the Wilde Wood

The History of Goth

This is my take on the history of Goth. It's just a tad incomplete atm. I'm going to work on it, okay?

So, first there was punk (well, there was other stuff before that, but...). 1979 - Banshees already being called 'gothic'. Many early Goths took image from Bauhaus and Siouxsie.
Out of this grew early proto-goth, with Bauhaus and Joy Division and all manner of other stuff like that.
Joy Division - sparse haunting sound. Ian Curtis, killed himself.
Bauhaus first album and Sisters first single originally accused of copying Joy Division. Minimalist, gothic art on record covers.
Eldritch designed cover of March Violets Grooving in Green, similar to cover of Closer. Joy Division considered too mainstream at the time, bleak image.

UK Decay and Banshees could be considered punk, Cure new wave, Joy Division post-punk, Bauhaus Goth. The major influence.

Most early bands had tribal drumming, not many had deep vocals.

1980 - Bauhaus and first wave gaining popularity, second wave of bands forming.

UK Decay - important in early scene. Abbo used the word 'gothic' for movement.
Sex Gang Children - lead new wave of Goth bands. Inspired use of 'Goths' applied to members.
Southern Death Cult - Positive Punk leaders from 1982. Ian Astbury may have been first to use term 'Goths' for fans of Sex Gang Children.
Cure - not part of scene, less influential. Music, image fitted, Pornography last before pop direction, away from Goth sound, but brought 'goth' closer to mainsteam.
Sisters of Mercy - not important in early scene. First of second wave of Goth bands to release single, months before their first gig. Continually compared to Joy Division.
1980 - The Birthday Party came to England. Goth?
1981-07 - Release the Bats single

1980 - Play Dead formed
1982/3 - gained popularity. Three albums, loads of singles. One of early bands with a crowd following.

Danse Society - 1980 - formed, 1982-late - Seduction mini-album. Steve Rawlings - vocals. Signed to a major, not much came of it, attracted attention to themselves and other bands around them.

Virgin Prunes - Avant-garde sound and image. Extremely theatrical. 'If I Die, I Die' album.

Glam-punk clothing styles.

Later came Alien Sex Fiend and Specimen.

1981/2 - Goth scene emerging.

Then The Sisters of Mercy.

1983 - Goth a sub-culture. A year or so later some bands already feeling constrained.

Then Fields of the Nephilim. Deep vocals atmospheric of Sisters and prog rock.

By 1985 most early bands had split up - Bauhaus, Sex Gang Children, Southern Death Cult, UK Decay.

Death Cult short-lived, some members shed between SDC and the Cult. Hippyish, then rawk (Electric).

1985 - Sisters slit, Craig Adams and Wayne Hussey form the Mission, borrowing from 70s rock, influencing Gothic Rock sound.

Cure still popular among Goths, and the Banshees, become more melodic and mellower.

Spiky hair for men, ripped clothing. Women - long hair, hats, expensive-looking shirts, coats. Frillier for women.
18th century Gothic / romantic styles matching up with the subculture name 'Gothic'.

Around 1988 there were links between Goth and rock, which had been forged by bands such as FotN, Cult (and their change of direction), Zodiac Mindwarp, Crazyhead, etc.

All About Eve got involved somehow too - hippy, folk sound. Far from post-punk.

Eldritch had released Sisterhood - Gift so that Hussey and Adams couldn't use it. Teamed up with Patricia Morrison for Floodland and Tony James for Vision Thing.

source: slashgoth thread

During the eighties male Goths wore tight black jeans, some ripped with fishnets beneath, dress shirts from second hand shops, painted leathers, band t-shirts. Sometimes the shirts would be paisley print.
Long leather trench coats. Fishnet tights worn as tops. T-shirts slashed. Big dark coats were worn fairly early on.
References were made to the 'Northern Raincoat Squad'. Much of the punk influence was still around. Tall hair, fishnets, eyeliner.
In the mid-1980s London scene there were noticeable dos and don'ts.
Apparently California was much more freeform, taking influences from metal, industrial, hardcore, biker styles.
Jeans, black canvas, vinyl or leather trousers, possibly with fetish straps, zips, D-rings, rips. Leggings dance-type tights. Shredded jeans over leggings.
Big white dress shirts, often worn loose. 18th century shirts. Black, white or red t-shirts, either with or without sleeves. Mesh shirts.
Cowboy-style shirts, sometimes with silver metal collar points.
Black leather motorcycle jacket, often painted, sometimes studded, sometimes with chains. Short black velvet coats. Long black coats in a variety of fabrics and styles.
Boots - low, pointy with buckles, also combats, biker boots, harness boots, pointier Cowboy boots. Boot chains and other decorations.
Hair - tall, long, cropped or spiky. Black, purple, green, red, fuschia or bleached white.
Accessories - black gloves, top hats, broad-brimmed and flat hats, chains, studded or ringed fetish gear, scarves, cravats, belts, multiple belts. Webbing belts, wide black leather belts, gunfighter style on the hips. Silver rings, bracelets, bolo ties, rubber bracelets.
Leather jeans, fishnet tops, big black moheikhans. Crimped and backcombed. Insette Spikey (which also acts as insect repellent). Clogs.
Conches, suede fringe jackets. Earings, tattoos. ParaCloggs tight black jeans.
'Northern Long Mac' army surplus trousers, ordinary shirt with collar up, long hair slicked back, shaved at sides.
Shades with leather sides, slashed black canvas or leather jeans, slashed t-shirts, dress shirt (dyed), velvet or leather jacket or duster coat.
Black jeans, black t-shirts, big white trainers, suede pixie boots with buckles, leather pixie boots with skull buckles, suede-trimmed pixies with tassles. Black cotton shirts, black paisley shirt, purple tie-dye shirt, black plastic sunglasses / mirror shades, studded belt, wrist bracelet, strings of pearl or gun-metal plastic beads, wire bracelets, mother-of-pearl bracelets, black woollen overcoat with large white plaid pattern, crimped bushy hair, eye make-up, lipstick.

