Talk:Punk rock/Archive 1

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Missing from this article is the origin of the use of the word "punk" to describe the music. So far, it says it was used to describe the Stooges, etc. but I think that was after the fact. When was "punk" used to describe what was happening in '76?? Peace.

In the book Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk, it is claimed that Legs McNeil (founder of Punk magazine) coined the term 'punk' to describe the genre. Does anyone know more? ~Resister 10:35 May 31, 2004 (UTC)

12/08/02 -- OK. Someone has really messed with this page. "PRE-PUNK?"...Oh, please. Is that really necessary? Work the references into the essay, if you must. But this list thing has become exhaustive to the point of absurdity.

Someone (else) edit the page...I have a headache just looking at it.

1-There's no need to use all caps. 2-If you have information, why don't you edit? 3-Why not sign your name? -- Zoe
    • 1-OK, I edited my comments and took out all caps. 2-I have a lot of information, but I still have the aforementioned headache. It took a lot of energy to edit my own comments, anyway. 3-Because I am shy. Thank you


I think the lists serve a purpose- many subjects (eg, flowers, herbs, painters, recipes, etc) have a separate 'list of' page, acting as a handy index, I suppose separate pages could be set up for 'list of pre-punk bands', 'list of first wave punk bands', 'list of punk films', etc, etc, all linked from the punk rock page (I've already set up separate pages for Anarcho-punk and Post punk), but OTOH it's quite convenient that they are all on the same page.... Tho I agree it's starting to look cluttered... BTW, one person's 'second wave' punk band might be another's 'first wave', depending on how long their career lasted (eg, Dead Kennedies), but there's no reason why such bands can't be included in both lists... So do we clear the lists from the punk rock page to be replaced by links to separate relevant 'list of' pages for the various headings? What do other's think?? quercus robur 19:29 Dec 9, 2002 (UTC)
I'm afraid I've acted unilaterally as nobody seemed to object to the idea of setting up links to the 'list' pages and moving the lists accordingly(OK, so nobody said they thought it was a good idea either, but there y'go...), the ever growing lists are now on separate pages which may or may not be easier to add to, but will at least kep the main 'punk rock' page cleaner and less cluttered... I've also moved all the links so that each list page also has the other links to relevant areas quercus robur 18:30 Dec 13, 2002 (UTC)
NICE WORK, QUERCUSROBUR! :) --George S.

Who's really punk flame war:

Well, its coming, inevitably. What can anyone do about it?

Perhaps the most punk thing someone could do is to have two extremely angry people screaming at each other about who is really punk... or is that the least punk thing to do?

Changed "West coast" To "allmost anywhere" on my edit.


Limiting punk to 1976-1980 is a blatant falsehood and based on nothing more than the same mania for encapsulating intellectual or cultural movements into neat historical periods that lying states that surrealism ended in 1945, or 1966, or whatever (all evidence to the contrary!). --Daniel C. Boyer

  • Yeah, I never liked strict time frames like that, either. Movements and scenes flow into one another more loosely. But I wouldn't go so far as to call it a "blatant falsehood" or mania to distinguish that first explosion of punk rock around '76 to '80 onto the music scene from later scenes that carried the baton.

Is it really necessary to have such a huge list of "important bands?" After all, important bands like The Birthday Party and Gang of Four aren't even on it, but I don't suggest that they be added, necessarily. Maybe a lot of these bands (like the Adverts, The Cramps, etc.) can be woven into the essay.

Just a thought.


I've added a separate entry for post punk which is perhaps a more appropriate place for birthday party, fang of gore (as we used to call them back in the day...) etc, also a separate sub-page for anarcho-punk- it's a bit of a 'stub' at the momemnt, but as its a field I'm particularly interested in I'll hopefully be developeing it (and so will others I hope) over time, there was a hell of alot of music that came out of that area which deserves to be remebered and documented (IMHO at least...)

