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For the original 1960s genre known as "punk" or "punk rock", see. For the 2009 play by Simon Stephens, see.

Punk rock (or "punk") is a genre that developed in the mid-1970s in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia. Rooted in 1960s and other forms of what is now known as "" music, punk rock bands rejected perceived excesses of mainstream 1970s rock. Punk bands typically produced short or fast-paced songs, with hard-edged melodies and singing styles, stripped-down instrumentation, and often political, lyrics. Punk embraces a ; many bands self-produce recordings and distribute them through and other informal channels.

The term "punk rock" was first used by certain American in the early 1970s to describe 1960s garage bands and subsequent acts then perceived as stylistic inheritors. Between 1974 and 1976 the movement now bearing the name "punk rock" emerged. It produced a new generation of bands such as the,, in, the,, and, in the, and in —by late-1976 these acts were generally recognized as forming its vanguard. As 1977 approached, punk rock became a major and highly controversial cultural phenomenon in the United Kingdom. It spawned a expressing youthful rebellion characterized by distinctive (ranging from deliberately offensive T-shirts, leather jackets, studded or spiked bands and jewelry, as well as bondage and S&M clothes) and a variety of that have since been associated with the form.

In 1977 the influence of punk rock music and subculture became more pervasive, spreading throughout various countries worldwide. It generally took root in local scenes that tended to reject affiliation with the. In the late 1970s punk experienced its second wave in which acts that were not active during its formative years adopted the style. By the early 1980s, faster and more aggressive subgenres such as (e.g. ), (e.g. ), and (e.g. ) became the predominant modes of punk rock. Musicians identifying with or inspired by punk often later pursued other musical directions, resulting in a broad range of spinoffs, giving rise to genres such as, and later,, and. By the 1990s punk rock re-emerged in the mainstream, as bands such as and brought the genre widespread popularity.



See also: and


The first wave of punk rock was aggressively modern, distancing itself from the bombast and sentimentality of early 1970s rock. According to drummer, "In its initial form, a lot of [1960s] stuff was innovative and exciting. Unfortunately, what happens is that people who could not hold a candle to the likes of started noodling away. Soon you had punk rock fashion women 2018 endless that went nowhere. By 1973, I knew that what was needed was some pure, stripped down, no bullshit rock 'n' roll.", founding editor of magazine, recalls feeling "punk rock had to come along because the rock scene had become so tame that [acts] like and were being called rock and roll, when to me and other fans, rock and roll meant this wild and rebellious music." In critic 's description, "It was also a subculture that scornfully rejected the political idealism and Californian flower-power silliness of myth."

Technical accessibility and a (DIY) spirit are prized in punk rock. from 1972-1975 contributed to the emergence of punk rock by developing a network of small venues, such as pubs, where non-mainstream bands could play. Pub rock also introduced the idea of, such as, which put out basic, low-cost records. Pub rock bands organized their own small venue tours and put out small pressings of their records. In the early days of punk rock, this DIY ethic stood in marked contrast to what those in the scene regarded as the ostentatious musical effects and technological demands of many mainstream rock bands. Musical virtuosity was often looked on with suspicion. According to Holmstrom, punk rock was "rock and roll by people who didn't have very many skills as musicians but still felt the need to express themselves through music". In December 1976, the English Sideburns published a now-famous illustration of three chords, captioned "This is a chord, this is another, this is a third. Now form a band". The title of a 1980 single by the New York punk band Stimulators, "Loud Fast Rules!", inscribed a catchphrase for punk's basic musical approach.

Some of British punk rock's leading figures made a show of rejecting not only contemporary mainstream rock and the broader culture it was associated with, but their own most celebrated music predecessors: "No, or in 1977", declared song "1977". The previous year, when the punk rock revolution began in Great Britain, was to be both a musical and a cultural "Year Zero". Even as nostalgia was discarded, many in the scene adopted a attitude summed up by the slogan "No Future"; in the later words of one observer, amid the unemployment and social unrest in 1977, "punk's nihilistic swagger was the most thrilling thing in England." While "self-imposed " was common among "drunk punks" and "gutter punks", there was always a tension between their nihilistic outlook and the "radical leftist utopianism" of bands such as, who found positive, liberating meaning in the movement. As a Clash associate describes singer 's outlook, "Punk rock is meant to be our freedom. We're meant to be able to do what we want to do."

The issue of is important in the punk subculture—the pejorative term "" is applied to those who associate with punk and adopt its stylistic attributes but are deemed not to share or understand the underlying values and philosophy. Scholar Daniel S. Traber argues that "attaining authenticity in the punk identity can be difficult"; as the punk scene matured, he observes, eventually "everyone got called a poseur".

Musical and lyrical elements[]

Members of rock band The Sex Pistols onstage in a concert. From left to right, singer Johnny Rotten and electric guitarist Steve Jones.

Punk rock bands often emulate the bare musical structures and arrangements of 1960s. Typical punk rock instrumentation includes one or two electric guitars, an electric bass, and a drum kit, along with vocals. Songs tend to be shorter than those of other popular genres. Punk songs were played at fast, "breakneck" tempos, an approach influenced by. Most early punk rock songs retained a traditional rock 'n' roll and 4/4. However, later bands have often broken from this format. In critic 's description, "The Sex Pistols were still rock'n'roll... like the craziest version of. was a radical departure from that. It wasn't verse-chorus rock. It dispelled any notion of what songwriting is supposed to be. It's its own form."

Punk rock vocals sometimes sound nasal, and lyrics are often shouted instead of sung in a conventional sense, particularly in hardcore styles. Shifts in pitch, volume, or intonational style are relatively infrequent.Punk rock's "hoarse, rasping" vocals and chanting were a sharp contrast to the "melodic and sleeker" singing in mainstream rock. Early punk vocals had an "arrogant snarl". Complicated are considered self-indulgent and unnecessary, although basic guitar breaks are common. Guitar parts tend to include highly or, creating a characteristic sound described by Christgau as a "buzzsaw drone". Some punk rock bands take a approach with a lighter, twangier guitar tone. Others, such as Robert Quine, lead guitarist of, have employed a wild, "" attack, a style that stretches back through to the 1950s' recordings of. Bass guitar lines are often uncomplicated; the quintessential approach is a relentless, repetitive "forced rhythm", although some punk rock bass players—such as of and —emphasize more technical bass lines. Bassists often use a due to the rapid succession of notes, which makes impractical. Drums typically sound heavy and dry, and often have a minimal set-up. Compared to other forms of rock, is much less the rule. Hardcore drumming tends to be especially fast. Production tends to be minimalistic, with tracks sometimes laid down on home tape recorders or simple four-track portastudios. The typical objective is to have the recording sound unmanipulated and real, reflecting the commitment and authenticity of a live performance.

The rock band The Clash performing onstage. Three members are shown. All three have short hair. Two of the members are playing electric guitars.

Punk rock lyrics are typically frank and confrontational; compared to the lyrics of other popular music genres, they frequently comment on social and political issues. Trend-setting songs such as the Clash's "" and 's "Right to Work" deal with unemployment and the grim realities of urban life. Especially in early British punk, a central goal was to outrage and shock the mainstream. The Sex Pistols' "" and "" openly disparaged the British political system and social mores. Anti-sentimental depictions of relationships and sex are common, as in "Love Comes in Spurts", written by and recorded by him with the Voidoids., variously expressed in the poetic terms of Hell's "" and the bluntness of the Ramones' "Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue", is a common theme. Identifying punk with such topics aligns with the view expressed by, founder of San Francisco fanzine : "Punk was a total cultural revolt. It was a hardcore confrontation with the black side of history and culture, right-wing imagery, sexual taboos, a delving into it that had never been done before by any generation in such a thorough way". The controversial content of punk lyrics led to some punk records being banned by radio stations and refused shelf space in major chain stores.

Visual and other elements[]

Further information:

The classic punk rock look among male American musicians harkens back to the T-shirt, motorcycle jacket, and jeans ensemble favored by American of the 1950s associated with the scene and by British of the 1960s. Richard Hell's more androgynous, ragamuffin look—and reputed invention of the —was a major influence on Sex Pistols impresario and, in turn, British punk style. ( of Cleveland's may have been the first rock musician to wear a safety-pin-covered jacket.) McLaren's partner, fashion designer, credits Johnny Rotten as the first British punk to rip his shirt, and Sex Pistols bassist as the first to use safety pins, although few of those following punk could afford to buy McLaren and Westwood's designs so famously worn by the Pistols, so they made their own, diversifying the 'look' with various different styles based on these designs. Young women in punk demolished the typical female types in rock of either "coy sex kittens or wronged blues belters" in their fashion. Early female punk musicians displayed styles ranging from 's bondage gear to Patti Smith's "straight-from-the-gutter androgyny". The former proved much more influential on female fan styles. Over time, tattoos,, and metal-studded and -spiked accessories became increasingly common elements of among both musicians and fans, a "style of adornment calculated to disturb and outrage". Among the other facets of the punk rock scene, a punk's hair is an important way of showing their freedom of expression. The typical male punk haircut was originally short and choppy; the later emerged as a characteristic style. Along with the mohawk, long spikes have been associated with the punk rock genre.

