I've been around a very long time, many people I work with don't get the references of Bananarama other than with phrases such as 'Oh yes my Mum loved them!'   But what this timescale has given me is great perspective on all things digital.  Prodo started around the same time as Google and as a result I've watched all the changes that they have instigated along the way.  

From the earliest days when SEO was all about smoke & mirrors and those who did it were seen as true technical wizards who had somehow found the backdoor to the Narnia or Oz or some such place.  

What has always been true and is still true today is that your websites authority is still measured by Google and that links are still part of the overall picture, many other elements make up the mix but your links still hold weight.

This article from Search Engine Land nicely explains this and talks about the two best techniques to build natural and authoritative links.