Cheers quercus robur


Does anybody have any qualms about moving this to punk? The only non-musical use of the term is clothing and whatnot, and that can and should be discussed here (though a more specific article at punk fashion would be fine with me, even though Johnny Rotten would probably turn over in his grave at the idea of "punk fashion" being worth discussing). Tokerboy 06:08 Feb 6, 2003 (UTC)

Punk is a person and a lifestyle. I think they should stay separate. -- Zoe

There is also the concept of a punk subculture. I don't think any one of the three can unequivocally lay claim to punk.
I guess I just don't see what could be at punk (which redirects here) that should be instrinsically separated from the music, which is pretty clearly the dominant meaning of the word, I think. Everything else is related but different from the form of music. Tokerboy
I agree that punk is an attitude and not necessarily a style of music, but personally i'd vote for leaving Punk as a redirect page to punk rock, otherwise I can envisage a whole new article emerging that will duplicate lots of stuff that's already at the punk rock article, including yet another list of every punk band and their dog being appended onto the end :-) quercus robur 12:57 Feb 6, 2003 (UTC)

Deletion of Nu-Metal from the related genres listing

(Sorry about that, Tokerboy. I'm rather new to the project and I didn't think I needed to explain what seemed to me to be such a simple and obvious correction, but here goes:)

The only way in which Nu-Metal can be considered a related genre of Punk is if one considers that both Nu-Metal and Punk are subgenres of Rock & Roll. But the way I understand it, the list of related genres is intended to include only directly related genres (and if that is not the case, then it should be). Thus, psychobilly is acceptable, since it is a fusion of Rockabilly and Punk (hmm, I better add that). But Nu-Metal (being a combination of hip-hop and metal), is not an immediate relative of Punk, and thus does not qualify for our purposes.

I hope this explanation satisfies you, but if not, please respond and we'll discuss it further. Misfit 03:50 Feb 13, 2003 (UTC)

Not sure why you directed it at me... I try to stay away from judging what is punk and what isn't due to a general aversion to flame wars. I think I agree with your change. I also think I know which anonymous user added it (the KROQ guy) and he does all sorts of bizarre things, like classifying Rush as one of the original punk bands and whatnot. In conclusion, it doesn't bother me in the slightest. Tokerboy

Always nice to see the cover of London calling, however some have argued that this album marks the point where the Clash 'ceased any longer to be a punk band', therefore p'raps the cover of their first album might be a more appropriate image for this page... or am I just being awkward??? :-) quercus robur 09:17 Apr 12, 2003 (UTC)

I thought about it, but I decided to go with London Calling for two reasons:
  1. It's the only Clash cover uploaded currently (AFAIK)
  2. The satirical reference to Elvis' album cover could probably be used to make a useful point about punk (even if it is only debatably a punk record)

If you upload The Clash or something, then that takes care of the first point, so I won't be bothered terribly if you replace it. I just thought some photos would liven things up a bit. Tuf-Kat

No problem- my scanner only goes up to A4 so i couldn't fit my Clash album cover in anyway... London Calling is probably the best album cover ever, so i'm happy to leave it, like i said I was just being picky :-) quercus robur

  1. Terrific article!
  2. The Ramones started in 1974 and IMHO should perhaps be featured more prominently regarding the origins of the genre.
  3. I detect a bit of bias towards the UK in this article. Often the relevance of the early 1980s in the US is ignored. Many people with a UK bias feel that Punk “died” in the late 1970s with songs dropping off the charts, declining record sales and the major record labels dumping all of the acts. That being a contingent of whether the genre was alive or dead certainly goes against the entire DIY / anti-establishment philosophy, which was alive and well in the US for the entire decade of the 1980s and onward. -- echidna

Nu metal is not a relative of punk - garage rock is, and should be listed...Britpop had some link to punk via the influence of the Jam on 90s UK groups


Removed the following from article. If any of it is worth NPOVing please feel free to edit and re-insert;

Since the new wave of Avril Lavigne fans that have swept the nation, punk has become moderately mainstream. Unfortunately,most of these "punks" don't realize what they're getting into. These kids don't realize that the anarchy symbol they're wearing represents the absence of government and the possibilty of total and utter chaos. Today's kids simply wear it because everyone else is.They also don't realize that a true anarchist wouldn't shop at Hot Topic. A true anarchist wouldn't support a corpation like Hot Topic. And the bands these "posers" (for lack of a better word) listen to sound more adjacent to Britney Spears or N* SYNC rather than real bands like Black Flag or the Dead Kennedys. If these people ever saw bands like the Sex Pitols, they would see that they wore swastikas, and bands like the Casualties openly declared themselves communists. But these artists didn't wear swastikas because they were Anti- Semetic or because it was cool, they wore the symbols to aggravate society. Something tells me that people buying anarchy memorbelia today are simply trying to be popular and not realizing how ignorant they really are. In the past, punk has been a way to rebel against society and sometimes government. But now it has become another way to be part of the "in" crowd.

