Punk Rock

Punk is a more aggressive movement that arose in the 70s. Based in 60s garage music, punk was a rejection of the excesses of 70s mainstream rock; it emphasised inclusivity and a DIY aesthetic that didn’t require technical ability, or even, in some extreme cases, much musical ability. One of the main founders of the punk movement, The Ramones formed in 1974 in New York. They played their first show in August of that year and by the end of the year they had performed seventy-four times. Over in the UK, Johnny Rotten became the new lead singer of a band called The Strand. In 1975 they played their first show as the Sex Pistols. The band’s hardcore, chaotic persona made their live shows incredibly popular with an anarchic younger generation of fans, and they soon acquired a dedicated following. They quickly rose to success and exploded into the mainstream following am explosive TV interview on the Bill Grundy Show in December, 1976. The following year — 1977 — marked the emergence of The Clash and The Buzzcocks, two highly prominent punk bands. 

Over in America, both on the east and west coasts, punk had also formed its own identity and had developed into more than just a style of music; it had now become a prominent counter-culture. Going into the 80s, the idea of punk as an identity was solidified as it had become a musical, fashion, and even political movement. Punk music is fast and aggressive, based on simple but loud and distorted guitar parts. The drums are typically very fast and the vocals are shouted, often associating with socialist ideologies. For example, in London at the time, punk was heavily critical of the right-winged government and Thatcherism. Overall, punk was anarchy embodied in music and fashion — if there was a central theme to the movement it was one of rejection of a powerful, controlling government and all the state apparatus that supported it, especially the police.

Notable artists:

Dead Kennedys

The Clash


Sex Pistols


Black Flag

The Damned

The Stooges


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