This weekend I’ll mostly be listening to…Punk at 40! Or is it 42? Or 45? Or… September 17, 2016Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
…for as we know punk wasn’t an event as such but rather a process that rolled across 1974-76, and if one wants one can see it as having roots much earlier than that again in both proto punk and that which came before. The US influence is vitally important too.
But if we do take 1976 as the…er… first full flowering of the movement, then this time of this year has some important anniversaries. While the Pistols first played in November 6 1975 it wasn’t until the following year that they really began to make a stir.
June 1976 saw the Manchester Lesser Free Trade Hall gig by the Sex Pistols which had enormous influence on a raft of people there and arguably spawned one centre of post punk. The Ramones played London on July 4th. The Clash supported the Pistols that night too on their first gig. The Damned debuted as support to the Pistols two nights later. Sniffin’ Glue, the fanzine was first printed the following week. By August there was the first European punk rock festival in France but only the Damned played of the newer punk groups due to the Pistols being banned and others dropping out in solidarity.
As wiki notes, the following month or two saw new groups sprouted up, in London women led groups were particularly evident and in September the 100 Club Punk Festival was held.
And that’s when, in a sense, the story becomes even more interesting because suddenly people beyond those who were able to get to gigs were able to hear most of the music – granted the Ramones debut was already available, released in April 1976. But UK punk itself in all its unvarnished glory wasn’t (except when it was banned). From October 1976 onwards singles and then albums were released, one after the other.
Although, although, if you want a long discussion/conversation/argument as to what was really the first punk single/album, this piece here is a good start. I’m kind of agnostic about that issue. Of the wave that was represented by the Pistols, it seems to me the Ramones and Damned can reasonably share credit for first US and UK singles (and in Australia The Saints deserve enormous credit too releasing their singles in September of ’76). That gap is fascinating, between Ramones very early in the year and then the UK contingent much later. But where to place Patti Smith who while not exactly punk wasn’t exactly not… or a raft of others. Dr. Feelgood, Eddie and the Hot Rods, the 101ers, etc perhaps belong to a very slightly earlier generation as the form was taking shape (all released albums and songs that year, or was the 101ers a year earlier?).
So, for the next while posts will go up marking one or other significant release and/or event in the history of punk in the period 1976 to 1977.
Here’s a tiny handful of the songs out by October 1976. Any other suggestions of punk or punkish songs from that year gratefully accepted – including Eddie and the Hot Rods!
Patti Smith – Gloria (released Jan 1976)
Ramones – Blitzkrieg Bop (released February 1976)
Pere Ubu – Final Solution (released March 1976)
The Saints – I’m Stranded (September 1976)
The Runaways – Cherry Bomb (released in the UK Sept 1976?)