Punk Era

.. rlton, Rock music, 208). Smith also had a new version of the song “My Generation” in which she shouted obscenities, making it clear to every one that her generation was new and angrier. Most of the Ramones songs did not last more than two minuets, but it was arguably the most exhilarating half-hour in rock and Roll. The Ramones very simple, fast high-energy music and monotone vocals became a prototype for much punk rock to follow (Charlton, Rock Music.

208). The Ramones were the first of the New York Bands to tour extensively, and their appearances in England in 1976 was later cited by many English punk bands as the original inspiration for that countrys do-it-yourself rock revolution. This high energy can be heard in their album calls Too Tough To Die. Groups of British lower- and middle- class teenagers in the mid-seventies had grown to detest the lifestyles and traditional values of their parents, and had come to believe they were caught up in an economic and class ridden social system over which they had no control, one they viewed as relegating them to a life of weak poverty with no hope of jobs that would pay enough to better themselves (Charlton, Rock Music, 208). Many of these teenagers copes with their feelings of anger and frustration with violence.

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Many were antigovernment, antisocially, and antifashion. They adopted a way of dressing in torn second- hand clothing with large safety pins holding the pieces together. This look reflected their rejection of the standard image of respectability and became a symbol of their feelings of alienation (Charlton, Rock Music, 208). Realizing the financial potential behind these sociological traits, the astute Malcolm McLauren kept an eye on the rock music underground as a bell whether indicator for the British youth. It was here that McLauren recognized they highly visible, widely energetic and ant-social punk was the heir apparent for the youth of the UK. in order to capitalize on this new sound and evolving trend, he bean promoting the Sex Pistols.

The Sex Pistols evoked disgust every where they went. Their music had the constant pounding a loud distorted guitar that had been part of the punk sound in Detroit and New York, but unlike The New York Dolls, The Sex Pistols were not just toying with rebellion. they were completely caught up in highly emotional anger. The Sex Pistols wanted to repulse the establishment and provoke authorities into retaliating against them (Charlton, Rock Music, 208). This notion attracted more fun then their music itself. The Sex pistols had such a bad reputation that many other bands began copying their sound and look.

The energy levels were high and violence at their performances became common. The pogo dance was started at the Sex Pistols concerts. The lyrics of “God Save The Queen” were so foul and insulting that the song was banned from British television and radio. The Sex Pistols were so popular underground that they made it on the pop charts as a black line. The Damned, another British band managed by McLauren, played fast and angry music. Damn engaged in punk activities such as taunting and spitting at the audience.

They were the first British punk band to release a single, “New Rose” on the album Damned, Damned, Damned. The Damned traveled to New York to play at the CBGB. The Damned played fast, hard punk music that stressed anger for angers sake. they toured the US, and along with the Sex Pistols served as a major influence on the development of punk in California. The Clash, one of the longest lasting groups of the British punk movement expressed the multidirectional anger the Sex Pistols has, their songs zeroed in the causes of punk rebellion: youth unemployment, racism, and police brutality. In addition to using punks familiar rhythmic throb, they took Jamaicas music of rebellion and added a reggae beat to some of their music (Charlton, Rock Music, 210).

The Clash had two top forty us hits, with “Train in Vain (Stand By Me)” and “Rock The Casbah”. Other bands followed expressing these same similar feelings. Chelsea expressed the anger of unemployment and the “Right To Work”, Generation X in “Your Generation”. X-Ray sex brought a violent feminist message to punk with the single “Oh Bondage Up Yours!”. The Buzzcocks expressed youthful attitudes in “Breakdown” and “Boredom”. The energy level and simplicity of punk soon spread beyond its original antigovernment and antisocially causes and themes.

The Jam hammered away at a fast pulse similar to British punk groups. The Jam was in effect a group of latter-day mods who mixed a punk beat with music by earlier Mod groups, particularly Motown-stle soul. The Jam had a different look to them then the Sex Pistols. They wore conservative suits and ties and were openly supportive of the British Monarchy and government. When British punk bands toured the US, they struck a nerve in California and started a punk movement in both San Francisco and Los Angeles. Despite the American teenagers having jobs, food, and clothing readily available to them they did not keep the anger and violence out their music, However, they did have plenty to say about their ex-hippie parents and the government involvement in politics.