Two young men dressed in black trenchcoats are shown in a subway car. The man on the left has bright red dyed hair. The man on the right also has bright red dyed hair, but his hair is in long pointed spikes. British punks, c. 1986

The characteristic stage performance style of male punk musicians does not deviate significantly from the macho postures classically associated with rock music. Female punk musicians broke more clearly from earlier styles. Scholar John Strohm suggests that they did so by creating personas of a type conventionally seen as masculine: "They adopted a tough, unladylike pose that borrowed more from the macho swagger of sixties garage bands than from the calculated bad-girl image of bands like." Scholar Dave Laing describes how bassist adopted fashion elements associated with male musicians only to generate a stage persona readily consumed as "sexy". Laing focuses on more innovative and challenging performance styles, seen in the various erotically destabilizing approaches of Siouxsie Sioux, ', and '.

The lack of emphatic syncopation led punk dance to "deviant" forms. The characteristic style was originally the. Sid Vicious, before he became the Sex Pistols' bassist, is credited with initiating the pogo in Britain as an attendee at one of their concerts. (slamdancing) is typical at hardcore shows. The lack of conventional dance rhythms was a central factor in limiting punk's mainstream commercial impact.

Breaking down the distance between performer and audience is central to the punk ethic. Fan participation at concerts is thus important; during the movement's first heyday, it was often provoked in an adversarial manner—apparently perverse, but appropriately "punk". First-wave British punk bands such as the Sex Pistols and insulted and otherwise goaded the audience into intense reactions. Laing has identified three primary forms of audience physical response to goading: can throwing, stage invasion, and spitting or "gobbing". In the hardcore realm, stage invasion is often a prelude to. In addition to the numerous fans who have started or joined punk bands, audience members also become important participants via the scene's many amateur-written and informally distributed periodicals—in England, according to Laing, punk "was the first musical genre to spawn in any significant numbers".


Garage and beat phenomenon[]

See also:,,, and

According to one theory, punk rock all goes back to 's "." Just consider Valens's three-chord mariachi squawkup in the light of "Louie Louie" by the Kingsmen, then consider "Louie Louie" in the light of "" by the Kinks, then "You Really Got Me" in the light of "" by the Stooges, then "No Fun" in the light of "" by the Ramones, and finally note that "Blikskrieg Bop" sounds a lot like "La Bamba."

—, 1980

In the early to mid-1960s, garage rock bands, often recognized as punk rock's progenitors, began springing up around North America. had a hit with their 1963 version of 's "", which has been mentioned as punk rock's defining "". After the Beatles' first appearance on the, success of the, the garage phenomenon gathered momentum around the US. By 1965, the harder-edged sound of British acts, such as,, and, became increasingly influential with American garage bands. The raw sound of US groups, such as,,,, and predicted the style of later acts. In the early 1970s certain rock used the term "punk rock" to refer to mid-1960s garage bands and subsequent acts perceived to be in their stylistic tradition, such as the Stooges.

The rock band The Kinks in a TV show performance. From left to right are a singer/electric guitarist, a drummer behind a small drumkit, and two guitarists. onstage during a Dutch TV appearance in April 1967

From England in 1964, largely under the grip of the youth movement and beat group explosion, came the Kinks' hit singles, "" and "," both influenced by "Louie, Louie". In 1965, released the mod anthem, "", which according to John Reed, anticipated the kind of "cerebral mix of musical ferocity and rebellious posture" that would characterize much of the later British punk rock of the 1970s. The garage and beat phenomenon extended beyond North America and Britain. "Wild About You" (1965) by Australia's, was covered a decade later by Australia's. In 1965 Peru's recorded "Demolicion", a prominent example of prototypical punk.

Post-psychedelic proto-punk[]

See also:

A rock band is onstage. A drumkit is on the left. A singer, Iggy Pop, sings into a microphone. He is wearing jeans and has no shirt on., the "godfather of punk" Members of the band The Velvet Underground.

In August 1969,, from, premiered with a. According to critic, the band, led by singer, created "the sound of 's —after thieves stripped it for parts". The album was produced by, a former member of New York's experimental rock group. Having earned a reputation as one of the first underground rock bands, the Velvet Underground inspired, directly or indirectly, many of those involved in the creation of punk rock. In the early 1970s, the updated the original wildness of 1950s' rock 'n' roll in a fashion that later became known as. The New York duo played spare, experimental music with a confrontational stage act inspired by that of the Stooges. At the Coventry club in the New York City borough of, used rock as a vehicle for wise-ass attitude and humor. In Boston,, led by Velvet Underground devotee, gained attention with a minimalistic style. In 1974, an updated garage rock scene began to coalesce around the newly opened club in. Among the leading acts were, founded by former Modern Lover ;, whose frontman had been a member of the Velvet Underground for a few months in 1971; and Mickey Clean and the Mezz. In 1974, as well, the Detroit band —made up of three African-American brothers—recorded "scorching blasts of feral ur-punk," but couldn't arrange a release deal. In Ohio, a small but influential underground rock scene emerged, led by in and and by Cleveland's, Mirrors and. In 1975, Rocket from the Tombs split into and. The Electric Eels and Mirrors both broke up, and emerged from the fallout.

Britain's, in the late 1960s, played in a range of psychedelic styles with a satiric, anarchic edge and a penchant for -style spectacle presaging the Sex Pistols by almost a decade. In 1970, the act evolved into the, which carried on in a similar vein. With his persona, made artifice and exaggeration central—elements, again, that were picked up by the Sex Pistols and certain other punk acts. The built on Bowie's presentation concepts, while moving musically in the direction that would become identified with punk. Bands in London's scene stripped the music back to its basics, playing hard, R&B-influenced rock 'n' roll. By 1974, the scene's top act,, was paving the way for others such as and that would play a role in the punk explosion. The pub rock scene created small venues where non-mainstream bands could play and they released low-cost recordings on. Among the pub rock bands that formed that year was, whose lead singer would soon adopt the name, a performer who has been called the link between pub rock and punk rock. Despite the presence of some shared approaches and values between the two genres, they had an important difference; while pub rock aimed to continue the tradition of earlier rock'n'roll bands, punk rock aimed to break with tradition.

Bands anticipating the forthcoming movement were appearing as far afield as, West Germany, where "punk before punk" band formed in 1971, building on the tradition of groups such as. In Japan, the anti-establishment Zunō Keisatsu (Brain Police) mixed and. The combo regularly faced censorship challenges, their live act at least once including onstage masturbation. A new generation of Australian garage rock bands, inspired mainly by the Stooges and MC5, was coming even closer to the sound that would soon be called "punk": In, also recalled the raw live sound of the British, who had made a notorious tour of Australia and New Zealand in 1975.

Etymology and classification[]

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Between the late 16th and the 18th centuries, was a common, coarse synonym for prostitute; William Shakespeare used it with that meaning in (1602) and (1603-4, published 1623 in First Folio). The term eventually came to describe "a young male hustler, a gangster, a hoodlum, or a ruffian". As explains, "On TV, if you watched cop shows,,, when the cops finally catch the mass murderer, they'd say, 'you dirty Punk.' It was what your teachers would call you. It meant that you were the lowest."

The first known use of the phrase punk rock appeared in the on March 22, 1970, attributed to, cofounder of New York's anarcho-prankster band. Sanders was quoted describing a solo album of his as "punk rock—redneck sentimentality". In the December 1970 issue of, Lester Bangs, mocking more mainstream rock musicians, ironically referred to Iggy Pop as "that Stooge punk". Suicide's credits this usage with inspiring his duo to bill its gigs as a "punk mass" for the next couple of years.

A female singer, Patti Smith, singing into a microphone at onstage performance. She holds the microphone with one hand; the other is raised up and in a closed hand.

was the first music critic to employ the term punk rock: In the April 1971 issue of, he refers to a track by as "good, not too imaginative, punk rock and roll". used the term punk rock in the May 1971 issue of, where he described, one of the most popular 1960s garage rock acts, as giving a "landmark exposition of punk rock". Later in 1971, in his fanzine, wrote about "what I have chosen to call "punkrock" bands—white teenage hard rock of '64–66 (, Kingsmen,, etc.)". used the term "punk rock" in several articles written in the early 1970s to refer to mid-1960s garage acts. In his June 1971 piece in Creem, "Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung," he wrote, "then punk bands started cropping up who were writing their own songs but taking the Yardbirds' sound and reducing it to this kind of goony fuzztone clatter.... oh, it was beautiful, it was pure folklore, Old America, and sometimes I think those were the best days ever."