Women wore fishnets and pvc. If it couldn't be bought it would be made, with many charity shop purchases being modified.
Hair would be big and black, ripped up clothes, pointy high-heeled boots, antique-style clothes. Lots of velvet, ethnic jewellery.
Pointy shoes, pixie shirts. Frilled shirts, crushed velvet leggings. Striped tights, patterned tights.

Clothes would be bought from used racks, then cut, sewed, dyed, riveted, painted...
Antique shops would also provide lace items (in the late 1980s at least) and fabric shops.
Many London Goths shopped at the same two or three places, and saw each other around a lot.
Some shops in Carnaby Street sold some Phaze clothing (pvc fetish wear, spandex and long hippy skirts). Doc Martens, stilettos, pixie boots.
PVC mini-skirts, lace tights and gloves, fishnets, little tops from when Chelsea Girl closed down. Black hoover belts for bangles. Torn-up lace and tarnished diamante. 4 1/2 inch high stiletto boots. Bristows hairspray.
Ethnic, indian tassle skirts and tops. Fishnets over stripy black and purple tights or lacey tights. Velvet skirts, crcoheted cardis.
Backcombed hair, lace tights, frilled ankle socks. 1970s maxi skirts in black velvet, white or black frilly shirts with offcuts of lace.
Leather and metal Western-style belts with tassles hanging from them. Pointy buckle boots at Saxones, Freeman Hardy & Willis. Corsets.
Symphony of Shadows dresses, tight-fitting up to the bust, fishtail cobweb skirt. Crimped hair, back-combed, hairsprayed, sides cropped short.
Eyeliner and white greasepaint. Mohawks. PVC mini-skirt, leopard-print jeans, leather fringed bikers jacket. Studded belts. Multiple pairs of torn fishnet tights., lace top, purple velvet hotpants, leather jacket, spike-heeled boots. Fishnets over red tights, buckle boots, motorcycle boots, black silk blouses, worn knotted over sleeveless tops.
Tight clothes on legs, looser on top half of body. Black leggings over fishnet, lace, striped tights, short velvet skirt over the top. DMs and shirt or t-shirt. Short hair with undercut. Fluffed up hair. Mens dinner jackets, dark velvet jackets, long black wool coat, dark grey military coat. Waistcoats, top hats or bowlers.

Also spandex. Slashed, ripped clothing. Biker jackets. Wool or tweed long coats, trenchcoats, military surplus. Brocade jackets.
Inecto super black to dye hair. Pyramid-stud belts. Hard as Rock hairspray (in metallic purple can). Black canvas jeans with D-rings up the side below the knee, worn with an untucked grandad shirt and a couple of belts on the hips. Belts with O-rings and a couple of chains. Long black skirt, black shirt, dress jacket, coloured tights under fishnet tights, monkey boots (kid Docs). Crimped hair, back-combed, part ponytail backcombed to top of head, long fringed bit (also backcombed). Hat with purple scarf tied around it and dangly bit at back.
Velvet, crushed velvet, lace, stripey / fishnet tights, pointy boots, customised Docs, black rosaries, black ribbon around neck with large cross on. Grandad shirts with backprints. Alchemy jewellery.
Symphony of Shadows at Hyper Hyper in Kensington.

In Germany at least one person wore black evening dresses, other formal wear with ripped tights, rosaries, necklace from tiny black rubber bats. Silver chains, diamante, steel toe DMs, mini crinoline, long tulle skirt, opera gloves.

Goth took from punk and Romanticism, with great individuality.

1992 - Fairly isolated success of Temple of Love 1992 with Ofra Haza.

Rosetta Stone and Children on Stun new bands out touring, but not many others.

Then everything went quiet. Apparently the entire north of England only had two Goth-only clubs, The Banshee and The Phono in Leeds before 1994.

But it all woke up again in the early 1990s, with Nosferatu and Rosetta Stone and other bands that shouldn't all be mentioned in the same sentence.

In Germany and other parts of Europe Goth kinda merged with industrial scene. Industrial Goth pop.

About the same time, cybergoth started gaining momentum, probably reaching it's apex around 1999/2000 (suitably enough).

2003. Deathrock term, if not sound growing much more popular in UK.

Well, I said it was fairly incomplete, but that doesn't mean you can't disagree with me.

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