Whatever happened to... Punk

Share
Related Topics
Fascist Regime

Twenty years ago this weekend, the Sex Pistols were disintegrating amid recrimination. Yes, the celebrations for the Queen's Jubilee were about to dominate middle England, but the country was still in the full throes of Punk. In the last week of June 1977, the Mirror wrote a piece headlined "Punk Future". On the back of new dole figures, they proclaimed that `"A brave new generation of talent and purpose is turning sour before our eyes. Punk rock is tailor-made for youngsters who feel they only have a punk future."

Spirits in the Material World

But within a couple of years, Punk was gone. The stars who survived proved the movement was dead (Elvis Costello's King of America with its arch character studies; Sting at Live Aid, being urbanely ironic with Dire Straits). Johnny Rotten's Public Image Limited had dwindling audiences and plummeting credibility. Enter "New Wave" acts such as The Jam and the Boomtown Rats. It wasn't until the end of the Eighties that Punk began to stir from its tomb with Nirvana's huge world-wide success with "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and Nevermind.

Nevermind the Offspring

At Glastonbury, bands such as Longpigs, the Chemical Brothers and Daft Punk will carry on some sparks of the flame this weekend. American bands like Green Day and Offspring are self-proclaimed imitators of late Seventies London music. This year, Blur's "Chinese Bombs", a hardcore, thrash-bite, one minute of guitars and shouting, showed that Damon can do more than just rhyme "Balzac" with "Prozac" and badly imitate old hippies like Ray Davis. Punk seems contemporary again. But it is now one of many versions of the contemporary; Blur's album, like so many big-selling artists (see REM's New Adventures in Hi-Fi and U2's Pop) is a mesh of slow trip hop tracks, jolly Beatles-like songs and shows influences from Dylan to Pavement, from Bowie to Sonic Youth. Tamed it may be, but Punk may just still be the future.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Head of Marketing - Acquisition & Direct Reponse Marketing

£90000 - £135000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Marketing (B2C, Acquisition...

1st Line Service Desk Analyst

£27000 - £30000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client who are...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham - Huxley Associates

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Huxley Associates are currentl...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham - Computer Futures

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Computer Futures are currently...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Women-only train carriages would be an insult to both sexes  

Women-only carriages would be an insult to both sexes

Katie Grant
Women-only carriages would be an insult to both sexes  

Women-only carriages would be an insult to both sexes

Katie Grant
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
Witches: A history of misogyny

Witches: A history of misogyny

The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style