In the early 1970s, the evolution of rock and roll music began to take shape resulting in the creation of several sub-genres. While some bands such as The Eagles embraced folk and country music, others continued to create heavier rock music, giving rise to a genre referred to as hard rock. This continued a growing trend towards more electrically distorted and aggressive rock music that was played by classic artists such as Led Zeppelin, KISS, Van Halen, and Aerosmith. In addition, these bands furthered the use of lead guitars in rock with blistering, skillfull electric solos.
However, as the 1970s drew to a close, several bands pushed hard rock to a whole new level leading to the emergence of a style known as punk rock. This genre was fast, heavy, and mainly dealt with themes of conformity and questioning authority. The band credited with ushering in this new phenomenon were England’s The Sex Pistols who were crude, fast, loud, and questioned various societal norms. Their songs were simple, short, and furious ensuring that they rapidly gained a huge following in England, before worldwide fame followed. Below, we take a look at 3 of the best punk bands of the 1970s as follows:
The Sex Pistols
This punk band generated so much controversy owing to their obscenity-laden clothing, TV appearances, constant infighting, drug habits, and hairstyles that people often forgot how good they were. They made only one proper LP- the 1977 classic Never Mind the Bollocks Here’s the Sex Pistols- but it had such an incredible impact with nearly every song in it becoming a classic. In fact, when they reunited for a performance in 1996, they had enough material from this classic to perform an entire set list devoid of clunkers.
Considered a cursed band by many, the Ramones nonetheless enjoyed a 20- year run in punk rock although they rarely played in venues larger than clubs, never had a single climb higher than position 66 on the charts, and mostly traveled to their gigs by van. Further, their lead singer Joey battled Obsessive Compulsive Disorder all his life while bassist Dee Dee was addicted to heroin. It is, perhaps, for this reason that few people seemed to care when they went their separate ways in 1996 although their legend began to grow a few years later. This was because their music finally started appearing in TV shows and movies, leading to their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Sadly Johnny, Dee Dee and Joey all had their final bows between 2001 and 2004.
Beginning as a traditional punk band, The Clash soon embraced everything from reggae to rockabilly to hip-hop resulting in, arguably, one of the strongest catalogs in the history of rock music- a feat only matched by the legendary Beatles. During the 7 year period in which The Clash played together, they produced what is often regarded as one of the greatest LPs ever made- 1980s London Calling. Sadly, they never got a chance to reunite as Joe Strummer died suddenly following their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.