Young people today like to think they invent their creative streaks from scratch - but this is such a fallacy. Look down- and you'll see we all stand on the shoulders of our musical and creative forebears and now, it seems, it's the time of the late '70s and early '80s to wave it's influential wand across popular culture. It's back, baby!
Look at the high street- music, fashion, the whole scene from the late '70s and '80s is oozing out of shops and clubs, en masse. It's screamingly obvious that Daft Punk take their influences from that special chunk in time. The recent smash Get Lucky for instance -is a spangle wearing disco-tastic disco pop hook which has been transported through time and moulded into a modern, bang up to date pop hit. It doesn't stop there- that track has influenced a huge swathe of young people globally who can now see that looking back can get the creative juices flowing and to not fall into the trap of just relying on computers and technology. Daft Punk show that you can also use real instruments and hooks: you hear real bass, real guitar - how very old school! How amazing! How timeless and classy! Listen and learn kids.
And look at Lady Ga Ga - she brings it all back- and how- with a huge bang of her own! Flatteringly, it seems Imagination may have been part of her creative thinking. I was told by her stylist that she had seen videos of ours and this has inspired her to dress herself and her dancers. Similar story with The Scissor Sisters. See? What goes before influences the 'now'. How amazing for us- and thank you Ga Ga and Jake Shears! It does not surprise me. A lot of fans still want that connection with the disco/ pop of the '70s and '80s: they like the look, they like the music - there is a fun and flamboyant surreal aura to it which appeals and completely transcends the grim realities of life. It can lift you. It can transform you into something else.
Back when Imagination came onto the scene, we bounced onto the musical stage with exuberant flamboyance. The country at the time needed escapism and we one of many acts who answered their call. The day to day politics were grim: riots, coal miners striking, mass unemployment. There was a strange ' fall out' where, although things were grim, some of us got creative and started doing creative things like becoming designers, DJ's, models and entrepreneurs - and pop stars! We needed some colour in the darkness of it all. It's funny when I think back on it - it was a very heavy time. And yet, our performances were so crazy they distracted people from their woes for a while. In fact, people still talk about those performances to this day. We could be so outrageous on Top Of the Pops and other TV shows - sexily stroking pianos - wearing 'out of this world' diaphanous or sparkly outfits and flirting with the camera. With the current recession, things are tough for some people now and I can see why now they would be drawn back to the energy and colour of disco and pop.
Hey- one minute you're in fashion. Then you're out of fashion- and then you're back again! It's cyclical. Those who grew up at that time are rediscovering the fun tapestry of their life. The new, younger, fans have discovered all this energy and great music and will get a lot of ideas and inspiration- which they can take forward and modify.
I say to all the young people I work with: the future of music is in the past. The secrets to today lie there. All you have to do you have to do is bring it forward to today, add some fairy dust and make it your own.
The album 'Imagination - Flashback: the very Best of Imagination' is out now.
Leee John will be touring the UK & Ireland from Oct 20th
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