Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Sidebar: A Brief History of Punk

Update, Nov. 4, 2006: Added reference to East Coast hardcore to the timeline. Happy now? :)

I put together this timeline as a possible sidebar for Chapter 1. I'm also working on an accompanying podcast, which should be ready later today or Wednesday, Oct. 25. The accompanying podcast is up and running. - AC

Uncovering the origins of punk may be as fruitless a quest as the search for the Holy Grail. But to lend some perspective to the discussion, here’s a brief timeline of key dates in the history of punk.

The Velvet Underground1965-1968 – The Velvet Underground (at right) record a demo tape at member John Cale’s Manhattan apartment. In Detroit, the MC5 and Iggy Pop and the Stooges form.

1970 – Nick Tosches coins the term “punk rock” to describe the sounds of groups like the Stooges. The Stooges release Funhouse.

1971 – Patti Smith performs punk-like poetry readings in St. Mark’s Church on New York’s Lower East Side.

1973 – The New York Dolls release The New York Dolls, perform in New York clubs like Max’s Kansas City.

Punk magazine1975 – The Ramones perform at CBGB’s in New York City; the Sex Pistols form in London; Patti Smith records Horses; John Holmstrom, Greg Dunn and Eddie “Legs” McNeil create Punk magazine to chronicle New York’s burgeoning new music scene.

1976 – The Ramones release their debut album, Ramones, and perform in England on July 4; the Sex Pistols release the single “Anarchy in the UK”; British punk bands the Buzzcocks, the Clash and the Damned form; Blondie, Talking Heads and others perform regularly at CBGB’s; the Sex Pistols’ controversial first appearance on live television ignites a firestorm.

Sex Pistols1977 – The Sex Pistols release the single “God Save the Queen” – rhyming “queen” with “fascist regime” – on the Silver Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II; Blondie, the Clash, Elvis Costello, Talking Heads and Richard Hell and the Voidoids all release debut albums; the Sex Pistols release Never Mind the Bollocks; the Sex Pistols begin a tour of the United States.

1978 – The Sex Pistols break up after their final concert of the U.S. tour, January 14; disco commandeers the airwaves with top singles “Staying Alive” and “Night Fever” by the Bee Gees, “Boogie Oogie Oogie” by Taste of Honey, and a remake of “MacArthur Park” by Donna Summer; led by Sting, reggae-inspired British pop band the Police release their debut album, Outlandos d’Amour; ex-Sex Pistol bass player Sid Vicious is arrested and charged with murdering his girlfriend, Nancy Spungen, in New York City.

1979 – Blondie becomes the first group from the CBGB’s scene to score a number one hit with “Heart of Glass”; Sid Vicious dies of a heroin overdose in February; the Clash release London Calling in December.

1980 – “Hardcore” punk takes root on the West Coast with bands like Black Flag in Los Angeles and the Dead Kennedys in San Francisco. On the East Coast, D.C. becomes a hardcore hotspot with the emergence of Bad Brains and Minor Threat. Minor Threat spawns the straight edge movement.

1990Rolling Stone magazine names London Calling the best album of the 1980s.

1991 – Seattle grunge-rock band Nirvana releases Nevermind, an homage to the Sex Pistols' one and only album.

1996 – The Velvet Underground is inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

2002 – The Ramones and Talking Heads are inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Rolling Stone2003 – The Clash, Elvis Costello and the Attractions, and the Police are inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The reconstituted Sex Pistols, with original bass player Glen Matlock, go on tour. John Lydon, aka Johnny Rotten, joins the cast of reality-TV show “I’m A Celebrity...”. Rolling Stone magazine’s end-of-year compilation of rock’s 500 greatest albums includes six punk discs in the top 100: The Clash’s London Calling (No. 8) and The Clash (77); Ramones by the Ramones (33); the Sex Pistols’ Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols (No. 41); Horses, by Patti Smith (44), and This Year’s Model, by Elvis Costello (98).

2004 – John Lydon quits the cast of the reality-TV show “I’m a Celebrity...”. Green Day releases American Idiot, a politically charged punk-rock opera that sells 3.4 million copies in its first seven months.

2005 – A year after its release, American Idiot sells more than 10 million copies worldwide.

2006 – The Sex Pistols are inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame but decline to attend, posting a crudely written rejection of the Hall on their website: “Were not coming. Were not your monkeys and so what? Fame at $25,000 a table, or $15,000 to squeak up in the gallery, goes to a non-profit organisation selling us a load of old famous. Congradulations. ... Your not paying attention.”

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Blogger quackery said...

you forgot east coast hardcore minor threat and bad brains etc.

12:34 PM  
Blogger Andrew said...

Quackery, you're right. I need to plug them in to the timeline. The D.C. and other East Coast hardcore bands played a big role in transforming punk.


7:46 AM  
Blogger Natsthename said...

Patti is nominated for the rock hall..along with Van Halen and REM. She should get in on the first vote!

Love the timeline!

2:15 PM  
Blogger Thin Black Duke said...

Great timeline, but yeah, you gotta let the East Coast hardcore bands represent.

11:43 AM  
Blogger Andrew said...

D.C. hardcore is there now. Happy?

3:46 PM  
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