History of Punk Rock

Punk rock got TTS name from the slang word “punk”, meaning rotten and worthless (Maser 10). The term was used to describe this new type of music that was very different from mainstream pop and rock music. These new bands “had very little talent, wore crazy clothes, had outrageous hairstyles and carried with them a message Of anti-authority” (Shivery). There is no exact date for the birth of punk rock, though it has been around since the sixties. Most agree that it was sometime around 1974 when punk rock really began to develop into a music genre of its own (Black and Kismet).

Some say punk rock Egan in New York City, while others believe it started in London. Punk rock bands were emerging in both places. By late 1976 “bands such as the Ramose in New York and the Sex pistols and the Clash, in London, were recognized as the vanguard of a new musical movement” (Gaffe). The following year punk rock began to spread around the world. Punk music was mostly being played in small local bars and nightclubs. Punk music “did not get much support from mainstream record labels and most music stores wanted nothing to do with it” (Maser 12).

Punk rock fans and musicians ended to stick together and support each other. It was not uncommon for one band to borrow musicians from another. One very popular club in New York City that became a popular place for punk artists to meet and play was Scab’s. The club’s owner, Hilly Cristal had a rule: “only rock bands with original music could play at his 30). Soon, hundreds of local bands from all around the area came to play. The New York scene was made up mostly of musicians with very little money who were “bored with pop music and wanted to make an artistic change” (Black and Kismet).

The Ramose are generally considered to be the first band to play this new type of music. They were tired of music that they considered boring, so they began to put their own sound together. As Johnny Ramona, the guitarist for the Ramose, stated, “We were new at writing songs and new at playing our instruments, so we couldn’t write anything too complicated, really” (Leopold). Other bands that were emerging from the New York Punk scene also in the mid-seventies included The Velvet Underground, Patti Smith, The New York Dolls, and Gigs Pop.

The Ramose directly influenced British punk and eloped to Start the punk rock scene in London (Gaffe). The Ramose played a fourth of July concert in London, which was attended by many members of future punk bands such as the Clash, the Damned, Generation X, Osseous and the Banshees, and the very successful Sex Pistols. Side Vicious and Johnny Rotten, two members of the Sex Pistols, are often refereed to as the “all time greatest punks, contributing not only to punk’s music, but to its fashion and style also” (Gaffe). Punk rock is really creative Rock and Roll music that is fun and upbeat.

It is in-your-face music, but at the same time there is intelligence behind it Oaf). The instruments that were typically used to play early punk rock music included one or two electric guitars, an electric bass, and a drum. In the beginning punk music usually only used a few chords per song. Many popular punk bands were often referred to as “three chord wonders” (Maser 15). Punk rock songs tended to be short. Most of the early punk rock songs were under two minutes long. The lyrics were usually shouted instead of being sung and were usually repetitions of short phrases. The lyrics were often blunt and to the point.

They dealt with real-life issues ouch as government, crime, poverty and other social problems. “Punk rock redefined the music scene, and people who didn’t have bands to identify with before, now had several that spoke to the reality of the world’s issues” (McCain, Legs and McNeil 25). By the late seventies and early eighties, punk rock had become a solid musical genre. The “punk subculture is often seen as a rebellious group of youngsters who often come from lower class dwellings and haven’t gotten the attention that they needed so they dye their hair, dress differently, and act differently/’ (Amaze 50).

Actually, being punk is bout being your own person. The “outrageous clothing and hairstyles were indicative of the youthful rebellion at the time, and stood as a way for punks to differentiate themselves from the masses” (Shivery). Early punk fashion included ripped clothing held together by safety pins or tape. Over time tattoos, piercing, and metal studded accessories were also common for the musicians and their fans (McCain, Legs and McNeil 30). The style was about individual freedom and represented anti-authority.

Punk viewpoints included a “do it yourself ethic, non-conformity, direct action, and not selling UT” (McCain, Legs and McNeil 31). It was not about labels, getting attention, or trying to look cool in front of your friends. Punk rock continued through the eighties and influenced many other types of music genres, including “gothic rock, grunge, metal, and new wave” among others (McCain, eggs and McNeil 43). In 1989, a band called the Sweet Children appeared. They would soon change their name to Green Day, and start a new wave of music called pop punk (Cooper). Other bands included in this movement were blink-1 82, Eve 6, and the Offspring.

It was the “pop punk explosion of he nineties that saw punk rock achieve its largest audience and most lucrative record sales” (Maser 10). The original punk musicians did not sell many records because they preferred to remain loyal to small labels. This was one Of the first major differences between the new pop punk bands and the original punk rock bands. By the mid nineties the ideas that punk rock originally stood for were nearly gone. People began to lose sight of what the original movement meant to begin with. The newer more mainstream punk bands changed their image.

The pop punk bands “focused heir energy into positive topics, rather than using obscenities and shock technique to gain attention” (Maser 66). The musicians were also more musically talented in that they actually knew how to play their instruments. There were only a few true hardcore punk bands left. Punk rock finally gained acceptance by the world at large when punk bands began to gain admittance to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (Cooper). The first bands to enter the Hall of Fame were the Talking Heads and Ramose in 2002. The Clash was accepted in 2003 followed by The Sex Pistols in 2006.

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