By December 1972, the term was in circulation to the extent that 's, contrasting her own tastes with those of Flash and fellow critic, wrote, "Punk-rock has become the favored term of endearment." In the liner notes of the 1972 anthology LP,, musician and rock journalist, later a member of the Patti Smith Group, used variations of the term in two places: "punk rock," in the essay liner notes, to describe the genre of 1960s garage bands, and "classic garage-punk," in the track-by-track notes, to describe a song recorded in 1966 by the Shadows of Knight. In May 1973, Billy Altman launched the short-lived punk magazine, which pre-dated the better-known 1975 publication of the same name, but, unlike the later magazine, was largely devoted to discussion of 1960s garage and psychedelic acts.

In May 1974, Los Angeles Times critic reviewed the second New York Dolls album,. "I told ya the New York Dolls were the real thing," he wrote, describing the album as "perhaps the best example of raw, thumb-your-nose-at-the-world, punk rock since '." Bassist Jeff Jensen of Boston's reports of a show that year, "A reviewer for one of the free entertainment magazines of the time caught the act and gave us a great review, calling us a 'punk band.' ... [W]e all sort of looked at each other and said, 'What's punk?'" In a 1974 interview for his fanzine Heavy Metal Digest told "You went on record as saying you never were a punk" and Iggy replied "...well I ain't. I never was a punk."

By 1975, punk was being used to describe acts as diverse as the, the, and. As the scene at New York's club attracted notice, a name was sought for the developing sound. Club owner called the movement "street rock"; John Holmstrom credits magazine with using punk "to describe what was going on at CBGBs". Holmstrom, McNeil, and Ged Dunn's magazine, which debuted at the end of 1975, was crucial in codifying the term. "It was pretty obvious that the word was getting very popular", Holmstrom later remarked. "We figured we'd take the name before anyone else claimed it. We wanted to get rid of the bullshit, strip it down to rock 'n' roll. We wanted the fun and liveliness back."

1974–1976: Early history[]

North America[]

New York City[]

The original anthem of the punk scene, performed live by in 1974 or 1975, with on lead vocals. The verse, described by as defying melody, yields to the chorus, "set to a descending pattern reminiscent of 's "".'s virtuosic guitar style would lead the band away from what became the typical punk approach.

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The origins of New York's punk rock scene can be traced back to such sources as late 1960s and an early 1970s movement centered on the in, where the performed. In early 1974, a new scene began to develop around the club, also in. At its core was, described by critic John Walker as "the ultimate garage band with pretensions". Their influences ranged from the Velvet Underground to the staccato guitar work of 's. The band's bassist/singer,, created a look with cropped, ragged hair, ripped T-shirts, and black leather jackets credited as the basis for punk rock visual style. In April 1974,, a member of the Mercer Arts Center crowd and a friend of Hell's, came to CBGB for the first time to see the band perform. A veteran of independent theater and performance poetry, Smith was developing an intellectual, feminist take on rock 'n' roll. On June 5, she recorded the single ""/"", featuring Television guitarist ; released on her own Mer Records label, it heralded the scene's (DIY) ethic and has often been cited as the first punk rock record. By August, Smith and Television were gigging together at another downtown New York club,.

The front of the music club CBGB is shown. An awning has the letters CBGB painted on it. Below the name are the letters "OMFUG". Facade of legendary music club, New York

Out in, several miles from lower Manhattan, the members of a newly formed band adopted a common surname. Drawing on sources ranging from the Stooges to and to and 1960s, the condensed rock 'n' roll to its primal level: "'1-2-3-4!' bass-player shouted at the start of every song, as if the group could barely master the rudiments of rhythm." The band played its first show at CBGB on August 16, 1974, on the same bill as another new act, Angel and the Snake, soon to be renamed. By the end of the year, the Ramones had performed seventy-four shows, each about seventeen minutes long. "When I first saw the Ramones", critic later remembered, "I couldn't believe people were doing this. The dumb brattiness.", with a similar "playing dumb" concept, were recording their debut album. The Dictators' came out in March 1975, mixing absurdist originals such as "Master Race Rock" and loud, straight-faced covers of cheese pop like 's "".

That spring, Smith and Television shared a two-month-long weekend residency at CBGB that significantly raised the club's profile. The Television sets included Richard Hell's "Blank Generation", which became the scene's emblematic anthem. Soon after, Hell left Television and founded a band featuring a more stripped-down sound,, with former New York Dolls and. The pairing of Hell and Thunders, in one critical assessment, "inject[ed] a poetic intelligence into mindless self-destruction". A July festival at CBGB featuring over thirty new groups brought the scene its first substantial media coverage. In August, Television—with Fred Smith, former Blondie bassist, replacing Hell—recorded a single, "Little Johnny Jewel", for the tiny Ork label. In the words of John Walker, the record was "a turning point for the whole New York scene" if not quite for the punk rock sound itself—Hell's departure had left the band "significantly reduced in fringe aggression".

The chorus of the ' first single "is a primer on the punk take on rock rhythm...everyone pumps out the rock rhythmic layer—on a drum, on a single note, on a single chord", according to scholar Michael Campbell. "This is as pure, and as energetic, as rock rhythm gets."

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Other bands were becoming regulars at CBGB, such as and, which moved down from Rhode Island, as well as 's. More closely associated with Max's Kansas City were Suicide and the band led by, another Mercer Arts Center alumna. The first album to come out of this downtown scene was released in November 1975: Smith's debut,, produced by John Cale for the major label. The inaugural issue of Punk appeared in December. The new magazine tied together earlier artists such as Velvet Underground lead singer, the Stooges, and the New York Dolls with the editors' favorite band, the Dictators, and the array of new acts centered on CBGB and Max's. That winter, Pere Ubu came in from Cleveland and played at both spots.

Early in 1976, Hell left the Heartbreakers; he soon formed a new group that would become known as, "one of the most harshly uncompromising bands" on the scene. That April, the Ramones' debut album was released by ; the first single was "", opening with the rally cry "Hey! Ho! Let's go!" According to a later description, "Like all cultural watersheds, was embraced by a discerning few and slagged off as a bad joke by the uncomprehending majority." At the instigation of Ramones lead singer, the members of Cleveland's Frankenstein moved east to join the New York scene. Reconstituted as, they played their first CBGB gig in late July. In August, Ork put out an recorded by Hell with his new band that included the first released version of "Blank Generation".

Other New York venues apart from CBGB included the Lismar Lounge (41 First Avenue) and Aztec Lounge (9th Street).

At this early stage, the term punk applied to the scene in general, not necessarily a particular stylistic approach as it would later—the early New York punk bands represented a broad variety of influences. Among them, the Ramones, the Heartbreakers, Richard Hell and the Voidoids, and the Dead Boys were establishing a distinct musical style. Even where they diverged most clearly, in lyrical approach—the Ramones' apparent guilelessness at one extreme, Hell's conscious craft at the other—there was an abrasive attitude in common. Their shared attributes of minimalism and speed, however, had not yet come to define punk rock.

Other U.S. cities[]

With what music historian described as the "most brutal guitar sound this side of ", self-released the first single by a West Coast punk band, two songs (the B-side was "Baby, You're So Repulsive") in a style likened to "revved up, distorted ".

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gave birth to avant garde, glam-punk bands Victoria Vein and the Thunderpunks in 1974 and Debris' in 1975 whose self-released underground classic Static Disposal was released in 1976. The album has been touted as an inspiration by numerous bands including,, and. In 1975, formed in Minneapolis. They were one of the first U.S. bands outside of New York to play in the Ramones-style harder-louder-faster mode that would define punk rock. Detroit's Death self-released one of their 1974 recordings, "Politicians in My Eyes", in 1976. As the punk movement expanded rapidly in the United Kingdom that year, a few bands with similar tastes and attitude appeared around the United States. The first West Coast punk scenes emerged in San Francisco, with the bands and, and Seattle, where the Telepaths, Meyce, and played a groundbreaking show on May 1.Rock critic cofounded (short for "vomit") in Los Angeles. Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, performer formed the punk music group the in 1977. Alice influenced the Hollywood punk scene by incorporating Mexican and Chicano musical culture into her music through canción ranchera—which translates to "country song" and is associated with mariachi ensembles—as well as estilo bravío, a wild style of performance often seen in punk. In Washington, D.C., raucous roots-rockers the Razz helped along a nascent punk scene featuring Overkill,, and the Look. Around the turn of the year, White Boy began giving notoriously crazed performances. In Boston, the scene at the Rathskeller—affectionately known as the Rat—was also turning toward punk, though the defining sound retained a distinct orientation. Among the city's first new acts to be identified with punk rock was. In Bloomington, Indiana, played in a jokey, raunchy, Dictators-inspired style later referred to as "frat punk".

