are gathered around Ringo in a chair.
I like that drape coat look–on a guy with any height at all, it looks great. It should come back. I’d like a bit of crispness to come back (and I wear scrubs at work!)

The collarless jackets were a Beatle inspired thing and you could at one time buy a “Beatle” suit which had these.

As far as drainpipe or “pegged” trousers are concerned these were just an ongoing thing until flares made an appearance

I always assumed that we imported the Teddy Boy thing from the USA. Didn’t realise we invented it ourselves. Good for us… I think?

Shame on you for thinking that sir, shame on you :stuck_out_tongue:

So what did you tool around town in?

You mentioned the Rockers with their motorbikes. Other than hoofin’ it with those thick soled beatle smashers what kind of ride suits a Ted?

First let me make it quite clear that the Rockers came well after us, they were. I suppose, the forerunners of Hells Angels.

What did we tool around in? You have to remember that the time period I’m talking about was the middle/late 50s and the UK was still sufferring post war poverty :wink: . We didn’t have enough money for those new fangled thingies called automobiles so it was shanks’ or the bus unless you had a real good pal with a beat up old banger.

If you had such a gem, which our crowd didn’t, you normally shared costs of repairs and petrol/oil etc.

One thing we never used was a bicycle…oh the shame would have been to much to bear and would possibly have meant instant De-Teddy Boying if not outright deportation to the colonies:p

So percentage-wise, how many of your generation went Teddy? And what did your mother think of it all?

I really have no idea how many of us went Teddy but I can say it was a fair number.

WAG would be around 70% of real groovy guys and chicks, the rest were nerks, innit.

My mum, Gawd bless her, was a bit philosophical about it all, “Let him be Dan (my dad) he’ll grow out of it in time”

2 points:

  • In reading The Beatles by Bob Spitz (probably the best bio of them to date) it was Paul who was getting his jeans “drainpiped” on the sly. John didn’t hide anything from anyone - probably ever!

  • **chowder *- I love your taste in rock n’ roll! Any comments on the UK rockers (besides Cliff Richard) like Billy Fury or those other more “manufactured” rock stars? Same with Eddie Cochran and Gene Vincent - to my knowledge they were far more popular in the UK vs. the U.S. - was that your take?

*by the way, for an interesting look at these early UK rock n’ rollers, you might consider reading Stoned by Andrew Loog Oldham, the former manager of the Rolling Stones. He spends the full first third of the book or so navigating the period before he took on the Stones (of course prominently featuring himself) - interesting stuff.

My fave UK rock n’ roll singer was Marty Wilde followed by Cliff and then Joe Brown and the Bruvvers.You got it right about Eddie and Gene altho’ my fave US guy was without a doubt Jerry Lee Lewis, now he was the bees knees as we used to say

I loved that guy.

IMO US rockers had UK rockers beat

At this point I have to say that without Bill Haley and the advent of Rock n’ Roll it is doubtful if Teddy Boys would have made it to first base.

We identified with rock, we loved rock and while Rock Around the Clock was sorta meh, Shake Rattle and Roll was definitely not meh.

Have I mentioned Chuck Berry? if not I stand castigated

I can’t speak for “Americans” as a whole, but I was awakened to the whole Mod/Rocker thing by The Who’s Quadrophenia, and later read that the Rockers were a more violent spinoff of the Teds. Since AIUI most Americans under 25 in the mid-1960s were Mod wannabes, I would expect more of us to have heard about it that way. Could be projecting, though.

:eek: You’re kidding, right? This whole thing is the most bizarrely British countercultural movement I’ve ever heard of.

In the 50s, sure. That’s because (JMHO!) American rock music in the 50s was basically the blues on an upbeat with (generally) happier lyrics. The full weight of that didn’t hit me until I listened to the famous version of Shake, Rattle & Roll right after the original blues version by Big Joe Turner. Early rock was really nothing but 12- or 16-bar blues anyway, if you want to go into the musical technicalities (which I know relatively little about).

I just have images, probably wrong or half-remembered, of Jerry Lee Lewis and maybe Bill Haley and others in drape jackets, looking vaguely Teddy Boy-ish. And the T.B.s are strongly associated with '50s rock ‘n’ roll, which certainly was an import from the USA.

I think you’ll find that the suits worn by BH and The Comets were more of a semi-tuxedo sorta thing plus bow ties. :eek:

As for JLL, well I don’t ever recall seeing him in anything like that

Apologies for resurrecting this thread, but…

I was in town centre earlier today and what do I see?

Teddy Boys!! 3 of them aged about 15-17.

We’re making a comeback