When Did Punk Rock Really Start?

While many people associate punk rock as a genre that really took off in the 1970s, it’s a type of music that has been around for much longer than that. In fact, many of today’s punk bands as well as some of the classics probably would not exist had it not been for some of the pioneers in the field.

The biggest question about punk rock involves just when it first came to be. It’s a form of rock music that has been around for a while but at the same time it can be a real challenge to try and figure out just when it first came around.

Can You Place a Year?

Like with just about every other form of rock music, it is next to impossible trace exactly when punk rock first came to be. Some people argue that the formation of bands such as the Sonics and Question Mark and the Mysterians in the early 1960s were a big part of the formation of punk rock. Others say that the Kingsmen’s 1963 hit Louie Louie was a critical part of the history of the genre as well.

The formation of bands like the Small Faces, MC5, the Velvet Underground and the Stooges were also believed to be important to the history of the genre and all those happened in the middle part of the 1960s.

What is certain is that the music from all these bands exists to this day. The big question is just how important they actually were to the development of punk rock as a whole.

What About 1977?

It is completely understandable when people say that 1977 was a huge year for punk rock. After all, many critical things happened in the genre in that year. Essential acts like Blondie, the Clash, Elvis Costello, the Ramones, Iggy Pop, Suicide, Talking Heads, Television and Wire all had influential albums in that same year.

Still, a number of those acts had released albums of their own in the prior year and had started touring around the same time. Acts like the New York Dolls and the Runaways were pretty prominent at the time as well.

What Qualifies?

It’s hard to determine what qualified as punk rock back in the early days. Some might say that it involved music that was done at a fast tempo. Others would say that it has a raw quality to it where it does not seem to be all that refined or under control. Others might even believe that the music that was done beyond the concepts of what society had planned. These include acts that might have been against the establishment as it was.

One thing is for certain that many acts that foot the bill for those descriptions could be interpreted as early punk musicians. Of course, this is all based on what people in particular think about certain acts.

The fact is that it is hard to figure out exactly when punk rock really started. While it’s clear that 1977 was by far the most important year in the development of the genre, it is a form of music that has still been around since long before then and is only going to continue to evolve as time goes along.

Punk Rock is a Greatly Diversified Genre

While many people have associated punk rock as a genre that is closely associated to people playing in their garages and making quick songs and strong sounds, the fact is that punk rock has diversified itself into so many different forms over the years. It’s amazing how punk rock had expanded over the years and has incorporated many interesting aspects with regards to how it works.

Punk Moves to New Wave

New wave is a style of music that became huge in the 1980s and involved dance-influenced beats and more electronic sounds in a more polished fashion. This became popular with acts like Blondie, Devo, the Cars and the Talking Heads. It’s an interesting way to see how it kind of made punk rock less intimidating but still brought out fans with some dance-worthy rhythms and memorable tunes.

A Darker Tone

Some people went a little darker with their punk rock over time and brought it into the post-punk world. It was a more underground type of music form that brought in the electronic sounds of krautrock with grittier tones. It was highly influential to the development of alternative rock music as well. While there are many great post-punk bands out there, it’s hard to top Gang of Four, Sonic Youth and Joy Division in terms of its development.

Hardcore punk could be seen as another form of punk that really has a darker tone since it is much heavier and often involves more extreme topics that relate to political views. Bands like Fear and Bad Brains certainly fit the bill here.

Anarchist punk rock even took things into a darker tone as it created a real anti-establishment approach to society where the current system is seen as improper and obsolete. Bands like Crass were particularly noteworthy for their views against society and Chumbawamba even told some people to shoplift their albums.

It’s Not Always Dark

It is amazing how punk rock has diversified itself to include some brighter tones. This comes in the form of pop-punk, a style that blends the rough nature of punk music with smoother and cleaner tones that could easily fit in with practically any mainstream radio station. While it’s true that the lyrics of bands like Bad Religion, the Descendents and Green Day are not always complimentary about life and society, they are still packaged in tones that are very enthusiastic and fun to listen to.

A Diverse World

Like with any other form of rock music, punk rock is truly one that has diversified. There are many other forms of punk music to talk about but it would take all day to go through them all. People can talk about the emotional aspects of emo music, the female-led riot grrrl music style or the gay-friendly queercore movement, for instance. There’s also the development of punk rock that has strong country undertones to it as well. Some bands, particularly those in Europe or New England, are even highly influenced by Celtic sounds.

Still, one thing is for certain that punk rock music is going to continue to evolve over time with all sorts of interesting styles that are worth exploring. It is a vast world that is certainly worth exploring.

Can Punk Be Influenced By Other Genres?

Every musical genre can be impacted by one another. It’s amazing how vast the influences of some acts might be based on what they listen to and what they are exposed to the most. Today punk rock can be impacted by a number of different types of genres even if they are far away from what punk originally was made to be.

These are often referred to as fusion genres. While it’s true that they are certainly not for every single person, it’s still amazing to see how all these genres work and how fun they can really be.

A Mix with Metal

Punk and metal have been at it for a while as they’re both different genres. Still, there is no reason why people cannot mix them with one another. Today punk rock can be mixed with metal to create some heavier sounds that especially fit in with both crowds. Of course, marketing it can be a challenge to some but it is one that is worthwhile.

R&B Influences are About

Old-school R&B is often utilized in some forms of punk music as well. The dance-based grooves of old-school tones and the horns in some of these songs may be used in punk music to create dance-worthy sounds. This is especially the case for those who create ska bands. They do this to make their sounds more accessible to those who prefer a more dance-worthy style of punk music.

The World Inspires It All

There are many cases where people are heavily inspired by world music when making punk. This is predominantly the case for those who are originally from particular countries where certain forms of music are popular and also for those who live in areas where the populations of certain people who like particular forms of music are very large. This is especially evidenced in the development of gypsy punk music that uses Eastern European influences or Celtic punk that is highly inspired by Irish music.

A Lighter Style

Not all people who listen to punk and make music are inspired by heavier genres. Some are inspired by country music and have created punk bands that are made with a style and attitude similar to what people head in traditional country songs. In addition, others have made bands that combine folk music with punk rock music.

What About Electronic Music?

Electronic music could be added in some punk bands as well. Electronic music has been utilized by many bands to create some artificial sounds that are futuristic and easy to dance to. The results can vary by each band but the ones that can pull it off the right way are the ones that are really talented and can show off quite a bit of skill in the process.

The amazing thing about punk rock is that it can be influenced by so many different genres. It is truly amazing to see how this form of music can change, especially since it can be next to impossible to figure out just where the genre is going to head into next. This is certainly a type of music that is based off of many other forms of music and is highly entertaining for all to listen to.