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Bands: Richard Hell - Clash - Cramps - New York Dolls - Ramones - Sex Pistols - Stooges

John Lydon
image sourced here.

Related musical genres: dance-punk - garage rock - grunge - industrial music - free jazz - Krautrock - music - new wave - no wave - proto punk - post punk - reggae (in its early UK days) - rock

Punk connoisseurs: Malcolm McLaren - Dick Hebdige - Paul Marko - Greil Marcus

Key text: Lipstick Traces (1989)

Women in punk: punk women

Punk graphic design: Jamie Reid

Punk in film: punk film

Related ideologies: anarchism - nihilism - Dada - Situationist International

New York Dolls, photo unidentified

Jamie Reid's 1977 appropriation/détournement of Cecil Beaton's portrait of the Queen's coronation, 1953

"Today, so many years later, the shock of punk is that every good record can still sound like the greatest thing you've ever heard.....because it can convince you that you never have to hear anything else as long as you live-each record seems to say everything there is to say." Greil Marcus 'Lipstick Traces' 1989


Punk rock (from 'punk', meaning rotten, worthless, or a prison slang term for a person who is sexualy submissive) was originally used to describe the primitive guitar based rock and roll of 1960s bands such as The Seeds, and later Detroit bands The Stooges and MC5. "Punk rock" now largely tends to mean the anti-establishment musical movement of the period 1976-80, exemplified by the Sex Pistols, The Damned, The Clash, The Ramones and their descendants. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Punk_rock

1971: US

Punk rock was originally coined in 1971 by Dave Marsh after witnessing a Question Mark and Mysterians gig. Punk entered the American mainstream in 1977, when both Time magazine and Newsweek offered punk their front page.

1977: UK

In the summer of 1977, Time and Newsweek informed their readers of a new subculture, called "punk," that had emerged at a few rock clubs in the United States and Britain. It was a style of exuberant ugliness. Men and women alike wore short hair that had been cut seemingly at random, and dyed unnatural colors. Flesh was pierced in sundry locations, at times with safety pins. Punk bands had names like the Dead Boys or The Clash. The music was very loud, very fast, and seldom involved more than three chords. Dancing was spasmodic. Spitting was common. -- Scott McLemee

Timeline of punk rock

This timeline starts in 1964 with the formation of the MC5 and ends in 2006. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_punk_rock [Mar 2006]

External links

  • http://www.bestweb.net/~rline/ - This celebrates the three schools of punk rock in New York City from the middle to late 1970's. THE NY MUSIC SCENE (1975-1978)
  • http://www.cbgb.com seminal club in New York where punk was born (which means not in England ;-))

    There were two clubs at the beginning, CBGB and MAX's Kansas City -- two stories unfolding across Manhattan's Lower East Side. Though most groups played both venues, at the outset there were CB's bands and Max's bands.

  • http://www.punk77.co.uk UK Punk History

    Punky Reggae Party (1977) - Bob Marley

    In search of the reggae-punk connection.

    Unidentified photograph of Don Letts

    Punky Reggae Party: New Wave Jamaica 1975-1980 (2002) - Various Artists [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

    "Punky Reggae Party" is a song by Bob Marley, recorded in 1977.

    The song was inspired by Don Letts' dub reggae DJ sets at the Roxy club in Covent Garden in the late 1970s in between sets by such bands as The Clash, Generation X and The Slits.

    "While in exile in London, Bob was introduced to punk bands, such as the Clash. Inspired by their efforts to expose various oppressive tactics used against racial minority groups, the fusion between punk and reggae was imminent. The result was the recording of 'Punky Reggae Party' with producer Lee Perry at the helm. A live version was recorded and released on Babylon By Bus." --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Punky_Reggae_Party [Mar 2006]

    Essentially a London thang reggae and punk were thrown together by being mutual outcasts, two fingers against authority and a sense of an established order breaking down. Both were rebels. In the DJ booth at the Roxy Don Letts played reggae and dub platters before punk records were avalaible. John Peel was as likely to follow records by the Cortinas and Clash with records by Misty In Roots and Augustus Pablo. The NME had its own Reggae page.

