Jenny Laurence’s School of Sound: Punk Rock


Jenny Laurence continues her column which aims to educate us on the greatest hits in the last century. This week, she’s introducing us to the wild and revolutionary genre of Punk Rock.

Punk Rock is one of the most listened-to genres on my iTunes – I absolutely love it! It’s not too hard core, amusing at times, fast-paced, and a good foot-tapper. It brings out your rebellious side, and you don’t need a good voice to sing along… Plus, the band names that the groups came up with are absolutely cracking! You’ll know what I mean in a minute.

Punk Rock was developed in the mid 1970s in the UK, the USA, and Australia and stemmed from Garage Rock – it branched, in fact, because the artists were trying to avoid the oncoming mainstream nature of Rock music. Punk Rock became the medium for political opinions from those who abhorred the idea of going grey in suits.

It also formed a cultural shift in the UK which led to youthful rebellion and anti-authoritarian attitudes. Additionally, it brought about a very distinctive fashion wave (as shown in the picture above – pretty hard core.) Punk Rock is still present in today’s music, and I’m so glad.

So first up is a band everyone has heard of – you may even have their name on your tshirts. But do you know their music? It’s The Ramones, with their Number 1 song, Rock N’ Roll High School (1979).

The next song is from a thoroughly British band – you’ll know ‘em. Their music is outrageous. It’s brilliant. And it’s sung by a guy called Johnny Rotten (coincidentally, also the name of my goldfish). It’s the Sex Pistols, with Anarchy in the UK (1974).

Generation X was a band from London that was fronted by Billy Idol. Dancing With Myself (1980) is one of their better-known songs, and when I listen to it, I do often… dance… with myself….

If you’ve seen Shrek 2, you’ll remember it. This is the original, by The Buzzcocks, and it’s Ever Fallen In Love (1978). Love isn’t often featured in Punk Rock, but I thought that some of their other ‘harder’ songs would be better discovered by yourselves…

Another band I particularly like: The Stranglers. They are different in that they include the keyboard in their instruments – not common in Punk Rock, but not atypical either. (What’s great is that they are still producing music.) It’s No More Heroes.

Next up is The Clash with Should I Stay or Should I Go (1982), which reached No. 17 in the UK, and No. 3 in Ireland. It’s a good question.

I was saying that Punk Rock has continued into this millenium – the best example of which is Green Day with my favourite song of theirs, Know Your Enemy (2000) which reached No. 1 in the USA. I just love how present the drums are in their music! (Did you know that they started out in 1994?)

My last song (I know, I’m sad too) is by another current band, The Offspring. They formed in 1984 as Manic Subsidal, but changed to The Offspring and now enjoy a healthy number of records in the Top 100 worldwide. Pretty Fly (For A White Guy) was released in 1998, and reached No. 1 in five countries, including the UK.

(Other Punk Rock bands include: Ian Dury and the Blockheads, Blink 182, The Boomtown Rats, Adam and the Ants, The Damned, Dr Feelgood.)

Photography: by Dr Case on Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0).

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