quercus robur 17:17, 26 Nov 2003 (UTC)


The following was added by 198.81.26.112 at 22:26, 10 Dec 2003 and reverted by User:Quercusrobur at 10:16, 11 Dec 2003, with the reversion marked as minor & without explanation. I presume it was removed because some of it is POV and because the writer obviously has only indifferent skill with the English language, but I think it was substantive enough that it deserved to be moved here to the talk page rather than rendered invisible:

Nonetheless, punk rock's existential and enternal beauty is that it means whatever you want it to mean. The music itself may or may not be anti-pop, but "punk" was truly meant to be a way of life; a euphora. Some may argue this, but in rebute, one who argues this cares way to much about the subject to be "punk" anyway.
At the time of bands like the Sex Pistols punk rock anarchists took on a specific style relevant the the attitude of "I really could care less." Back then if one was "punk" one dressed in the way of a warrior against status quo with colored hair and metal chains. The truth is, and Johnny Rotten himself would agree, that once punk became a force, it became exactly the opposite of what it was meant to be, a stereotype.
Simply put, punk is the only word that can truly define the lifestyle of against the grain. What this means to the individual is, and will always be up in the air. Blend this idea with any musical thought and you get "punk rock."
Nobody really cares, and that is why punk rock is a beautiful form of music.

All of this is way too POV, but it drives at some points that probably deserve to be engaged:

  1. Isn't there a need to acknowledge the irony of writing an encyclopedia article about Punk rock (or, for that matter, Dada)?
  2. There is a specifically Dionysian strain in punk that is shortchanged in the article. Even such basically intellectual New York progenitors of punk as the Patti Smith Group were looking for something explosive in punk that is shortchanged in the article. By the time punk reached London, it had taken on elements of working class anger and a "chaotic anarchist" attitude that is barely touched on in the article as it stands.
  3. There was a dramatic and difficult tension between the punk ethos and what punk became, especially in the UK where the punk movement was seriously rebellious from day one, but where precisely by tapping into the anger of working class youth it became a major commercial success, and many bands had to grapple with the contradictions between their outsider attitude and their new position in life.

I'm not going to try to take that into the article myself, but I hope it provides some grist for the mill. Jmabel 07:12, 22 Dec 2003 (UTC)


Back to the origin of the term "punk" to refer to music: the earliest use I'm aware of is Lenny Kaye in 1972 in the liner notes of Nuggets, referring to what, up till then, had been generally referred to as "garage bands. Does anyone know an earlier usage? Shortly after this, Lenny Kaye began performing with Patti Smith, certainly part of the emerging New York punk scene before there was a London punk scene, so this leads directly to the use of the term by the bands we now know as punk.

This is obviously a controversial subject, so I'd like to leave a few days for anyone to reply with an earlier citation before I mention it in the article. Jmabel 07:36, 22 Dec 2003 (UTC)

I see a claim at http://www.audioasylum.com/audio/music/rock/messages/24843.html that Lester Bangs used the term in his famous 1971 essay "Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung". Not the 1988 book that takes that essay as its title, it would only be relevant here if it's in the essay itself (or something else predating Kaye's use). I read that 20+ years ago and don't have a copy available. Can anyone verify that? A quick search at Amazon turns up the phrase "punk bands started cropping up who were writing their own songs but taking the Yardbirds' sound" at a page number that is probably from the right essay (p.7). That would be a use worth mentioning, but if that's the only use in the essay it's more just precursor to Kaye's more fleshed out writing. http://www.sfbg.com/AandE/fullcircle/50.html also credits Bangs with coining the term, but gives no details.Jmabel 07:59, 22 Dec 2003 (UTC)

Jmabel said above;

The following was added by 198.81.26.112 at 22:26, 10 Dec 2003 and reverted by User:Quercusrobur at 10:16, 11 Dec 2003, with the reversion marked as minor & without explanation. I presume it was removed because some of it is POV and because the writer obviously has only indifferent skill with the English language, but I think it was substantive enough that it deserved to be moved here to the talk page rather than rendered invisible:

Guilty as charged... the reason I removed it was because it looked iredeeemably POV to me (even though it actually reflects my own POV!), but I agree I should have moved the text to the talk page rather than simply revert. If you (or anyone else) feels that passage can get the ol' NPOV treatment successfully and then be re-integrated into the article please go ahead, I certainly wouldn't object, Cheers quercus robur 18:21, 22 Dec 2003 (UTC)

I totally understand. I suspect that anyone wishing to do so would do better to work from my paraphrase & comments. Jmabel


Perhaps I'm stating the obvious, but I've just removed Adam and the Ants from a list of groups that "exemplified" punk. I'd class them as "new romantics", which is very far from punk. They were certainly a talented band, but punk? With elaborate, deliberate "movie pirate" make-up and costuming and tight, professional musicianship? If this is punk, is there anything form late 70s early 80s Britain that is not? -- Jmabel 00:17, 29 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Remember, that many of the 'punks' in the UK music scene were experienced musicians (specifically members of The Clash, The Dammed, and The Stranglers.) As for Adam and The Ants, I think that you fairly state that the first album was a punk rock album. Yours -- Two Halves, you know, the one who never bothers to log in much...
Agreed on all counts. But how many people, when the think of Adam and the Ants, think of "Dirk Wears White Socks"? The operative word there was "exemplified". Also, while I agree with you on the musicianship of The Clash, The Dammed, and The Stranglers (and the Dead Kennedys, for that matter), their styles tended to deliberately obscure rather than emphasize that technique. - Jmabel 00:52, 29 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Can somebody who knows punk music please have a look at the first two paragraphs of constraint, and fix them if necessary? It states that "constraint have recorded the most acclaimed punk album of, arguably, the century." Thanks. -- Jitse Niesen 16:03, 22 May 2004 (UTC)


Someone who knows fan sites should determine whether the link to unixpunx.org and the accompanying blurb belong here or are wikispam. -- Jmabel 09:09, 2 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Looked like crap to me. If it's legit, someone make an argument for it here ~Resister 12:29, 2 Jun 2004 (UTC)

A recent edit

The following:

At least as important as the music, however, was the associated punk culture. Highly theatrical punk fashion, which outraged many observers at the time, was characterized by severe haircuts, such as the mohawk, body piercing (often with safety pins) and conversion of items such as bin liners and thrift store remnants into clothing. "Punk chic" has since been largely absorbed by the mainstream.

Was replaced by:

The punk phenomenon was never 'just' music. Its power comes from a whole-hearted rejection of prevailing values and modes. Highly theatrical punk fashion, for instance, which outraged many observers at the time, was characterized by the use of cosmetics and an approach to fashion that typically re-created received objects such as shirts as artistic statements. Intense individual expression was the hallmark of real punks. Eventually the mainstream parodied the efforts of punks as "Punk chic" - an example of which is the invention and popularisation of hair gel, an effect striven for by punks for years before some hairdresser decided they could cash-in by making a purpose-specific gunk.

This change is not all bad, but it's not all good. I leave it to someone else to work out how to merge the two, but I'd hate to lose "severe haircuts, such as the mohawk, body piercing (often with safety pins) and conversion of items such as bin liners and thrift store remnants into clothing," which seems far more on the mark than talking about the later degeneration of this very strong anti-aesthetic into mere chic. -- Jmabel 01:55, Jul 3, 2004 (UTC)

Epitomes

Television was recently added to the passage about bands that "epitomize" punk. Great band, but I don't think nearly as well-known as the others listed (anyone who knows needs an explanation of "punk" isn't going to know this band). Also, really, they were not all that punk, even though they had the same audience; with all due respect, they were a bit arty to "epitomize" punk. -- Jmabel 21:12, Jul 16, 2004 (UTC)

I agree, as important as they were, Television did not sound "punk" at all and in the late 1970s, they were ridiculed by people like Mick Jones of The Clash, for playing long, "pretentious" songs.Grant65 (Talk) 01:38, Jul 17, 2004 (UTC)
Precisely. I'm going to revert that. I would hope that if whoever put it there wants to restore it they will make a case here rather than just revert me. -- Jmabel 04:58, Jul 17, 2004 (UTC)

suggested cuts

I think the Lester Bangs quote adds nothing at this point and should be cut. -- (unsigned but appears to be User:BTfromLA)

