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What is punk music: meaning and groups
Punk-Rockmusic: what it is, what its meaning is and which groups have written their history and lead it to the present. Punk is the most radical revolution that has upset the world of pop music and, more generally, a certain bourgeois culture of the second half of the 20th century.
Developed in the 70s, it reached its artistic peak between 1976 and 1979, when a strong group of bands proposed a rebellious image and a fast, hard, short, essential and very provocative music. In the last decades, punk has undergone several transformations that developed into a hard-core stream in the 80s and popular in the 90s and 2000s.
The origin of this new genre lies in the sixties, when mainly in North America, but also in England, the so-called garages rocks developed, among which it is worth remembering the Sonics, the Wailers or the famous Kinks, true precursors of the genre with the song You Really Got Me.
Just think of a famous anthem like My Generation, a kind of punk ante-litteram track: the contribution of the music of groups like Lou Reed's Velvet Underground, whose acid distortions and noises were ahead of their time and paved the way not only for punk but also for an extraordinary range of new artistic possibilities, is also of fundamental importance.
The birth of an even rougher and more instinctive genre dates back to 1969, when two fundamental albums were released: Kick Out the Jams by MC5 from Detroit and The Stooges by the eponymous group under the direction of the prototype of punk rock: Iggy Pop. A rebellious momentum begins to grow and spread in America as in England, in Australia as in Latin American countries.
Everywhere and in every genre there's a group that' beginning to show signs of impatience that manifest themselves through the look as well as through the music: punk elements can be found in the New York Dolls, in Devo, in Saints and in dozens and dozens of new formations. But what does the word "punk" mean and when does it start to be used in music?
Before the explosion of the new genre, the noun "punk" was used to describe a "young cheater, a hooligan or even a gangster". In the early 1970s, the same term was used to refer to the very first rebel bands, while in the mid-1970s they freely referred to artists as far away as Patti Smith and Bruce Springsteen.
They' re not the first punk rockers in history anyway. The new genre was born when a handful of New York boys, strongly influenced by the style of Iggy Pop and his companions, decided to form a new line-up after the dissolution of Stooges in 1974, the first real punk group in history: Ramones.
Here is the sound of Blitzkrieg Bop: At this point the story divides. In the orbit of this store a group was born that was destined to break through the barriers of punk in the England of prom bands: Sex Pistols. In 1976 it was they and The Crash who established themselves as the greatest punk bands of the time.
Here's Anarchy in Britain by Johnny Rotten's band: Thus begins the golden three-year period of the movement, with the birth of groups such as Damned, Warsaw by Joy Division, Heartbreakers and Jam, the latter captains of Mod-Revival, who were actually associated with the real punk movement that in the sixties brought the happiness of Who.
The punk explosion in the late 70s also infected California. Here the development of the genre was characterized by an even greater hardness for the music as well as for the lyrics and the image. Between the end of the 70s and the beginning of the 80s, the so-called hard-core punk came into being, which will shape the United States and England for the entire following decade and is again divided into numerous sub-genres.
Among the bands that led to the birth of this new wave are historical groups such as Black Flag, Social Distortion, Dead Kennedy and above all formations that added to all the elements of hardcore a new melodic research that almost became part of the generalstream, such as Rancid, NOFX and Bad Religion.
The melodic lesson of groups like Bad Religion was well received and adopted by Offspring calibre bands, who between the late 80s and early 90s will trigger a new wave of extraordinary importance with their skin punk sound: so-called pop punk.
Indeed, the Ramones had already taken over the popular sounds of groups such as Beach Boys, which not only became the founders of punk, but also the first pop-punk group in history in the 70s. Let's listen to Green Day's Basket Case together: The history of punk is over forty years long and branches out in very different directions.
Punk elements met in the late seventies and all eighties in the so-called New Winds, which combined the ideal punk sound research from various genres: jazzy, reggae, ska, dancing and so on. Even Emokore, who is known as Emokore and exploded between the 80's and 90's (but thanks to bands like Thirty Seconds to Mars he arrived until 2000), can be defined as the son of punk, albeit illegitimate.
In return, Emo has managed to penetrate even genres that are light years away from punk, such as the pitfall that leads to another musical strand. Then there is the so-called post-punk, the musical research that has led bands like Joy Division, but also Public Image Ltd. and New Order from the punk basis to a darker sound, atonal, mysterious and artistic, with great influence from characters like David Bowie.
In short, the punk revolution has arrived everywhere and is still noticeable today. From a very limited label, over the years it has become a way of doing things, a culture (or a series of subcultures) that has influenced music as much as graffiti, fashion and any other art. It is not to be underestimated, all this heritage, also to better understand certain dynamics of contemporary music.