The original punk rock explosion of the 1970s was two things. First, it was a major reset for rock’n’roll. Think of it as a great musical decluttering. Punk wasn’t revolutionary; it was actually reactionary. The music was stripped back and everyone went back to the basics.
Second, there was a shift in attitude. One of the central tenets of punk was that if you had the guts to say something, then do it. And if no one wanted to help you, well, then, do it yourself.
Taken together, these two principles resulted in what can be described as the Big Bang for what soon be called “alternative music.” Punk set off chain reactions of new ideas, new sounds, new attitudes, new fashion, new belief systems, and generally new ways of doing things.
The gloves were off, rules were broken, concepts were explored, and unintended consequences happened. We now look back on this great post-punk explosion of the late 70s and early 80s as an era that created so many of the basic foundations of today’s music. There was New Wave, technopop, industrial, goth, and the ska revival. Those were the major genres to emerge. But there was more. A lot more.
Songs heard on this program:
- REM, Pretty Persuasion
- Joy Division, Love Will Tear Us Apart
- Cocteau Twins, Pearly-Dewdrops Drops
- Jesus and Mary Chain, Just Like Honey
- Talking Heads, Life During Wartime
- Pil, This is Not a Love Song
- Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, Burning Rubber
- Bangles, Hero Takes a Fall
- Human League, (Keep Feeling) Fascination
- Dead Kennedys, Holiday in Cambodia
Here’s Eric Wilhite’s playlist
The Ongoing History of New Music can be heard on the following stations:
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