Like their garage rock predecessors, these local scenes were facilitated by enthusiastic impresarios who operated nightclubs or organized concerts in venues such as schools, garages, or warehouses, advertised via inexpensively printed flyers and fanzines. In some cases, punk's do it yourself ethic reflected an aversion to commercial success, as well as a desire to maintain creative and financial autonomy. As Joe Harvard, a participant in the Boston scene, describes, it was often a simple necessity—the absence of a local recording industry and well-distributed music magazines left little recourse but DIY.


magazine in Britain found "" "so bloody incredible" it provided readers the Australian address from which they could mail order it.'s "sheet-metal guitar sets the breakneck tempo", while lead singer "howl[s] into the gale." Its DIY sound was later described as "crud-encrusted", praise in the punk milieu.

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At the same time, a similar music-based subculture was beginning to take shape in various parts of Australia. A scene was developing around and its main performance venue, the Oxford Tavern (later the Oxford Funhouse), located in Sydney's suburb. In December 1975, the group won the RAM (Rock Australia Magazine)/Levi's Punk Band Thriller competition. By 1976, were hiring Brisbane to use as venues, or playing in "Club 76", their shared house in the inner suburb of. The band soon discovered that musicians were exploring similar paths in other parts of the world., co-founder of the Saints, later recalled:

One thing I remember having had a really depressing effect on me was the first Ramones album. When I heard it [in 1976], I mean it was a great record ... but I hated it because I knew we'd been doing this sort of stuff for years. There was even a on that album that we used ... and I thought, "Fuck. We're going to be labeled as influenced by the Ramones", when nothing could have been further from the truth.

On the other side of Australia, in, germinal punk rock act the, featuring singer-guitarist, formed in August. In September 1976, the Saints became the first punk rock band outside the U.S. to release a recording, the single "". As with Patti Smith's debut, the band self-financed, packaged, and distributed the single. "(I'm) Stranded" had limited impact at home, but the British music press recognized it as a groundbreaking record. At the insistence of their superiors in the UK, Australia signed the Saints. Meanwhile, Radio Birdman came out with a self-financed EP,, in October. critic Ian McCaleb later described the record as the "archetype for the musical explosion that was about to occur".

United Kingdom[]

By 1975 the movement was already well established in London and had been growing for a number of years. Inspired by music from, and early, the Flowers of Romance at one point included, and who later joined. Following a brief period unofficially managing the New York Dolls, Briton returned to London in May 1975, inspired by the new scene he had witnessed at CBGB. The clothing store he co-owned, recently renamed, was building a reputation with its outrageous "anti-fashion". Among those who frequented the shop were members of a band called the Strand, which McLaren had also been managing. In August, the group was seeking a new lead singer. Another Sex habitué,, auditioned for and won the job. Adopting a new name, the group played its first gig as the on November 6, 1975, at and soon attracted a small but ardent following. In February 1976, the band received its first significant press coverage; guitarist declared that the Sex Pistols were not so much into music as they were "chaos". The band often provoked its crowds into near-riots. Rotten announced to one audience, "Bet you don't hate us as much as we hate you!" McLaren envisioned the Sex Pistols as central players in a new youth movement, "hard and tough". As described by critic, the band members "embodied an attitude into which McLaren fed a new set of references: late-sixties radical politics, sexual fetish material, pop history,...youth sociology".

, a sometime associate of McLaren and friend of the Sex Pistols, was similarly aiming to make stars of the band. Early in 1976, London SS broke up before ever performing publicly, spinning off two new bands: and, which was joined by, former lead singer of the 101'ers. On June 4, 1976, the Sex Pistols played Manchester's in what came to be regarded as one of the most influential rock shows ever. Among the approximately forty audience members were the two locals who organised the gig—they had formed after seeing the Sex Pistols in February. Others in the small crowd went on to form,, and—in the 1980s—.

In July, the Ramones crossed the Atlantic for two London shows that helped spark the nascent UK punk scene and affected its musical style—"instantly nearly every band speeded up". On July 4, they played with the and before a crowd of 2,000 at the. That same night, the Clash debuted, opening for the Sex Pistols in. On July 5, members of both bands attended a Ramones gig at club. The following night, performed their first show, as the Sex Pistols opening act in London. In critic 's description, the Sex Pistols purveyed a "calculated, arty, [while] the Clash were unabashed idealists, proponents of a radical left-wing social critique of a sort that reached back at least to ... in the 1940s". The Damned built a reputation as "punk's party boys". This London scene's first appeared a week later. Its title,, derived from a Ramones song. Its subtitle affirmed the connection with what was happening in New York: "+ Other Rock 'n' Roll Habits for Punks!"

Another Sex Pistols gig in Manchester on July 20, with a reorganized version of Buzzcocks debuting in support, gave further impetus to the scene there. In August, the self-described "First European Punk Rock Festival" was held in in the southwest of France., a London pub rock group, headlined. The Sex Pistols, originally scheduled to play, were dropped by the organizers who said the band had gone "too far" in demanding top billing and certain amenities; the Clash backed out in solidarity. The only band from the new punk movement to appear was the Damned.

Over the next several months, many new punk rock bands formed, often directly inspired by the Sex Pistols. In London, women were near the center of the scene—among the initial wave of bands were the female-fronted and and the all-female. There were female bassists in and in. Other groups included,,,,,, the aptly named, and, which soon spun off. Farther afield, began practicing in the southeastern town of. In, there was, with lead singer. On September 20–21, the in London featured the four primary British groups (London's big three and Buzzcocks), as well as Paris's female-fronted, arguably the first punk rock band from a non- country. Siouxsie and the Banshees and Subway Sect debuted on the festival's first night; that same evening, Eater debuted in Manchester. On the festival's second night, audience member was arrested, charged with throwing a glass at the Damned that shattered and destroyed a girl's eye. Press coverage of the incident fueled punk's reputation as a social menace.

A poster for the rock band The Sex Pistols. The poster depicts the Union Jack flag with rips and safety pins through it.

Some new bands, such as London's, Edinburgh's, and 's, identified with the scene even as they pursued more experimental music. Others of a comparatively traditional rock 'n' roll bent were also swept up by the movement:, formed as a pub rock–style act in February 1976, soon adopted a punk look and sound. A few even longer-active bands including neo-mods and pub rockers and also became associated with the punk rock scene. Alongside the musical roots shared with their American counterparts and the calculated confrontationalism of the early, the British punks also reflected the influence of and related bands such as,, and. One of the groups openly acknowledging that influence were, from in Northern Ireland.

In October, the Damned became the first UK punk rock band to release a single, the romance-themed "". The Vibrators followed the next month with "We Vibrate" and, backing long-time rocker, "Pogo Dancing". The latter was hardly a punk song by any stretch, but it was perhaps the first song about punk rock. On November 26, the Sex Pistols' "" came out—with its debut single the band succeeded in its goal of becoming a "national scandal".'s "anarchy flag" poster and his other design work for the Sex Pistols helped establish a distinctive. On December 1, an incident took place that sealed punk rock's notorious reputation: On Thames Today, an early evening London TV show, Sex Pistols guitarist Steve Jones was challenged by the host,, to "say something outrageous". Jones called Grundy a "dirty fucker" on live television, triggering a media controversy. Two days later, the Sex Pistols, the Clash, the Damned, and the Heartbreakers set out on the Anarchy Tour, a series of gigs throughout the UK. Many of the shows were cancelled by venue owners in response to the media outrage following the Grundy interview.

1977–1978: Second wave[]

By 1977, a second wave of the punk rock movement was breaking in the three countries where it had emerged, as well as in many other places. Bands from the same scenes often sounded very different from each other, reflecting the eclectic state of punk music during the era. While punk rock remained largely an underground phenomenon in North America, Australia, and the new spots where it was emerging, in the UK it briefly became a major sensation.

North America[]

As inchoate as its name suggests, ' "" was the first record and pointed directly toward the sound that would soon emerge. The teenagers' performance has been described both as a signal example of punk incompetence and as "bringing monotony to new heights".

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The was in full swing by early 1977. In Los Angeles, there were:,,,,,,,,, and the relocated Tupperwares, now dubbed. San Francisco's second wave included,,,, and the Sleepers., from, moved between the two major cities. The formed in Portland, Oregon. In Seattle, there was the Lewd. Often sharing gigs with the Seattle punks were bands from across the Canada–US border. A major scene developed in Vancouver, spearheaded by the Furies and Victoria's all-female Dee Dee and the Dishrags. spun off into and. The K-Tels (later known as the ) and were among the area's other leading punk acts.

In eastern Canada, the Toronto protopunk band Dishes had laid the groundwork for another sizable scene, and a September 1976 concert by the touring Ramones had catalyzed the movement. Early Ontario punk bands included,,,,,, the Poles, and the Ugly. Along with the Dishrags, Toronto's the Curse and B Girls were North America's first all-female punk acts. In July 1977, the Viletones, Diodes, Curse, and Teenage Head headed down to New York City to play "Canada night" at CBGB.

