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Mod (originally modernist, sometimes capitalised) is a subculture that originated in London in the late 1950s and peaked in the early to mid 1960s. Significant elements of the mod lifestyle included music, such as African American soul, Jamaican ska, and British beat music and R&B; fashion (often tailor-made suits); dancing and motor scooters. Pete Meaden, a noted mod personality and early manager for The Who, called mod an aphorism for "clean living under difficult circumstances" .
From the mid to late 1960s onwards, the mass media often used the term mod in a wider sense to describe anything that was believed to be popular, fashionable or modern. There was a mod revival in the United Kingdom in the late 1970s, which was followed by a mod revival in North America in the early 1980s, particularly in Southern California. The 1990s Britpop genre also displayed notable mod influences.
Black American soldiers also brought over rhythm and blues records that were unavailable in Britain, and often sold these to young people in London. Many mods used motorscooters for transportation, usually either Vespa or Lambretta. At the time, public transport stopped relatively early, and scooters were cheaper than cars and were also available via a Hire purchase scheme. After a law was passed requiring at least one mirror be attached to every motorcycle, mods were known to add four, 10, or as many as 30 mirrors to their scooters. This may have been to mock the new law.The Who's album Quadrophenia, which includes themes related to mods and rockers, features cover art depicting a young man on a scooter with four mirrors attached. The television programme Ready Steady Go! helped to spread awareness of mod fashions and music to a larger audience.
The 1979 film Quadrophenia, based on the 1973 album of the same name by The Who, celebrated the mod movement. During this period, there was a mod revival in the UK. Many of the mod revival bands were influenced by the energy of British punk rock and New Wave music. The revival was led by The Jam, and included bands such as Secret Affair, Purple Hearts and The Chords. This was followed by a mod revival in North America in the early 1980s, particularly in Southern California, led by bands such as The Untouchables. The mod scene in Los Angeles and Orange County was partly influenced by the 2 Tone ska revival in England, and was unique in its racial diversity. The 1990s Britpop genre displayed mod influences on bands such as Oasis, Blur, Ocean Colour Scene.