The Lester Bangs quote is our earliest citation for the use of the word "punk" to refer to a style of rock music (as it happens, one quite similar to what eventually became known as punk rock). It leads to the Lenny Kaye usage, which probably leads straight to the modern usage. I think it's highly relevant. It was added in answer to the discussion above, about the origin of the term. Given especially that Bangs himself was a progenitor of the punk attitude, I think it certainly should stay. --

Jmabel 18:12, Jul 18, 2004 (UTC)

Bangs is an important figure, but there's no reason to believe that his is the first use of the term, nor is it a particularly interesting quotation. If that line were removed, the entry would read better--connecting Kaye's use of the term to a discussion of Punk's roots--and what would be lost? Much as one likes Bangs, the overall writing will be improved by editing him out. Try it.--BTfromLA 23:52, 19 Jul 2004 (UTC)
I think that someone turning to an encyclopedia article on punk rock might be looking for the origin of the term. I'm pretty sure Kaye would have known the Bangs usage: Kaye was a critic at the time, and Bangs was a prominent critic. I've never seen an earlier citation, but obviously if you can find one it would be appropriate to remove the Bangs quote in favor of the earlier citation. -- Jmabel 06:09, Jul 20, 2004 (UTC)
Did a little research, and this Dave Marsh use is repeatedly cited as the first. So I made some changes, including dropping the "covers" paragraph. What do you think?-- --BTfromLA 02:17, 21 Jul 2004 (UTC)

"New Wave" was not derived from Punk. They emerged simultaneously. Television and Blondie, the first two acts from the CBGBs scene to make records, are both better understood as "New Wave" than "punk," right? Likewise, Talking Heads were an early entry in that scene (one might also add Patti Smith), and Elvis Costello emerged around the same time as the UK punks. At the time, the line between punk and new wave was often confusing, and sometimes the terms were used interchangably; indeed, it could be argued that they were one movement, not two, or that Punk is a subset of "New Wave". But unless you are willing to argue that Talking Heads, etc., are Punk Rock, "New Wave" has to be understood as a parallel development with Punk.--BTfromLA 02:47, 25 Jul 2004 (UTC)

I see your point. I was thinking more about the new wave "scene" deriving from the punk rock "scene" than one type of music deriving from the other. There was an identifiable scene, calling itself "punk" as early as '76-'77. At this time, the term "new wave" wasn't even around, and the bands that eventually would be scene as the progenitors of new wave were perceived as part of the punk scene. Certainly Patti Smith and Blondie both were (Penthouse magazine ran a cover story on Deborah Harry calling her "Punk Princess", and the early Patti Smith group embraced the term "punk"). Elvis Costello was pretty much considered part of the Pub Rock scene, definitely not punk, though occasionally overlapping for venues (and with some people, like Wreckless Eric, riding the line between the two); this UK distinction was not prevalent in the U.S. Listening now to the Talking Heads (or Blondie) it's weird that anyone considered them part of punk, but they did. Hell, Madonna was briefly thought of as punk. On musical grounds, you listen to the stuff they were doing and, with the concept of "new wave" being familiar, that's clearly what they are, but at the time, they were thought of as part of punk. So it's a tricky question: did new wave, as a distinct recognized genre, "derive" from an earlier undifferentiated punk scene, or did it grow up in parallel and just take longer to be recognized as a distinct phenomemenon? I notice that we also list it as a "subgenre"; I guess that inclusion covers the base and you can delete it from "derived" genres; on the other hand, it's odd that there is no discussion in the article of the relation of the two: that relation must be pretty opaque to anyone not of the relevant generation. -- Jmabel
I seem to recall "New Wave" being batted around that scene pretty early on--I'd have to dig out my old zines to be sure. At some point I'll look up some of the '75-ish reports of the CBGB scene and see what labels were being applied then. It may have all just been "new music." Of course, it's arguably true that both "New Wave" and "Punk" are derivative of "Punk," if you use the earlier--60s garage rock--meaning of punk rock. But it wouldn't help anyone to write that Punk is derived from Punk. I'm sure you're right about the opacity of all of this to younger fans--there is some discussion of the relationship between the two terms in the New Wave entry, so if we develop it further, that might be the place. --BTfromLA 05:38, 25 Jul 2004 (UTC)