By mid-1977 in downtown New York, punk rock was already ceding its cutting-edge status to the anarchic sound of and, spearheads of what became known as, although several original punk bands continued to perform and new ones emerged on the scene., whose core members were from by way of Akron, had debuted at CBGB in November 1976, opening for the Dead Boys. They were soon playing regularly at Max's Kansas City. The formed in nearby New Jersey. Still developing what would become their signature –inspired style, later dubbed, they made their first appearance at CBGB in April 1977.

The rock band The Misfits performing onstage. The band's name in large lettering is printed on a fabric panel behind the performers along with a skull image. From left to right are the electric bassist, drummer, and electric guitarist. The Misfits developed a "" style in New Jersey.

, the Ramones' second album, had come out in January. The Dead Boys' debut LP,, was released at the end of August. October saw two more debut albums from the scene: Richard Hell and the Voidoids' first full-length,, and the Heartbreakers' One track on the latter exemplified both the scene's close-knit character and the popularity of heroin within it: ""—the title refers to a strong form of the drug—was written by Dee Dee Ramone and Hell, both users, as were the Heartbreakers' Thunders and Nolan. (During the Heartbreakers' 1976 and 1977 tours of Britain, Thunders played a central role in popularizing heroin among the punk crowd there, as well.) The Ramones' third album,, appeared in November 1977.

The Ohio protopunk bands were joined by Cleveland's, Akron's Bizarros and, and Kent's. Bloomington, Indiana, had and Detroit had. came together in the Twin Cities scene sparked by the Suicide Commandos. formed in Arizona. Atlanta had the Fans. In North Carolina, there was Chapel Hill's H-Bombs and Raleigh's Th' Cigaretz. The Chicago scene began not with a band but with a group of DJs transforming a gay bar, La Mere Vipere, into what became known as America's first punk dance club. The Crucified, Tutu and the Pirates and Silver Abuse were among the city's first punk bands. In Boston, the scene at the Rat was joined by the, Thrills, and. In Washington, D.C., the Controls played their first gig in spring 1977, but the city's second wave really broke the following year with acts such as the,, D'Chumps, Rudements and Shirkers. By early 1978, the D.C. jazz-fusion group Mind Power had transformed into, one of the first bands to be identified with.

United Kingdom[]

The ' live TV skirmish with on December 1, 1976 was the signal moment in 's transformation into a major media phenomenon, even as some stores refused to stock the records and radio airplay was hard to come by. Press coverage of punk misbehavior grew intense: On January 4, 1977, of London ran a front-page story on how the Sex Pistols "vomited and spat their way to an Amsterdam flight". In February 1977, the first album by a British punk band appeared: (by the Damned) reached number thirty-six on the UK chart. The EP, self-released by Manchester's, was a benchmark for both the DIY ethic and regionalism in the country's punk movement.'s came out two months later and rose to number twelve; the single "" entered the top forty. In May, the Sex Pistols achieved new heights of controversy (and number two on the singles chart) with "". The band had recently acquired a new bassist,, who was seen as exemplifying the punk persona. The swearing during the Grundy interview and the controversy over "God Save the Queen" led to a.

Scores of new punk groups formed around the United Kingdom, as far from London as 's and, Scotland's. Though most survived only briefly, perhaps recording a small-label single or two, others set off new trends., from, merged a vehement, straight-ahead punk rock style with a committed anarchist mission, and played a major role in the emerging movement. Sham 69, London's Menace, and the from in the Northeast combined a similarly stripped-down sound with populist lyrics, a style that became known as. These expressly working-class bands contrasted with others in the second wave that presaged the phenomenon. Liverpool's first punk group,, moved in a glam, theatrical direction. The band didn't survive long, but it spun off several well-known post-punk acts. The songs of London's were characterized by sophisticated lyrics, minimalist arrangements, and extreme brevity. By the end of 1977, according to music historian, they were "England's arch-exponents of New Musick, and the true heralds of what came next."

The album cover for the band Wire. The cover photo shows a single flagpole with a pink flag, against a blue sky. The stark cover design of 's debut LP,, symbolized the evolution of punk style.

Alongside thirteen original songs that would define classic punk rock, the Clash's debut had included a cover of the recent Jamaican hit "". Other first wave bands such as and new entrants to the scene like and interacted with the reggae and subcultures, incorporating their rhythms and production styles. The punk rock phenomenon helped spark a full-fledged ska revival movement known as, centered on bands such as,,, and.

June 1977 saw the release of another charting punk album: the Vibrators' Pure Mania. In July, the Sex Pistols' third single, "", reached number six and the Saints had a top-forty hit with "". Recently arrived from Australia, the band was now considered insufficiently "cool" to qualify as punk by much of the British media, though they had been playing a similar brand of music for years. In August, the Adverts entered the top twenty with "Gary Gilmore's Eyes". As punk became a broad-based national phenomenon in the summer of 1977, punk musicians and fans were increasingly subject to violent assaults by, football, and others. A Ted-aligned band recorded "The Punk Bashing Boogie". The radio censorship, refusal to stock some punk records and large venue bans of punk groups had two impacts on punk: some groups reclassified themselves as to garner airplay and venue access, while other bands shifted to a DIY approach, pressing their own records and delivering them by hand or via mail-order.

In September, Generation X and the Clash reached the top forty with, respectively, "Your Generation" and "". X-Ray Spex' "" didn't chart, but it became a requisite item for punk fans. BBC refused to play "Oh Bondage..." due to its controversial lyrics. In October, the Sex Pistols hit number eight with "", followed by the release of their first and only "official" album,. Inspiring yet another round of controversy, it topped the British charts. In December, one of the first books about punk rock was published: The Boy Looked at Johnny, by and.


In February 1977, EMI released ' debut album,, which the band recorded in two days. The Saints had relocated to Sydney; in April, they and united for a major gig at. had also formed in the city. The following month, the Saints relocated again, to Great Britain. In June, Radio Birdman released the album on its own Trafalgar label.

became a short-lived leader of the Perth scene, self-releasing "". They were joined by, 's successor band to the Cheap Nasties. Among the other bands constituting Australia's second wave were Johnny Dole & the Scabs, the Hellcats, and Psychosurgeons (later known as the Lipstick Killers) in Sydney;,, and Razar in Brisbane; and La Femme, the Negatives, and the Babeez (later known as the News) in. Melbourne's –influenced featured singer, who would become one of the world's best-known artists.

Rest of the world[]

With its "near beat ... gruff guitar riffs, shouted lyrics, and the occasionally swooping synth line", 's debut single is one of the earliest examples anywhere of a style that would become identified with post-punk.

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Meanwhile, punk rock scenes were emerging around the globe. In France, les punks, a Parisian subculture of Lou Reed fans, had already been around for years. Following the lead of, played its first concert in December 1976. In August 1977, Asphalt Jungle played at the second Mont de Marsan punk festival. Stinky Toys' debut single, "Boozy Creed", came out in September. It was perhaps the first non-English-language punk rock record, though as music historian notes, the punk enunciation made that distinction somewhat moot. The following month, Métal Urbain's first 45, "Panik", appeared. After the release of their minimalist punk debut, "Rien à dire", became involved in New York's scene. Asphalt Jungle's "Deconnection" and Gasoline's "Killer Man" also came out before the end of the year, and other French punk acts such as and Starshooter soon formed.

1977 also saw the debut album from Hamburg's, arguably West Germany's first punk band. Other early German punk acts included the Fred Banana Combo and Pack. Bands primarily inspired by British punk sparked what became known as the (NDW) movement. Vanguard NDW acts such as the and S.Y.P.H. featured strident vocals and an emphasis on provocation. Before turning in a mainstream direction in the 1980s, NDW attracted a politically conscious and diverse audience, including both participants of the left-wing alternative scene and. These opposing factions were mutually attracted by a view of punk rock as "politically as well as musically...'against the system'."

punk was propelled early on by tour dates by bands such as the Clash and the Ramones (both in Stockholm in May 1977), and the Sex Pistols' tour through, and in July the same year. The band jump-started Finnish punk with its November 1977 single "I Really Hate Ya"/"I Want Ya Back"; other early Finnish punk acts included and singer. The first Swedish punk single was "Vårdad klädsel"/"Förbjudna ljud" released by in February 1978, which started an extensive Swedish punk scene featuring act such as,,, Besökarna, Liket Lever, Garbochock,, Grisen Skriker and many others. Within a couple of years, hundreds of punk singles were released in Sweden.

