New Romantic was a short- lived fashion and music movement that occurred primarily in the United Kingdom and Ireland during the very early 1980s. It has seen a revival as a gay motif in the 2000s.
Typical musical and stylistic proponents of the New Romantic movement were Depeche Mode, Spandau Ballet, Visage, Japan, Ultravox, Adam & The Ants, Culture Club, Duran Duran, Classix Nouveaux.
The movement’s genesis took place largely through clubs such as Billy’s in Dean Street, London, which ran David Bowie and Roxy Music nights in the aftermath of punk. This evolved into the highly successful and elitist Blitz Club in Great Queen Street, and later Hell, which were hosted by Steve Strange who was also the doorman and Rusty Egan who was the DJ. Those two, together with Billy Currie and Midge Ure (both from Ultravox) formed the band Visage. Some bands classified as New Romantic were glam rock bands in the 1970s such as Japan and Ultravox and both underwent stylistic changes to their look. However they always had an experimental, arty and electronic side to their songs influenced by krautrock as well as Bowie and Roxy Music which was largely not present in guitar-based early 70s glam bands. This electronic element would adapt with the outbreak of and after punk and would largely merge or work in conjunction with the New Wave label, giving a musical base for New Romanticism.
Boy George was the cloakroom attendant who was sacked by Steve Strange for stealing money from a customer’s purse. Marilyn also worked as a cloakroom attendant, doing impersonations of Marilyn Monroe. The club spawned a hundred suburban spin-offs in, around and outside London, among which were Croc’s in Rayleigh, Essex, and The Regency in Chadwell Heath, where Depeche Mode and Culture Club had their debut gigs as fledgling bands.