The Dead Kennedys, a punk band formed in San Francisco, played fast, heavily distorted music with shouted monotone vocals that condemned the US government and other institutions for a multitude of offenses, and yet displayed a sense of humor (Charlton, Rock Music, 212). “Kill The Poor” had a strong satirical statement against those who put money into the development of the neutron bomb, but resisted governmental aide to Americas poor. A large hard core punk culture developed in Los Angeles during the late 1970s and early 1980s, including such bands as the Black Flag, The Germs, X, and Catholic Discipline. Black Flags music had fast beats distorted guitars, and monotone vocal style of British punk bands, and their short songs expressed their anger towards everyone. latter on they began to break away and included some very long songs with heavy metal charastics such as distorted guitar solos and repeating drones, but often added occasional touches of country music, rockabilly and heavy metal styles.

Around the late seventies, many rock fans began to fell that the music was getting old. Fans felt that their needed to be a new energy that was less violent and antiestablishment then punk music. Punks half beat pulse, monotone vocals, and emotional alienations were adopted by groups that played within more mainstream popular rock styles and the term “new wane” began to be used to catorgize this music (Charlton, Rock Music, 213). Many of the bands formed during the mid to late seventies played with enough of the musical characteristics of punk or new wave to gain a population within those styles, even though much of their music did not really fit into the new wave genre. the group Blondie fit into this category. After Blondie put out their first album, Blondie, it put the group on the commercial outskirts of new wave, but their music had even less characteristics of this style (Charlton, Rock Music, 215).

Blondie experimented with all types of music. Blondie toyed with disco in “Heart of Glass”, and “Call Me”, and with reggae in “The Tide Is High” and also commercial brand rap in “Rapture”. The Cars combined the unemotional vocals and pounding beat of punk with Chuck Berrys influenced guitar and angular version of rhythm and blues beat to form a traditional rooted new wave style. the Cars expressed a sense of allegation from emotional attachments in “My Best Friends Girl”. Once again, these new styles of punk made there way back to the British.

As New York had the CBGBs, England had pubs. This pub rock influenced many artists. Elvis Costello expressed relationships, the insecurity, women, and politics. Costello was also influenced by the different styles of rock music in “Less Than Zero”, he influenced pop rockabilly style, and with reggae in “Watching The Defectives.” Costello began to move away from the pop rock into the new wave. his songs began to deal wiith powere struggles, in “(Wahts So Funny bout) Peace, Loce, and Understanding.” He made songs about relationships such as “Baby Plays Around” but nevertheless still wrote about poltics in “Tramp the Dirt Down” and “Let Him Dangle”.

Other artists begain to be influenced by this change in music style. While Elvis Costello began his career by portraying an extreme example of male insecurity in modern culture, Chrisse Hynde displayed a strong, tough, and yet somewhat vulnerable female image (Charlton, Rock Music, 217). Hynde soon formed The Pretenders which had a heavy strong backbeat and heavy-metal-influenced guitar lines in ehich gave The Pretenders a hard rock sound that was new wave beacuse of Hyndes vocals were generally viod af any sort of tender emotion. The energy, and often the anger, of punk was present, but Hynde made the element of melody, whether it was her singing or Honeyman-Scotts guitar playing,more important than the fast, pounding punk beat. such great melodies can be heaerd in the 1994 album Last of the of the Independents, “Stand By You”.

Messages of song lyrics differed from one style to the other, with punk generally expressing multidirectional anger and new wave displaying a cool, modern, detached approach to life, unaffected by emotional concerns. Both styles were trimmed down from the grandiose rock styles of the seventies, which had created an unbridgeable distance performer and the audience. Punk was a way for teenagers to express their feelings through their music without having to have the technical proficiency to play. They were able to perform music that was meaningful to themselves and to their peers. As punk music has influenced others from its beginning garage band sound, nothing new had happened togay, it still carries those same energetic pulses that in had in the past. Punk is still here, it has set the trend today with its histiric style making it the norm of today.

Bibliography Charlton, Katherine, Rock Music Styles, A History, McGraw-Hill Co., Inc., Boston, Massachusetts, 3rd ED., 1998. Miller, Jim, History Of Rock & Roll, Random House, New York, New York, 1976. Ward, Ed, Stokes, Geoffrey, Ticker, Ken, Rock Of Ages, Summit Books, New york, New York, 1986.


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