In Japan, a punk movement developed around bands playing in an art/noise style such as, and "psych punk" acts like Gaseneta and Kadotani Michio. In New Zealand, Auckland's Scavengers and were followed by of Dunedin.Punk rock scenes also grew in other countries such as Belgium (, ), the Netherlands (the Suzannes, ), Spain (La Banda Trapera Del Río, Kaka De Luxe,,,,,,, ), and Switzerland (Nasal Boys, ).

Indonesia was a part of the largest punk movement in Southeast Asia, heavily influenced by Green Day, Rancid, and the Offspring. Young people created their own underground sub-culture of punk, which over time developed into a style that was completely different to the original movement.

Punk emerged in as direct opposition to the conservative government and enforcement of the time. Bands like Wild Youth and National Wake led the way in the late 1970s and early 1980s, followed by Powerage and Screaming Foetus from and Toxik Sox in in the mid 1980s.

Mexico's punk/ska music has innovated the political standard has how the world is view in both countries. Production and reception of particular texts in a global context of inequality in which Mexican are racialized and objectified generate transnational archives of feelings in relation to migration from Mexico. The cultural memories reflects upon the power relations that affect social categories and social identities. (Zavella, 2012) Punks embrace the ethic of do-it-yourself (DIY), which disavows materialism and consumerism and the individualist fame of rock stars. (Zavella, 2012) Being a punk was a form of expressing freedom and not caring of judgement.

1979–1984: Schism and diversification[]

The band Flipper is performing at a club. From left to right are the singer, drummer and electric guitarist. The singer is seated on a stool, and he is holding a pair of crutches.

By 1979, the movement was emerging in. A rivalry developed between adherents of the new sound and the older punk rock crowd. Hardcore, appealing to a younger, more suburban audience, was perceived by some as anti-intellectual, overly violent, and musically limited. In Los Angeles, the opposing factions were often described as "Hollywood punks" and "beach punks", referring to Hollywood's central position in the original L.A. punk rock scene and to hardcore's popularity in the shoreline communities of and.

As hardcore became the dominant punk rock style, many bands of the older California punk rock movement split up. Across North America, many other first and second wave punk bands also dissolved, while younger musicians inspired by the movement explored new variations on punk. Some early punk bands transformed into hardcore acts. A few, most notably the Ramones, Richard Hell and the Voidoids, and Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers, continued to pursue the style they had helped create. Crossing the lines between "classic" punk,, and hardcore, San Francisco's was founded in 1979 by former members of Negative Trend and the Sleepers. They became "the reigning kings of American underground rock, for a few years".

Radio Birdman broke up in June 1978 while touring the UK, where the early unity between, middle-class punks (many with art school backgrounds) and punks had disintegrated. In contrast to North America, more of the bands from the original British punk movement remained active, sustaining extended careers even as their styles evolved and diverged. Meanwhile, the and movements were emerging. Musically in the same aggressive vein as American hardcore, they addressed different constituencies with overlapping but distinct anti-establishment messages. As described by Dave Laing, "The model for self-proclaimed punk after 1978 derived from the Ramones via the eight-to-the-bar rhythms most characteristic of the Vibrators and Clash. ... It became essential to sound one particular way to be recognized as a 'punk band' now." In February 1979, former Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious died of a heroin overdose in New York. If the Sex Pistols' breakup the previous year had marked the end of the original UK punk scene and its promise of cultural transformation, for many the death of Vicious signified that it had been doomed from the start.

The of 's was the band's biggest UK hit on first release. The atmospheric production gives it a "grandeur rarely heard on punk records." wanted it mixed to "sound like a foggy morning on the River Thames." The guitar chords on the second and fourth beats in the verse nod toward.

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By the turn of the decade, the punk rock movement had split deeply along cultural and musical lines, leaving a variety of derivative scenes and forms. On one side were and post-punk artists; some adopted more accessible musical styles and gained broad popularity, while some turned in more experimental, less commercial directions. On the other side, hardcore punk, Oi!, and anarcho-punk bands became closely linked with underground cultures and spun off an array of. Somewhere in between, groups created blends like that of the ideal record, as defined by cofounder Kevin Lycett: "a cross between and the Sex Pistols". A range of other styles emerged, many of them with long-established genres. The Clash album, released in December 1979, exemplified the breadth of classic punk's legacy. Combining punk rock with reggae, ska, R&B, and rockabilly, it went on to be acclaimed as one of the best rock records ever. At the same time, as observed by Flipper singer Bruce Loose, the relatively restrictive hardcore scenes diminished the variety of music that could once be heard at many punk gigs. If early punk, like most rock scenes, was ultimately male-oriented, the hardcore and Oi! scenes were significantly more so, marked in part by the slam dancing and with which they became identified.

New wave[]

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Singer Debbie Harry is shown onstage at a concert. She is wearing jeans and a T-shirt.

In 1976—first in London, then in the United States—"New Wave" was introduced as a complementary label for the formative scenes and groups also known as "punk"; the two terms were essentially interchangeable. journalist is credited with proposing the term's use (adopted from the cinematic of the 1960s) in this context. Over time, "new wave" acquired a distinct meaning: bands such as and from the CBGB scene;, who emerged from the Rat in Boston; the Go-Go's in Los Angeles; and in London that were broadening their instrumental palette, incorporating dance-oriented rhythms, and working with more polished production were specifically designated "new wave" and no longer called "punk". Dave Laing suggests that some punk-identified British acts pursued the new wave label in order to avoid radio censorship and make themselves more palatable to concert bookers.

Bringing elements of punk rock music and fashion into more pop-oriented, less "dangerous" styles, new wave artists became very popular on both sides of the Atlantic. New wave became a catch-all term, encompassing disparate styles such as ska, the inspired by, the sophisticated pop-rock of and, the phenomenon typified by, groups like (which had started out as a straight-ahead punk band) and, and the sui generis subversions of Devo, who had gone "beyond punk before punk even properly existed". New wave became a pop culture sensation with the debut of the cable television network in 1981, which put many new wave videos into regular rotation. However, the music was often derided at the time as being silly and disposable.


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During 1976–77, in the midst of the original UK punk movement, bands emerged such as Manchester's,, and, Leeds', and London's that became central post-punk figures. Some bands classified as post-punk, such as and, had been active well before the punk scene coalesced; others, such as and, transitioned from punk rock into post-punk. A few months after the Sex Pistols' breakup, (no longer "Rotten") cofounded., formerly of X-Ray Spex, founded. formed in 1979. These bands were often musically experimental, like certain new wave acts; defining them as "post-punk" was a sound that tended to be less pop and more dark and abrasive—sometimes verging on the, as with Subway Sect and Wire—and an anti-establishment posture directly related to punk's. Post-punk reflected a range of influences from and to and to and.

Post-punk brought together a new fraternity of musicians, journalists, managers, and entrepreneurs; the latter, notably of and of, helped to develop the production and distribution infrastructure of the scene that blossomed in the mid-1980s. Smoothing the edges of their style in the direction of new wave, several post-punk bands such as (descended from Joy Division) and. crossed over to a mainstream U.S. audience. was one of the formative bands. Others, like Gang of Four, the Raincoats and Throbbing Gristle, who had little more than cult followings at the time, are seen in retrospect as significant influences on modern popular culture.

Television's debut album, released in 1977, is frequently cited as a seminal album in the field. The movement that developed in New York in the late 1970s, with artists such as and, is often treated as the phenomenon's U.S. parallel. The later work of Ohio protopunk pioneers Pere Ubu is also commonly described as post-punk. One of the most influential American post-punk bands was Boston's, who brought abrupt rhythmic shifts derived from hardcore into a highly experimental musical context. In 1980, Australia's Boys Next Door moved to London and changed their name to, which evolved into. Led by the, Melbourne's would further explore the possibilities of post-punk. Later musicians found diverse inspiration among these post-punk predecessors, as they did among their new wave contemporaries.


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Bad Brains at 9:30 Club, Washington, D.C., 1983

A distinctive style of punk, characterized by superfast, aggressive beats,, and often politically aware lyrics, began to emerge in 1978 among bands scattered around the United States and Canada. The first major scene of what came to be known as hardcore punk developed in Southern California in 1978–79, initially around such punk bands as the Germs and. The movement soon spread around North America and internationally. According to author, "Hardcore comes from the bleak suburbs of America. Parents moved their kids out of the cities to these horrible suburbs to save them from the 'reality' of the cities and what they ended up with was this new breed of monster".

' debut single, "" (1980), typifying the band's "high-speed playing, rapid-fire lyrics, dramatic pauses, and performance intensity," was pivotal in hardcore's emergence as the American punk standard.

