Punk (music)

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Punk rock

Development phase: Mid 1970s
Place of origin: New York City , London
Iggy Pop and The Stooges , The Velvet Underground , MC5 , The Dictators , New York Dolls (early phase)

The Ramones , Sex Pistols , The Clash , The Slits , Dead Kennedys , Television , The Exploited (Hochphase)

Ramones , a punk band from the very beginning

Punk [pʌŋk] (also punk rock or punk rock , even in English-speaking punk rock ) is a style of rock music , the mid-1970s in New York and London , along with the subculture of punk originated. After punk rock had established itself, different styles with their own subcultures emerged. At punk concerts, the pogo, a dance style that went well with the music, developed.

Style features

Punk-Rock is characterized by its trivial, simple, but not unoriginal compositions, which is aptly described by the catchphrase “three chords”. Punk bands typically use the traditional line-up of a rock band , consisting of one or two guitars , bass , drums and vocals . The sound is characterized by overdriven guitar amplifiers, high tempos and a rough, unmodulated singing voice. The texts are confrontational to aggressive, practice social criticism or convey political, philosophical and sometimes explicitly nihilistic content. The guitar parts are mostly limited to distorted power chords or barre chords , instrumental intros before the actual songs as well as pure instrumental pieces hardly occur. According to John Holmstrom, a cartoonist for Punk Magazine , punk rock was "rock 'n' roll by people who didn't have great skills as musicians but still felt a need to express themselves through music."

Social aspects

The punk subculture is determined by the rejection of bourgeois values ​​and social rules and the rebellion against them. Punk music in its original form was a raw and unpolished form of rock 'n' roll and thus distinguished itself from progressive rock, which was perceived as artificial, as well as from disco culture. Tommy Ramone said in this context: “In 1973 I knew that what is needed is pure rock 'n' roll without bullshit.” According to John Holmstrom, “Punk rock had to come because the rock scene had become so tame that acts like Billy Joel and Simon & Garfunkel were called rock 'n' roll, whereas for me and other fans, rock 'n' roll stood for wild and rebellious music. ”In addition, the subculture also rejected“ political idealism and California flower power silliness of the hippie myth ”, says music journalist Robert Christgau. Patti Smith, on the other hand, says in the documentary 25 Years of Punk that hippies and punks were linked by a common anti-establishment mentality. Some punk musicians rejected not only mainstream rock and the culture associated with it, but also the most popular protagonists in the music industry in particular. The Clash proclaimed : "No Elvis , Beatles or The Rolling Stones 1977" (No Elvis, no Beatles or Rolling Stones in 1977). 1977, the Summer of 77 associated with the heyday of the British punk scene, should be a year zero, both musically and culturally. In this sense, the song Punk 80 by the German band Artless, recorded in 1980 and dealt with retrospectively, also contained the lines: “We wanted to break new ground / we let old heroes stand”.

Evolution of punk

Forerunners of punk

Iggy Pop , a godfather of punk

The musical origins of punk rock lay in the raw forms of rock 'n' roll of the 1950s, garage rock of the 1960s, American protopunk, and British glam rock and pub rock of the early 1970s. Influences range from the Stooges , whose singer Iggy Pop is sometimes referred to as the “Godfather of Punk”, to Roxy Music ; the Buzzcocks themselves called the experimental psychedelic rock of the German band Can . As a stylistically important influence, the band Neu! (“Punk before punk”), especially the piece Hero , which hits Neu! '75 was released and already contained all the essential elements of punk.

Beginnings of punk

The term punk rock is first documented in a booklet written by Lenny Kaye for the Elektra Records compilation Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era, 1965–1968 . This garage rock sampler was put together by music producer Jac Holzman and Lenny Kaye, the guitarist and songwriter of the Patti Smith Group .

Garage rock bands from the pre-punk era played simple, mostly short songs, often uptempo cover versions of well-known songs. Lester Bangs wrote of the MC5's debut album, for example , that most of the pieces in their primitive three-chord structures are almost indistinguishable from one another. About half of the songs on the first Ramones album are shorter than two minutes and recorded in 4/4 time with the verse-chorus scheme usual in rock 'n' roll, the singing sounds more like screaming than singing. The following generations partly broke with these structures and new names were coined for their music.

The direct predecessor of punk rock was proto-punk with the extremely influential band The Modern Lovers of founder and lead singer Jonathan Richman , as well as the New York Dolls . Lou Reed with his band The Velvet Underground and the new wave / punk band Blondie , founded in 1974 by Deborah Harry and the songwriter and lead guitarist Chris Stein, are considered at least as influential .

