Ah the great debate, the one that has been tearing friendships apart since the 70’s: Who started Punk Rock?
Punk Rock was born in the 1970’s, on that point most fans can agree. It grew out of “Garage Punk” and incorporated a strong “screw you” attitude towards mainstream rock. Punk was associated with rebellious and anarchist sentiments, and a devotion to free-spirited ideologies. The true essence of Punk though continues to be raging against the establishment and using feelings of anger and outrage to fuel the music.
When you think of Punk Rock, two killer bands must come to mind: The Ramones and The Sex Pistols. The Ramones, from New York City, formed in 1974. The Sex Pistols, from London, England, formed in 1975. These two bands were the first major Punk Rock groups and essentially mainstreamed the genre. You could say that they started Punk Rock as we know it today. But who are the true originators?
The Ramones immediately achieved Punk Rock legend status when they released their very first self-titled album and the smash hit “Blitzkrieg Bop”. Both the album and song feature their signature sound that still drives people wild. To that point, America had never seen anything quite like The Ramones. They quickly became the leaders of the Punk Rock music scene.
The Sex Pistols released their only studio album, entitled Never Mind The Bollocks Here’s The Sex Pistols, in 1977. It quickly became one of, if not the most, influential Punk Rock album ever made. This album contained some very raw outrage and aggression, and these sentiments and themes influenced all the Punk Rock that followed. The album also featured exceptional lyrics and high-energy instrumentals, which also helped to drive its popularity and influence.
While it seems that The Ramones were the first to begin mastering what we would now call Punk Rock, The Sex Pistols snarled their way to fame by taking the existing Punk model and injecting it with more hostility and driving beats. So who are the real original Punk Rockers? You could argue that The Sex Pistols made the genre what it is today by yelling and simply “not giving a shit”. You could also argue that The Ramones made the music what it is by originating the wild-energy instrumentals. Both make total sense.
I suppose I’ll just have to leave the ultimate decision up to you.
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