Punk You, Boomer!

 

 

 

Punk: a young male hustle, a gangster, a hoodlum, or a ruffian.

 

Was rock ‘n’ roll turning flabby and bland in the early 1970s? Chuck Berry and Jerry Lee Lewis were old vinyl. Billy Joel and Simon & Garfunkel? Come on, are these guys really rock ‘n’ roll? Not on my dance card, some snarled—our music is being hijacked by corporate execs. Young boomer rockers were agitated and bored.

“I knew that what was needed was some pure, stripped down, no bull…. rock ‘n’ roll” snarled the Ramones founder in 1973.

Punk rock delivered simple, edgy sounds, discordant riffs, confrontational lyrics and an in-your-face style with wild looks to match. It resonated with the latest coming-of-age baby boomers who didn’t mind upsetting older boomer siblings as well as their parents. Instead of The Beatles and Beach Boys you had The Sex Pistols and Dead Kennedys. The new pop culture train smashed through the music gates seemingly overnight. And contrary to common perceptions, this was not just a white thing.

Punk musicians yearned to interact with their audiences, so the infamous “mosh pit” was born – edge-of-violence anarchy at live shows where fans pushed and slammed against one other or jumped recklessly from stage. It fit the hard driving music. You never heard the traditional American Bandstand-type review of a punk song: “It’s got a nice beat and you can dance to it.”

It was a uprising against elite record labels and what was seen as an effort to manipulate consumer conformity. Roots grew from the so-called “garage bands” and a burgeoning do-it-yourself, out-of-the-mainstream energy. Style and zeal were as important as substance. That’s why some critics said of the era: never had so little pop culture talent created so much attention in so short a time.

Punk rock was pure 1970s. The mantra: the hopes and dreams of the baby boomer hippie years have been dashed against Vietnam, Watergate, recession and the rise of the yuppies. Pop music is being homogenized by corporate America, trying to turn everyone into sheep.

In the world of music, it was a rock ‘n’ rock rebellion against itself.

 

Trivia Questions

 

 Punk groups brought offbeat band names to new heights or depths, depending on your perspective. Take the letter “D.” How many of these were real groups?

Dictators
Deviants
Doctors of Madness
Dingbats
Dollyrots
Daggermouths

 

 What’s the next line of this punk rant classic?

Hey ho, let’s go Hey ho, let’s go
Hey ho, let’s go Hey ho, let’s go
They’re forming in straight line
They’re going through a tight wind
The kids are losing their minds…

 

Answers at end of post

 

 


Punk rock looks you can rent today

 

 

 


 

Answers

 

 To the best of my knowledge, the Dingbats were never a group.

 Hey ho, let’s go Hey ho, let’s go
Hey ho, let’s go Hey ho, let’s go
They’re forming in straight line
They’re going through a tight wind
The kids are losing their minds
The Blitzkrieg Bop

The Blitzkreig Bop, The Ramones

 

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