Interesting post, roytonboy.
I think I'm the right vintage for that "crossover" period (as I think I've said before I wasn't an Original: more an observer of Originals) but "Suedehead" is not a term I can remember being used round my way. We all knew it from the Richard Allen book - and the look on its cover was familiar to us in 71 - but it wasn't a term applied to anyone locally either as a matter of pride or as an insult.
By the time I really got into wearing what was fashionable (71), in my area we called ourselves - and were called - "smoothies" Your list of clothing worn by (i) skinheads & suedeheads and (ii) suedeheads rings true for what we were wearing in 71. I associate the term "smoothies" most clearly with Crombies, PoW check trousers, two-tone suits, red socks and heavy brogues. I suspect that the term, like the clothes, reached us later than some other places: the usual effect of regional variations. In any event it wasn't a term that lasted long; probably no more than six months I suppose.
Wow! To think we are from less than 10 miles apart as the stone flies and spent our Saturday afternoons at exactly the same place at the same time!!! (I'm presuming that you stood on the North Stand season 1971/72 - exactly the period we're talking about)
WHAT'S IN A NAME? - here's my take on it......
We first started hearing the word 'Suedehead' in the spring of 1971. At that time it merely referred to the length of someone's hair. "Is he a skinhead?", "Well, it's more suedehead now" meaning the individual had grown his hair a little. This is what it alluded to:
The first time I ever saw the following photo (About a dozen years ago) it was attached to an article about skinheads. I immediate thought "Yes. but actually he is a suedehead"
Needless to say, this was 30 years after the event with decades of hindsight.
At the same time we also used the word "Smoothie" or "Smoovie". (both were used) A smoothie was a lad with all the up to date skinhead styles whose hair was longer - usually collar length. The hair, however was styled, cut short at the front and top. It indicated a smooth dresser and had nothing to do with the style of shoes.I'm pretty sure we were using the term 'Smoothie' before the word 'suedehead'. Incidentally I put the popularity of "Saturday Night At The Movies" by the Drifters down to the fact that from early 1971, when it was played people (mostly the girls) would sing "Saturday night with the Smoovies" (Yes, a bit naff, I know.......)
As the year progressed the tag suedehead also included hair up to about this length and style:
In reality a number of people started to grow their hair as 1971 went by and by that summer it was possible to see gangs of lads with this style (a sort of college boy?), skinhead cops , crops just growing out and collar length hair. This was certainly the case in Royton at that time. So Skinheads, suedeheads and smoothies together, all wearing the same types of clothes, only the hair styles different. What happened was, during 1971 most people started to grow their hair and the true 'skinhead' look faded out - a crop was not a common sight by that autumn. It was not unusual for someone to have been a skinhead in January 1971, to be suedehead by that autumn and a smoothie by Christmas! To be honest, many kept their hair at about the length and style of the lads in the centre of this photo. Late summer/early autumn, first red socks then crombie overcoats started to be worn. They became VERY popular and indicated a slight change in style -"Suedehead". As Elwood has said the front cover of the book "Suedehead" was familiar to us all by this stage and the clothes worn pretty accurate - our hair, though, generally was a bit shorter at that time.
This is what I have always thought of as 'suedehead' During this period (Late 1971 - early 1972) my hair would have been like the lad with the scarf tucked in his jumper when just cut, obviously growing a bit longer until cut again about 4 weeks later. As the winter went on the style was worn a bit longer.
I have to say on reading some of your responses I have re-evaluated my thoughts on the subject. On reflection, I don't think I ever referred to myself as a Suedehead, though there is no doubt that I would have been recognised and described as such by my age group. I'm not sure either that girls were ever referred to as suedeheads or suedehead girls, though we would have recognised that definition.
The girl at the front certainly ticks that box (Preston - 1971)
Certainly girls were never referred to as smoothies by us.
Mr. Knightly - thanks in particular for your input on this one, those links were very informative. In terms of your difficulty in getting your head around the time/place continuum, I always think of it like this - if you throw a stone into a pond there is a big impact at that point and immediately around it then ripples widen out from it. it takes time for the ripples to reach the edge of the pond and as they do so they loose some of their impetus. By the time they have reached the edge, the point where the stone originally hit is probably calm again. Thus by the time of your photograph (which to me is post suedehead ) I was still out in a crombie, two-tone parallels and long wing brogues.
As we got into 1972 hair was getting longer and by that summer the whole thing was pretty much over as people started to wear penny round (beagle) collars, tank tops, stack heeled shoes, bags, glam rock inspired clothes (particularly Slade) - stuff all sorts of kids wore. In 1970 we all had pretty much the same hair style and were easily identifiable as skinheads by that and our clothes - this could not be said by mid '72 as all sorts of people wore all sorts of clothes.
Funny thing is 'Suedehead' should have been the pinnacle for me, I was 17, had the clothes, the whole look and could get out and about more than that 15 year old skinhead. Suedehead was a great look for school - you could wear the whole lot! There were certainly some advantages to this - for a start I appeared to be more attractive to a certain type of girl, "Get out with Barbara, you. You know she fancies you" and, from one of the West Indian girls I sat next to in one class, "Hey, Bryan, my sister got her eye on you, she tink you a reel tasty geeza" - these things never happened to me as a young skinhead! The truth was though, suedehead never quite had the edge to it that I had enjoyed as a skinhead. There was something about it, you felt part of something. By suedehead. I had realised it was all just an ever changing fashion.
Edited by roytonboy - 8/28/14 at 1:24am