Music manager Danny Fields is considered one of the godfathers of punk . Fields worked for Jac Holzmans Elektra Records from the late 1960s and took a.o. the still unknown MC5 and The Stooges under contract. The band MC5 from Lincoln Park, Detroit, founded in 1964, was one of the most important precursors of punk music and publicly propagated the style-forming creed of sex, drugs and rock'n roll . MC5 and The Stooges served as important and groundbreaking inspirations for the American and British punk movement of the 1970s. In 1975 Fields also discovered the Ramones, who dedicated the title "Danny says" to him on their album End of the Century in 1980 .

From 1974 the punk pioneers Alan Vega and Martin Rev from Suicide , as well as Richard Manitoba , Andy Shernoff and Ross Friedman appeared with their band The Dictators in New York's CBGB . The club founded by Hilly Kristal was the nucleus and scene meeting point for the new New York punk bands and is now a place of pilgrimage for punk rock.

Here punk rock and new wave legends like Tommy Ramone and Joey Ramone found their first opportunity to play in front of an audience with the lyrics by Ramones songwriter Daniel Rey. In 1975 the Ramones were discovered in the CBGB by Danny Fields and recommended to the founders of the Sire Records label , Seymour Stein and Richard Gottehrer . This took the Ramones under contract and released the Ramones debut album Ramones on Sire Records in 1976 . From then on, Seymour Stein and Gottehrer became producers of some bands from the CBGB environment and intensive promoters of the punk rock movement, including the punk legends The Dead Boys and Richard Hell and The Voidoids . Richard Hell was the first to create the typical punk look, consisting of a spiked hairstyle, torn T-shirt and black leather jacket - long before the Sex Pistols .

The Sex Pistols first appeared in November 1975. After a media-effective scandalous interview on the high-rated Bill Grundy show on English television in December 1976, punk also became known in Great Britain. This year bands like the Sex Pistols, Generation X , the Ramones, London SS and The Clash had their breakthroughs. In 1977 punk became a big media phenomenon and The Clash was signed to a £ 100,000 contract by major label CBS Records under the direction of legendary music manager Clive Davis . Before the punk in the UK really took off, and began directly to the sell-off.

Important punk pioneers such as James Osterberg alias Iggy Pop , Lewis Allen Rabinowitz alias Lou Reed , Tamás Erdélyi alias Tommy Ramone (founder, producer and drummer of the Ramones), Jeffrey Hyman alias Joey Ramone , Ramones lyricist Daniel Rabinowitz alias Daniel Rey, Mick Jones (The Clash), Boruch Alan Bermowitz alias Alan Vega (Suicide), Martin Reverby alias Martin Rev (Suicide), Richard Blum alias Richard Manitoba (The Dictators), Ross Friedman (The Dictators), Andy Shernoff (The Dictators), Richard Meyers alias Richard Hell (Richard Hell and the Voivods), Chris Stein (Blondie), Lenny Kaye (Patti Smith Group), Jonathan Richman (The Modern Lovers) are of Jewish descent. Likewise, managers and producers from the first hour of punk such as Daniel Feinberg alias Danny Fields (Iggy & The Stooges, Ramones, Velvet Underground, The Modern Lovers, MC5), Marty Thau (New York Dolls, Suicide), Seymour Stein (Richard Hell and The Voidoids, The Dead Boys), Jacob “Jac” Holzman (The Stooges, MC5), Richard Gottehrer (Blondie, Debbie Harry, Ramones), Malcolm McLaren (Sex Pistols), Bernhard Rhodes (Sex Pistols, The Clash, London SS), Clive Davis (The Clash) and CBGB founder Hilly Kristal . Accordingly, the American author Steven Lee Beeber writes about the Jewish roots of punk: “Punk reflects the entire Jewish history of insecurity and oppression, flight and wandering, belonging and not belonging, always being torn, inside and outside at the same time, well and bad to be part and not part. "

Advancement of punk

The programmatic approach of simplicity, the self-image of the ingenious dilettantes as an affront to musical virtuosity, gave punk music a great boost in its early days, but subsequently led to musicians with little creative potential joining the movement. This was accompanied by commercialization and appropriation as a fashion trend. In the late 1970s and early 1980s punk split into different genres, some of which retained the aggressiveness of the music and the attitude and are still classified as punk, while others diverged so far from their origins that they were no longer be considered a sub-genre of punk. Basically, three styles can be distinguished in the following:

  • Bands that remained true to the musical credo and became increasingly political in their statements, such as The Clash and later the Hardcore movement;
  • Bands that increasingly staged punk as a show, such as the Sex Pistols or the Ramones ;
  • Artists who developed further into other musical fields, but adopted the idea of ​​punk as a counterculture and many of the stylistic devices typical of punk-rock. These include, for example, the styles of New Wave and Independent , which were referred to as post-punk in the early phase .

