A Look Back at Punk Rock


There have been many artists since the 1950’s and beyond that have influenced the bands defining the genre of music known as Punk Rock; a louder, faster, more aggressive, style of rock music that graduated to the forefront of the rock music scene during the 1970’s.

Compositions by bands like the Sonics and The Velvet Underground during the 1960’s conveyed the aggressive garage band sound of Punk Rock. But music prior to 1970 was generally referred to as Proto Punk. Punk Rock is the sound produced by bands after 1970 and is characterized by next-level intensity and aggression, even faster rhythms, interwoven with still greater amounts of socially deviant content.

Proto Punk

The Stooges during the 1960’s developed a progressively harder sound throughout the decade, as many bands did, evolving its rock into the domain of Punk as opposed to a harder more aggressive – mainstream rock sound. The original band members Iggy Pop, Ron and Scott Asheton, and Dave Alexander, became famous for their originality and outrageous live performances.

A Proto Punk band, three African American brothers called Death, are featured in a documentary film called A Band Called Death (2012). They created music with driving punk-sound rhythms and disgruntled social commentary during 1971-1976 and are considered to be pioneers of the genre. Death has cited The Who as the band that inspired them to change their sound from funk into punk.



Punk Rock

Punk Rock, which has its origins in United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom, began during the mid-1970’s, and The New York Dolls is one of the first rock bands known to the genre. The New York Dolls were formed in 1971 and started out playing in the company of the Proto Punk bands like The Velvet Underground. Its original members included David Johansen, Johnny Thunders, Rick Rivets, Sylvain Sylvain, Arthur Kane, and Billy Murcia. Years later, the band was reformed by Sylvain Sylvain which included a batch of new band members.

The genre of Punk Rock continued in fine-tuning and defining itself during the 70’s with the advent of music from bands like The Ramones, The Runaways, and of course The Sex Pistols.

Subsequent to The Sex Pistols in 1975, fans of Punk Rock were encountering acts like The Clash. During this time period, there was increased discussion about the true definition of Punk Rock in terms of hardcore. Many bands like Black Flag and Siouxsie and the Banshees, who were performing on Top of the Pops in 1978, are now more often associated with the mainstream rock and alternative music genres.