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Among the earliest hardcore bands, regarded as having made the first recordings in the style, were Southern California's and.—all of whom were black, a rarity in punk of any era—launched the with their rapid-paced single '" in 1980.'s, San Francisco's, and 's and were among the other initial hardcore groups. They were soon joined by bands such as the,,,, and in Southern California; D.C.'s,, and ; and Austin's and. By 1981, hardcore was the dominant punk rock style not only in California, but much of the rest of North America as well. A scene grew, including the relocated Bad Brains, New Jersey's and, and local acts such as,, and., who would become famous as a hip-hop group, debuted that year as a hardcore band. They were followed by,, and. By 1983, 's, Willful Neglect, Chicago's, 's, and D.C.'s were taking the hardcore sound in experimental and ultimately more melodic directions. Hardcore would constitute the American punk rock standard throughout the decade. The lyrical content of hardcore songs is often critical of commercial culture and middle-class values, as in Dead Kennedys' celebrated "" (1980).

bands like Minor Threat, 's, and 's rejected the self-destructive lifestyles of many of their peers, and built a movement based on positivity and abstinence from cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, and casual sex.

Skate punk innovators also pointed in other directions: Big Boys helped establish funkcore, while 's had a formative effect on the –influenced style. Toward the middle of the decade,. spawned the superfast genre. Both developed in multiple locations. Sacramento's, which mixed psychedelic rock into their hardcore sound, were an early influence on the genre. D.C.'s was one of the first punk-metal crossover acts and influenced.


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The title track of 's debut,, the top independent UK album of 1981. Defying punk's disappearance from the British mainstream, the song exemplifies the band's sound and that of Oi! groups in general: "harsher, darker, and cruder than their '77 forefathers."

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Following the lead of first-wave British punk bands and, in the late 1970s second-wave units like,,, and sought to realign punk rock with a working class, street-level following. For that purpose, they believed, the music needed to stay "accessible and unpretentious", in the words of music historian. Their style was originally called "real punk" or ; journalist is credited with labelling the genre Oi! in 1980. The name is partly derived from the Cockney Rejects' habit of shouting "Oi! Oi! Oi!" before each song, instead of the time-honored "1,2,3,4!"

A man, Nicky Crane, is shown with a bald head and wearing boots, jeans, and no shirt. He gestures to the camera, with one hand raised and closed, and the other with a single finger pointing forwards. One foot is raised, with the bottom of the boot visible.

The Oi! movement was fueled by a sense that many participants in the early punk rock scene were, in the words of guitarist Steve Kent, "trendy university people using long words, trying to be artistic ... and losing touch". According to Bushell, "Punk was meant to be of the voice of queue, and in reality most of them were not. But Oi was the reality of the punk mythology. In the places where [these bands] came from, it was harder and more aggressive and it produced just as much quality music." Lester Bangs described Oi! as "politicized football chants for unemployed louts". One song in particular, the Exploited's "Punks Not Dead", spoke to an international constituency. It was adopted as an anthem by the groups of disaffected Mexican urban youth known in the 1980s as bandas; one banda named itself PND, after the song's initials.

Although most Oi! bands in the initial wave were apolitical or, many of them began to attract a following. Racist skinheads sometimes disrupted Oi! concerts by shouting fascist slogans and starting fights, but some Oi! bands were reluctant to endorse criticism of their fans from what they perceived as the "middle-class establishment". In the popular imagination, the movement thus became linked to the., an album compiled by Bushell and released in May 1981, stirred controversy, especially when it was revealed that the belligerent figure on the cover was a jailed for racist violence (Bushell claimed ignorance). On July 3, a concert at Hamborough Tavern in featuring the Business, the 4-Skins, and the Last Resort was firebombed by local Asian youths who believed that the event was a neo-Nazi gathering. Following the Southall riot, press coverage increasingly associated Oi! with the extreme right, and the movement soon began to lose momentum.


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Two members of the rock band Crass are shown at a performance. From left to right are an electric guitarist and a singer. Both are dressed in all black clothing. The singer is making a hand gesture. were the originators of anarcho-punk. Spurning the "cult of rock star personality", their plain, all-black dress became a staple of the genre.

Anarcho-punk developed alongside the Oi! and American hardcore movements. Inspired by, its commune, and its independent label, a scene developed around British bands such as,,,, and that was concerned as much with anarchist and DIY principles as it was with music. The acts featured ranting vocals, discordant instrumental sounds, primitive production values, and lyrics filled with political and social content, often addressing issues such as class inequalities and military violence. Anarcho-punk musicians and fans disdained the older punk scene from which theirs had evolved. In historian Tim Gosling's description, they saw "safety pins and Mohicans as little more than ineffectual fashion posturing stimulated by the mainstream media and industry.... Whereas the Sex Pistols would proudly display bad manners and opportunism in their dealings with 'the establishment,' the anarcho-punks kept clear of 'the establishment' altogether".

The movement spun off several subgenres of a similar political bent., founded back in 1977, established in the early 1980s. Other groups in the movement, led by and, developed the extreme style known as. Several of these bands rooted in anarcho-punk such as, Discharge, and Amebix, along with former Oi! groups such as and bands from father afield like Birmingham's, became the leading figures in the hardcore movement. The anarcho-punk scene also spawned bands such as,, and that in the mid-1980s defined, incorporating extremely fast tempos and –style guitarwork. Led by Dead Kennedys, a U.S. anarcho-punk scene developed around such bands as Austin's and Southern California's Another Destructive System.

Pop punk[]

Main article:

With their love of and late 1960s, the Ramones paved the way to what became known as pop punk. In the late 1970s, UK bands such as and combined -style tunes and lyrical themes with punk's speed and chaotic edge. In the early 1980s, some of the leading bands in Southern California's hardcore punk rock scene emphasized a more melodic approach than was typical of their peers. According to music journalist, "layered their pissed off, politicized sound with the smoothest of harmonies"; "wrote almost surfy, Beach Boys-inspired songs about girls and food and being young(ish)"., founded by of Bad Religion, was the base for many future pop punk bands. Bands that fused punk with light-hearted pop melodies, such as and, began appearing around the country, in turn influencing bands like and, who brought pop punk wide popularity and major record sales. Bands such as and developed a style blending pop melodies with humorous and offensive lyrics. Eventually, the geographically large Midwest U.S. punk scene, anchored largely in places like Chicago and Minneapolis, would spawn bands like who would take a catchy, hooky pop-punk approach and reinfuse it with some of punk's earlier grit and fury, creating a distinctive punk rock sound with a regional tag. This particular substrate still maintains an identity today. The mainstream pop punk of latter-day bands such as is criticized by many punk rock devotees; in critic Christine Di Bella's words, "It's punk taken to its most accessible point, a point where it barely reflects its lineage at all, except in the three-chord song structures."

Other fusions and directions[]

"Electropunk" and "Synth-punk" redirect here. For the genre of similar roots, see.

From 1977 on, punk rock crossed lines with many other popular music genres. Los Angeles punk rock bands laid the groundwork for a wide variety of styles: with ; with ; and with., from, and, who moved from New York to Los Angeles in 1980, were innovators in the fusion style. Milwaukee's jumpstarted the American scene, while did the same on the other side of the Atlantic, influencing many bands. Hardcore punk was combined with, creating.

Other bands pointed punk rock toward future rock styles or its own foundations. Synth-punk (also known as electropunk) is a fusion genre that combines elements from with punk. It originates from punk musicians between 1977 and 1984 that swapped their guitars with synthesizers. The term "synth-punk" is a retroactive label coined in 1999 by Damien Ramsey. Chicago's was a major influence on,, and. bands from all over—such as 's, Chicago's, and 's —pursued a version of punk rock that was close to its roots in 1960s garage rock. Seattle's, one of the central bands in the development of, has been described as "garage punk".

Legacy and later developments[]

Alternative rock[]

Main article:

A drummer, Dave Grohl, is playing drumkit. He is not wearing a shirt and his long hair is wet.

The underground punk rock movement inspired countless bands that either evolved from a punk rock sound or brought its outsider spirit to very different kinds of music. The original punk explosion also had a long-term effect on the music industry, spurring the growth of the independent sector. During the early 1980s, British bands like New Order and the Cure that straddled the lines of post-punk and new wave developed both new musical styles and a distinctive industrial niche. Though commercially successful over an extended period, they maintained an underground-style, identity. In the United States, bands such as Hüsker Dü and their Minneapolis protégés bridged the gap between punk rock genres like hardcore and the more melodic, explorative realm of what was then called "".

A 1985 feature on the Minneapolis scene and innovative California hardcore acts such as Black Flag and Minutemen declared, "Primal punk is passé. The best of the American punk rockers have moved on. They have learned how to play their instruments. They have discovered melody, guitar solos and lyrics that are more than shouted political slogans. Some of them have even discovered the." By the mid-to-late 1980s, these bands, who had largely eclipsed their punk rock and post-punk forebears in popularity, were classified broadly as. Alternative rock encompasses a diverse set of styles—including,,, and, among others—unified by their debt to punk rock and their origins outside of the musical mainstream.

