Like the best movements in music, the 60s Mod scene happened at exactly the right moment; national service had been abolished and a booming economy meant near full employment giving young kids access to spare cash for the first time. These young, mainly working class, cash-rich Britons joined one of two youth movements; you were either a Mod or a Rocker. The roots of the Mod scene have long been debated but one things is sure, the movement quickly grew to take on a definitive culture of its own. There were the ‘Ace Faces’, who were at the top if the scene who set the trends and style. Following them were the ‘Numbers’; young sharp dressed kids decked out in the trademark parka. Theirs is the iconic image of ‘60s mod style, the parka serving to protect tailor made suits and at the same time keep them warm while driving round on customised scooters kitted out with mirrors, crash bars, headlights, aerials, chrome wings and high backrests. Bars and coffee houses up and down the UK and infamous clubs such as The Scene, The Marquee, King Mojo and The Windsor Ricky Tick were packed to the rafters with amphetamine fuelled kids dancing the night away to bands like The Who and The Small Faces and Stax and Motown label imports.
Inevitably the Mods and Rockers clashed and things came to a head on the Whitsun Bank Holiday of 1964. Marauding gangs of Mods and Rockers battled along the beaches of the south coast of England The worst violence was at Brighton and Margate, where the presiding judge famously labelled those in front of him in the dock the next day ‘Sawdust Caesers’ and levied heavy fines.
The Who defined Mod. A string of their classic singles propelled them and the Mod sound onto every TV and into every jukebox and radio in Britain. ‘The Who are clearly a new form of crime’ wrote The Daily Telegraph, ‘anti social and armed against the bourgeoisie’.