Johnny Rotten, Sex Pistols
Punk rock music got its definitive start in the early to mid-1970’s with the Ramones and the Sex Pistols, though some would argue that punk music was already beginning in the formation of early 1960’s bands like the Velvet Underground and the Sonics. Certainly much of the music of those early bands was just as characterized by fast-paced guitar, stripped down chords and subversive lyrics as those who are credited with getting things started in punk rock in the mid-70’s.
While some say the punks and the hippies were completely different cultures, the music which has come to be known as punk rock sprung to life out of some of the very same principles that caused the hippy movement. People were dissatisfied with the government, with the school systems, with authority in general. In both movements, the music fueled the mood. While the hippies looked at music as a way to spread love and peace as much as a tool to get their message across, punks used music to fuel their aggression. The punks’ pursuit, their rebellion against “The Man”, was not peace and love, it was chaos and anarchy.
Aside from the rebellion aspect of it, punk rock music was a musical genre fed by a desire to get away from the trumped up productions many songs had started to become. Punks wanted rock music that was short, raw and to the point, instead of the over-produced booty-shaking disco that was starting to flow from the airwaves. It was no longer about how long and melodious you could make a free-flowing guitar solo. It was about how fast and hard you could play any instrument, including your voice. It wasn’t about getting people onto the dance floor. It was about turning the dance floor into a school yard rumble.