As American alternative bands like, which had grown out of the no wave scene, and Boston's started to gain larger audiences, major labels sought to capitalize on the underground market that had been sustained by hardcore punk for years. In 1991, emerged from Washington State's underground, DIY scene; after recording their first album, for about 0, the band achieved huge (and unexpected) commercial success with its second album,. The band's members cited punk rock as a key influence on their style. "Punk is musical freedom", wrote frontman. "It's saying, doing, and playing what you want." Nirvana's success opened the door to mainstream popularity for a wide range of other "left-of-the-dial" acts, such as and, and fueled the alternative rock boom of the early and mid-1990s.


Further information:

In its original, mid-1980s incarnation, emo was a less musically restrictive style of punk with focus on emotional lyrics, developed by participants in the Washington, D.C. area hardcore punk scene. It was originally referred to as "emocore", an abbreviation of "emotional/emotive hardcore" and was pioneered by bands such as and. In the 1990s the emo label was adopted by a number of acts, particularly in the, while other groups went for a more abrasive style influenced by their hardcore punk forebears which employed screamed vocals and came to be known as. took emo in a radio-ready pop punk and indie rock direction, and had top ten albums in 2004 and 2007. Bands such as,,,, and also popularized the emo subgenre known as during the 2000s and helped define the associated subculture. In the 2010s a number of underground emo acts have taken strong influence from the emo acts of the 1990s and early 2000s, a movement known as the "".


A woman, Carrie Brownstein, is onstage at a concert. She has an electric guitar strapped over her shoulder. One hand is raised. Guitar speaker stacks and a drumkit are behind her.

Further information:

In the 1990s, the queercore movement developed around a number of punk bands with gay, lesbian, bisexual, or genderqueer members such as,,, and. Inspired by openly gay punk musicians of an earlier generation such as,, and, and bands like,, and, queercore embraces a variety of punk and other alternative music styles. Queercore lyrics often treat the themes of prejudice,,, and individual rights. The movement has continued into the 21st century, supported by festivals such as.

Riot grrrl[]

Further information:

The Riot Grrrl movement, a significant aspect in the formation of the Third Wave feminist movement, was organized by taking the values and rhetoric of punk and using it to convey feminist messages. In 1991, a concert of female-led bands at the in, heralded the emerging riot grrrl phenomenon. Billed as "Love Rock Revolution Girl Style Now", the concert's lineup included,,,, and. The riot grrrl movement foregrounded feminist concerns and progressive politics in general; the DIY ethic and fanzines were also central elements of the scene. This movement relied on media and technology to spread their ideas and messages, creating a cultural-technological space for feminism to voice their concerns. They embodied the punk perspective, taking the anger and emotions and creating a separate culture from it. With riot grrrl, they were grounded in girl punk past, but also rooted in modern feminism. Tammy Rae Carbund, from, explains that without Riot Grrrl bands,"[women] would have all starved to death culturally.”

Singer-guitarists of Heavens to Betsy and of, bands active in both the queercore and riot grrrl scenes, cofounded the indie/punk band in 1994. Bikini Kill's lead singer,, the iconic figure of riot grrrl, moved on to form the group in 1998.


Two members of rock band Green Day shown onstage at a concert. From left to right, singer/guitarist Billie Joe Armstrong and bass guitarist Mike Dirnt. Behind them are a row of large guitar speaker cabinets. Billie Joe gestures with both hands to the audience.|Green Day singer/guitarist Billie Joe Armstrong, with bassist Mike Dirnt to the right.

By the 1990s, punk rock was sufficiently ingrained in Western culture that punk trappings were often used to market highly commercial bands as "rebels". Marketers capitalized on the style and hipness of punk rock to such an extent that a 1993 ad campaign for an automobile, the, claimed that the car was "like punk rock".

In 1993, California's and were both signed to major labels. The next year, Green Day put out , which became a huge hit, selling nine million albums in the United States in just over two years. Bad Religion's was certified. Other California punk bands on the independent label, run by Bad Religion guitarist, also began achieving mainstream popularity. In 1994, Epitaph released by, by, and by, each eventually certified gold or better. That June, Green Day's "" reached number one on Billboard's chart and became a top forty airplay hit, arguably the first ever American punk song to do so; just one month later, the Offspring's "" followed suit. and radio stations such as Los Angeles' played a major role in these bands' crossover success, though NOFX refused to let MTV air its videos.

Following the lead of Boston's and two California bands, 's and 's, and ska-core became widely popular in the mid-1990s. By 1996, genre acts such as and were being signed to major labels. The original bands had emerged amid punk rock's second wave, but their music was much closer to its Jamaican roots—"ska at ". Ska punk bands in the created a true musical fusion between the genres., the 1995 album by Rancid—which had evolved out of Operation Ivy—became the first record in this ska revival to be certified gold; Sublime's was certified platinum early in 1997. In Australia, two popular groups, skatecore band and pop punk act, also established followings in Japan.

Green Day and Dookie's enormous sales paved the way for a host of bankable North American pop punk bands in the following decade. With punk rock's renewed visibility came concerns among some in the punk community that the music was being co-opted by the mainstream. They argued that by signing to major labels and appearing on MTV, punk bands like Green Day were buying into a system that punk was created to challenge. Such controversies have been part of the punk culture since 1977, when the Clash was widely accused of "selling out" for signing with. The Vans and the mall chain store brought punk even further into the U.S. mainstream.

In the mainstream[]

The first U.S. punk-identified single to reach the top ten, built on a "schoolyard-chant verse and na-na-na chorus". "" exemplifies 's "formulaic hits", in 's description: "adenoidal verse, minimally pulsing bass, explosive three-chord guitar riffs tempered by sweet harmony".

Problems playing this file? See.

By early 1998, the punk revival had commercially stalled, but not for long. That November, the Offspring's on the major label debuted at number two on the album chart. A bootleg MP3 of its first single, "", made it onto the Internet and was downloaded a record 22 million times—illegally. The following year,, the first major-label release by pop punk band, reached the top ten and sold four million copies in under twelve months. In January 2000, the album's second single, "", hit the sixth spot on the. While they were viewed as Green Day "acolytes", critics also found acts such as, the, and suitable points of comparison for Blink-182's sound and market niche. The band's (2001) and (2003) respectively rose to numbers one and three on the album chart. In November 2003, described how the "giddily puerile" act had "become massively popular with the mainstream audience, a demographic formerly considered untouchable by punk-rock purists."

Other new North American pop punk bands, though often critically dismissed, also achieved major sales in the first decade of the 2000s. Ontario's reached the Canadian top ten with its 2001 debut album,, which eventually went platinum in the United States. The record included the number one U.S. Alternative hit "", which incorporated verses of what one critic called "brat rap." Elsewhere around the world, "" band became major stars in Australia with their.

Two members of rock band Anti-Flag shown onstage at a concert. From left to right are electric guitarist Justin Sane and bass guitarist Chris Barker. Sane has a mohawk hairstyle. Barker has a long lock of hair over his forehead and he is wearing a T-shirt with the text "Military Free Zone".

The effect of commercialization on the music became an increasingly contentious issue. As observed by scholar Ross Haenfler, many punk fans "'despise corporate punk rock', typified by bands such as Sum 41 and Blink 182". At the same time, politicized and independent-label punk continued to thrive in the United States. Since 1993, had been putting progressive politics at the center of its music. The administration of provided them and similarly minded acts eight years of conservative government to excoriate. was the most successful of these groups, registering five straight top ten records between 2006 and 2017 with,,,, and. Leftist punk band 's was named best album of 2007 by. Politicized DIY punk also sustains active and inter-linked communities across Europe, as demonstrated by independent international events such as in the Czech Republic.

See also[]

  1. In the Kingsmen's version, the song's "El Loco Cha-Cha" riffs were pared down to a more simple and primitive rock arrangement providing a stylistic model for countless garage rock bands.
  2. The Ramones' 1978 'I Don't Want You,' was largely Kinks-influenced.
  3. Reed describes the Clash's emergence as a "tight ball of energy with both an image and rhetoric reminiscent of a young —speed obsession, pop-art clothing, art school ambition." The Who and fellow mods were also among the few rock elders acknowledged by the Sex Pistols.
  4. writing for the Village Voice in October 1971 refers to "mid-60s punk" as a historical period of rock-and-roll.
  5. In several places in a 1971 article in Who Put the Bomp, Bangs refers to Britain's and bands of their ilk as "punk." In June 1972, the fanzine Flash included a "Punk Top Ten" of 1960s albums.
  6. In the January 1973 Rolling Stone review of Nuggets, Greg Shaw commented "Punk rock at its best is the closest we came in the '60s to the original rockabilly spirit of Rock 'n Roll." In February 1973, Terry Atkinson of the, reviewing the debut album by a hard rock band,, declared that it "achieves all that punk-rock bands strive for but most miss."


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