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Punk Rock History
• The genre punk rock was developed between 1974-1976 in the United States, originating
from rock music.
• Punk rock created a scene that rock itself was failing to provide which was rebellion. Punk
rock usually consists of political, anti-establishment lyrics or something with underlying
• Many punk bands self produce and distribute their own music through handing out their CD’s
to people in streets and putting music up on their own self-made website.
• Punk bands tended to stay away from mainstream media, expressing rebellion through anti-establishment
• As punk was a genre that was supposedly created by people who knew little about the rules
of music, individuals in punk bands such as the Ramones were able to break the rules easily.
• The genre was quickly adopted by England due to the rate of unemployment rising, many
youths found themselves angry, with a sufficient amount of free time to enjoy wasting on
forming punk bands.
• Due to the wide spreading genre, punk fashion became to emerge. In 1974, shops such as
‘SEX’, owned by Malcom McClaren opened, specialising in clothing that was often associated
with the punk movement.
• From this Glam punk emanated, a trend which revolved mostly around a particular style of
fashion with a protopunk sound, which was adopted by artists such as New York Dolls. The
bands style was soon acquired by many other New York bands such as Harlots of 42nd street
during the mid 1970s. The band was considered the most influential of the 20 years, inspiring
even The Smiths, whose frontman Morrissey organised a reunion for the New York Dolls.
• From the 16th century to the 18th century, the
word Punk began to be used to describe
gangsters, due to the amount of rebellious
youth members that followed the trend. Even
William Shakespeare used the word ‘punk’ to
describe a male hustler type character.
• Considering – this use of the word Punk is
fitting considering most of the people who do
like rock music are rebellious in their need to
express opinions upon society’s wrongs.
• Punk rock bands sound are similar to 1960s garage rock
which uses bare musical structures with barred chord
and distorted power chords known as a “buzzard
• The usual arrangement for a punk band consists of a
drummer, rhythm guitarist, bassist and a lead singer.
• Lead singers often shout lyrics instead of singing them,
much like in more hardcore versions of punk such as
• A particular aspect of Punk as a subgenre that makes it
stand out is the political/social issues they usually base
songs upon, making lyrics hold importance of a
message which many classic rock songs don’t have.
Foundations of Punk
• In the early and mid-1960s, garage rock bands became
known as where punk originated from.
• Popular bands such as ‘The Ramones’ and ‘The Sex Pistols’
are known for their success within the creation of punk,
inspiring many other bands to further this genre.
• The Electric Circus was a particularly important venue as it
was a place where fans of punk music could feel part of a
community of similar music taste , fashion and ideologies.
• Fans often replicated their favourite bands sense of style
which mostly consisted of having no rules and dressing how
they wanted. This style soon became street fashion as it
was linked to punk which was considered underground
• This often consisted of hair that’s dyed in unnatural ways, including the
• Often women and men were seen to wear make-up including eyeliner.
• Safety pins and chains were used on grungy clothes, leather jackets were
usually decorated with studs and rips and tank tops were usually worn.
• Tight skinny (usually black) jeans are worn that are adorned with rips and
• Often combat boots such as Dr Martins were worn.
• Patches and badges of punk bands were often worn on clothing.
• The fashion soon became less of a symbol of rebellion usually connected
with lower class, but soon became simply a side spread fashion
• Due to its expanding popularity, designers such as Vivienne Westwood
adopted the style, and was able to market the clothing range to Punk Rock
fans as her partner was singer Malcom McLaren of The Sex Pistols.
• To this day punk fashion is still seen on catwalks and the music industry.
Punk Rock Record Labels
• There are many successful record labels which sign good rock
bands, such as Hopeless Record.
• Hopeless records was founded in 1993, signing artists such as
The Used and All Time Low. Hopeless records sign many
different types of rock music including metal, pop punk, punk
rock and alternative rock.
• Some artists such as The Misfits, created their own label in
which they produced their music with. This was founded in
2002 by Jerry Only of the misfits, and only lasted a year.
However, they did sign artists such as Osaka Popstar and
• Roadrunner records is an American label that signs more hard
core metal bands such as Slipknot, The Devil Wears Prada,
Avenged Sevenfold and Halestorm.
• This American punk rock band formed in New York City in
• Despite their initial limited success, the band was a major
influence upon other bands in the UK and the US.
• For 22 years the band toured virtually nonstop, playing 2,263
• As the bands importance became noticed, they were
mentioned in popular magazines such as the Rolling Stone,
listed as one of the top 100 greatest artists of all time, and
the second greatest band by spin magazine.
• The Ramones are a particularly important band within the
rock movement as they were often cited as the first punk
band to form.
• Bands such as Joy Division began to emerge in 1976-77 as
part of the punk movement within the UK becoming central
• Post-punk was less upbeat like pop punk or punk rock,
having a harsher/darker sound such as Wire and Subway
Sect. Yet post-punk still involved anti-establishment
elements which relates it to punk.
• This type of sound is still popular as bands such as The
Vaccines have a similar sound.
• This subgenre of punk soon became known as Indie when
managers such as Geoff Travis and Rough trade began
helping to develop the production and distribution of the
music scene helping it to blossom in the mid-1980s.
• Queercore was a movement that developed in the 1990s, a number
of punk rock bands such as Pansy Division and Sister George were
involved in this particular movement.
• The lyrics of these bands often consisted of targeting themes of
prejudice, sexual identity, gender identity and individual rights. The
movement has continued into the 21st century by festivals such as
Queeruption that supports them.
• The riot grrl movement is similar in that it also supports of cause.
• The particular movement is concerned with feminist concerns and
left wing politics in general. Bands such as DIY ethnic were central
elements of the scene.
• These movements are important due to their message, leading to
its popularity and bands forming together such as Sleater Kinney to
create a band that both support riot grrl and queercore.
The Sex Pistols
• This particular band is significantly popular within the UK as
its an English rock band which formed in London in 1975.
• The band is most well known for their song “God Save the
Queen” as it was linked to the fascist regime becoming highly
controversial as it was released on the queens silver Jubilee.
• The lyrics “there’s no future in England's dreaming” suggests
an assault upon the Queen and her Monarchy. However, the
song was really about "You don't write 'God Save The Queen'
because you hate the English race. You write a song like that
because you love them, and you're fed up with them being
• Many successful punk songs usually include some form
controversial view. Even though this song wasn’t meant to of
been perceived this way, it received a lot of attention which
made it an extremely popular song.
• The Kinks were recognised as one of the most
influential rock groups of their era in 1963 to
• The music was influenced by a wide range of
genres such as rhythm and blues, British music
hall, folk and county.
• Their most well known single is You Really Got Me,
written by Ray Davies, topping the charts in the US
which led to releasing many other singles which
were mostly commercial failures.
• The concept of what a punk rock band or song is, is
constantly changing as many bands are now considered
more pop than punk, such as The Killers, Gerard Way and
• I believe the most important aspect of a punk band is the
message which makes the band controversial. I do agree
there are more pop forms of punk, though due to the
changing music industry, pop has become more popular
and therefore change in inevitable.
• However, artists such as Nirvana, Green Day, Smashing
Pumpkins and The Misfits I would consider punk rock in
their genre even if sometimes their songs could be
considered more pop, they are still alternatives versions
of rock such a Punk of Post-Punk.