During this time, among other things, the Oi! , A style of music that also skinheads resonates, the hardcore punk , the anarcho-punk , the folk punk of the Pogues , the psychobilly and the gothic rock , the punk influences with Glam - and psychedelic rock mixed -elements, and death rock, which cannot be clearly separated from it . Some of the new varieties emerged because the old bands of the following generation were too commercial, too dominated by the major labels or not radical enough. Some bands turned to other genres of music, which led to a split in the scene and rivalries between the representatives of the different styles.

Influence on other styles

Influences of hardcore and anarcho-punk can be found in Thrash Metal , Crust - and Grindcore as well as Metalcore . In addition, grunge is considered a subgenre of punk, combined with traditional hard rock and heavy metal of the 1970s.

See also


  • Mark Andersen, Mark Jenkins: Dance of Days . Two Decades of Punk in the Nation's Capital. Akashic, New York NY 2003, ISBN 1-888451-44-0 (English).
  • Peter Belsito, Bob Davis, Craig Lee and Shreader: Hardcore California . A History of Punk and New Wave. Last Gasp of San Francisco, Berkeley CA 1984, ISBN 0-86719-314-X (English).
  • Martin Büsser : If the kids are united . From punk to hardcore and back. 6th edition. Ventil, Mainz 2003, ISBN 3-930559-48-X (first edition: Dreieck-Verlag, Mainz 1995, for the first edition ISBN 3-930559-19-6 ).
  • IG Dreck auf Papier (ed.): No future was yesterday . Punk in Germany. Archive of Youth Cultures, Berlin 2008, ISBN 978-3-940213-45-7 .
  • Legs McNeill, Gillian McCain: Please Kill Me. The Uncensored History of Punk . As told by Lou Reed , John Cale , Patti Smith , Iggy Pop , Debbie Harry , Willy DeVille et al. Hannibal , Höfen 2004, ISBN 978-3-85445-237-9 (English: Please kill me - the uncensored oral history of punk . Translated by Esther Breger, Udo Breger).
  • Craig O'Hara: The Philosophy of Punk. The story of a cultural revolt . 1st edition. Ventil, Mainz 2001, ISBN 3-930559-72-2 (English: The philosophy of punk . Translated by Edward Viesel. With colleagues from Kiola Nordsieck, 3rd edition 2004).
  • John Robb: punk rock . The story of a revolution. Heyne Taschenbuch, Munich 2009, ISBN 978-3-453-67550-6 (English: Punk Rock: An Oral History . Translated by Martin Büsser, Chris Wilpert, German first edition: Punk Rock, the whole story . Ventil, Mainz 2007, ISBN 978-3-931555-76-4 - Original English: Ebury Press, London 2010, ISBN 978-0-09-192467-6 ).
  • Philip Stratmann, Dennis Rebmann: With Schmackes . Punk in the Ruhr area. Henselowsky Boschmann Verlag, Bottrop 2013, ISBN 978-3-942094-33-7 .
  • Steven Lee Beeber: The Heebie Jeebies at CBGB's: The Jewish Roots of Punk . Ventil Verlag, Mainz 2008, ISBN 978-3-931555-64-1 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Dirk Budde: Take Three Chords. Punk rock and the development to American Hardcore . Karben 1997 (dissertation with a focus on music)
  2. Malcolm McLaren: Punk Celebrates 30 Years of Subversion . BBC News, Aug. 18, 2006; Retrieved December 17, 2006.
  3. Tommy Ramone: Fight Club In: Uncut , January 2007.
  4. Malcolm McLaren: Punk Celebrates 30 Years of Subversion . BBC News, Aug. 18, 2006; Retrieved January 17, 2006.
  5. Robert Christgau: Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk , by Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain (review). In: New York Times Book Review , 1996; Retrieved January 17, 2007.
  6. The Clash - 1977
  7. Roger Sabin: Punk Rock: So What ?: The Cultural Legacy of Punk . Routledge, London 1999, p. 101.
  8. Steven Lee Beeber: The Ten Nuggets - Lenny Kaye and the Compilation of the Ten Punk Commandments. Chapter in: The Heebie-Jeebies at CBGB's - A Secret History of Jewish Punk (English), pp. 63–76. Chicago Review Press, Chicago 2006
  9. ^ Lester Bangs : Political Aesthetics . In: Rolling Stone . April 5, 1969 ( rollingstone.com [accessed September 26, 2014]).
  10. youtube.com ( Memento from April 6, 2008 in the Internet Archive ) Youtube-Video Bill Grundy interview with the Sex Pistols
  11. ^ Gray, Marcus (2005). The Clash: Return of the Last Gang in Town (5th revised ed. 2005), p. 216, London: Helter Skelter. ISBN 1-905139-10-1
  12. Schlemihl is a Punk Rocker - A Mainz conference is dedicated to the strategies of Jewish rebels Die Welt from December 15, 2010
  13. How "Jew York" rocks Die Zeit from January 20, 2009
  14. Steven Lee Beeber: The Heebie Jeebies in CBGB's: The Jewish Roots of Punk