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date: 23 February 2020

Punk rocklocked

  • Allan F. Moore


An aggressive style of rock that was part of a deeply contradictory movement initiated in London by Malcolm McLaren in 1975. Having managed the US glam rock band the New York Dolls, McLaren moulded the Sex Pistols, gaining them notoriety through astute management. The music blended established techniques of instrumentation, forms and chordal repertory, but articulated them with abandon and ferocity. From pub rock bands like Eddie and the Hot Rods came simple chord structures and a disdain for slick performance; from American precursors like Iggy Pop and Lou Reed came challenging lyrics and a sense of confrontation; echoes can be found of the Who and the early Kinks in an aggressive instrumental attack and use of minimal riffs. Many bands, such as the Sex Pistols and the Stranglers, publicly espoused nihilism which, in the case of the Gang of Four, the Fall and Siouxsie and the Banshees, gave rise to musical experimentation, while others, including the Damned and the Rezillos, employed a reckless humour which simultaneously celebrated and derided tacky bourgeois values. The Clash's refusal of apparent polish initially qualified them as punk, but they represented a more genuine, radical, proletarian streak. By the end of ...

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