    1977 (When the two sevens clash.. Babylon ie England was to disintegrate) was to be an apocalyptic year in reggae terms.... and so it was in music fashion and society generally as white and black street culture found itself with the same aspirations for possibly the first and last time. Summing it all up tho was the distinctly infectious tunes of the suprise number One single at the end of 77 ,Althea & Donnas 'Uptown Ranking', which financed Lightning records punk excursions. [And of course there was Bob Marley's Punky Reggae Party] -- Paul Marko via http://www.punk77.co.uk/punkhistory/reggae.htm [2004]

    See also: 1977 - punk - reggae - party - Don Letts - Lee Perry - Bob Marley - Jah Wobble

    Sniffin' Glue (punk fanzine)

    The Punk explosion in the United Kingdom led to a massive upsurge of interest in fanzines as an alternative to the mainstream media that was felt to be too exploitative, capitalist, and essentially uninterested in the Punk Movement and the concerns of disaffected youth. The first and perhaps still best known UK 'punkzine' was Sniffin' Glue, produced by Deptford punk fan Mark Perry, which ran for 12 issues between 1976 to 1977. Other UK fanzines included Blam!, New Crimes, Vague fanzine, Juniper beri-beri and Coolnotes. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fanzine#Punk_fanzines [Nov 2005]

    Blank Generation (1977) - Richard Hell and the Voidoids

    In search of proto-punk

    Blank Generation (1977) Richard Hell and the Voidoids [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

    Blank Generation is an early punk album by Richard Hell and the Voidoids, released in 1977 on Warner Brothers' Sire Records imprint.

    The lyrics on this album, in keeping with the late 1970s punk style that Hell helped to create when he co-founded the band Television, are nihilistic and self-consciously degenerate, but they are also very strong poetically. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blank_Generation [Mar 2006]

    Richard Hell
    Richard Hell (born October 2, 1949) is the stage name of Richard Meyers, an American singer, songwriter and writer, probably best-known as frontman for the early punk band Richard Hell and the Voidoids. Their 1977 album, Blank Generation, contained many elements that would become identified with punk, from the nihilism of the title track (a play off of Rod McKuen's 1959 spoken-word song Beat Generation) to the frantic energy of the anti-romantic anthem, "Love Comes in Spurts". --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Hell [Mar 2006]

    See also: punk - CBGB's - hell - 1977 - generation - American music - nihilism

    Punk - Attitude (2005) - Don Letts

    In search of a punk documentary film.

    Punk - Attitude (2005) - Don Letts [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

    In 1976 a cultural melt down was occurring. From this emerged a new scene: PUNK ROCK. Controversial, colorful and chaotic, it was a slap in the face of the establishment and a cultural movement that is still ingrained in the public consciousness. This film identifies the roots of this movement that is still ingrained in the public consciousness. This film identifies the roots of this tradition from America to the U.K. and beyond showing that Punk was not just a musical movement but an attitude of mind that is not, in any way static. Featuring interviews with Henry Rolins (Black Flag), Brendan Mullen (The Masque club owner), Chryssie Hynde (The Pretenders), and more. And includes footage from revolutionary Punk bands New York Dolls, MC5, The Stooges, The Clash, Sex Pistols, Ramones and much more. Two-disc DVD features over 17 extras including a 30 minute LA punk scene featurette produced exclusively for the US DVD. Other extras include, Where are they Now and Punk Family Tree, California Screamin' "Behind the Masque" article, Henry Rollins interview, Dave Goodman feature, Fanzines, Fashion, Women in Punk, Record Companies, The Attitude/Spirit of Punk, The Influences/Origins of Punk, Punk on Culture and the Arts, UK versus US, Punk Evolution, The Gigs/Performance and The Punk Sound. --via Amazon.com

    See also: Don Letts - punk - documentary film

    Marquee Moon (1977) - Television

    Marquee Moon (1977) - Television [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

    A classic bit of punk rock from 1977, that classic year of punk. Whereas most of this New York City group's peers turned up the distortion, revved up the tempo, and stripped their songs down to tight three-chord anthems, Television did something startlingly different. Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd allowed themselves the space to develop clean, powerful, unexpected guitar leads. To top it off, Verlaine's songs were thought-provoking, memorable, danceable, and unlike anything else going. "Prove It" was the hit in England, but independent radio stations wore the grooves down on the title cut, "See No Evil," and the stunningly brilliant "Friction." --Percy Keegan for amazon.com

    Marquee Moon was Television's 1977 debut album.

    Television was one of the mainstay acts that emerged from the CBGB scene in New York City. This album features the elliptical lyrics of Tom Verlaine set against the sparse yet complex guitar work of Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd, and the rhythm section of Fred Smith (bass) and Billy Ficca (drums). The introspective mood of the album, and the careful, instrumental virtuosity of Verlaine and his band were arguably one of the first manifestations of the "post punk" movement. Despite critical acclaim, the album never achieved more than a cult following in the United States at the time of its release, but rose to #33 in Britain. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marquee_Moon [Jul 2005]

    see also: 1977 - punk - post punk - music

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