I added "Australia" to "Cultural Origins" because of the place that bands like The Saints, Radio Birdman and The Birthday Party (band) have in the history of punk. (Not to mention AC/DC, who emerged in the early 70s and were also an influence on the punk bands.) Grant65 (Talk) 04:36, Jul 25, 2004 (UTC)


Unnerstan' I like Ian Dury (R.I.P.) and Wreckless Eric just fine -- even went and saw Eric play a pub in Camden when I was last in London, still good as ever -- but are they really punk? I always identified them far more with the "pub rock" scene

You're not alone Pub rock (UK) lists both these bands as practitioners. Its a fairly arbitrary line, though. -- GWO

(especially Ian). Ian's vocal style often seemed almost Rat Pack-ish; I could have imagined him sharing a stage with Dean Martin. -- Jmabel 19:17, Aug 10, 2004 (UTC)

Ian was unique, but never really a punk (Too old :) ) IMHO, he more to Viv Stanshall than any of his contemporaries -- GWO
I take your point, however I strongly recall that Ian Dury was certainly marketed as punk back in 77, New Boots & Panties and "SEx & DRugs..." were in the racks with all the punk records, and I think that Ian certainly had a punk sensibility, although his music was probably more in the music hall traditrion than anything else. Then agian, i punk was trully 'the peoples music' it wouldn't be too hard to trace a lineage from music hall to punk anyway. And if we are disqualifying people from 'punk' on basis of age, what about Crass and Poison Girls and indeed UK Subs? Penny Rimbaud, Vi Subversa and Charlie Harper were never spring chickens, but were all uncompromisingly 'punk' from the word go... quercus robur 23:20, 22 Aug 2004 (UTC)

I don't go at all with the matter of "too old" and certainly Crass and Poison Girls were punk. The rest of these I don't know well enough to say. Yes, Stiff records in general tried to put their artists -- even Elvis Costello -- on the punk bandwagon because punk was selling, but it seemed pretty clear at the time and seems to me even clearer now that this was more spin than reality. -- Jmabel 03:40, Aug 23, 2004 (UTC)


Similar quibble: if we are going to mention David Bowie, Roxy Music, and Marc Bolan and T. Rex as precursors, how about Gary Glitter, whose stripped-down arrangements have a lot more to do with punk musically than Bowie and Roxy (who were admittedly sometimes closer to punk attitude than the very professional Gary Glitter). (No problem for me with the new mention of Bolan here, but I bet some would disagree!) -- Jmabel 20:44, Aug 24, 2004 (UTC)


Someone has now added Canada to the list of countries of origin. I can think of plenty of fine Canadian punk rockers, but who from Canada can be called one of the originators of punk? Pending clarification, I'm reverting. -- Jmabel | Talk 07:53, Nov 16, 2004 (UTC)


I seem to be weighing in a lot here... Oh, well.

A recent edit added, "At the time, some in the British punk scene consciously compared the do-it-yourself attitude of punk to the earlier Skiffle craze amid the austerity of 1950s Britain, which had in time given rise to the British Invasion of the U.S. record charts and Beatlemania." This is true, but could use a citation. It then goes on, however, to quote the Clash's "London Calling" and say, "The attitude was definitely pessimistic, invoking the iconic role of London only to dash hopes of resurrection from that quarter, capturing the political mood of the time."

While I would say that the attitude of early British punk was angry and (in some cases, though certainly not the Clash) at times even nihilistic, I don't see anything "pessimistic" in the Clash's politics at that time, and certainly not in this talk. The Clash invoked a spirit of working-class revolution in the face of recently-risen Thatcherism. "London Calling" is a call to battle. The title evokes World War II broadcasts by Edward R. Murrow. "London calling, now don't look to us/ Phoney Beatlemania has bitten the dust" is by no means a cry of despair: it is a call to the youth of the rest of Britain to find their own way, to adopt the DIY ethos. At the time this was written, the punk era was a little more than two years under way in London. The Sex Pistols and others had had a chart success in the UK that no punk-influenced band in the US had until Nirvana. Julie Burchill & Tony Parsons had already written The Boy Looked At Johnny saying, basically, that punk was over, a flash in the pan that had resulted in a few good records but was going nowhere. London Calling (the album and the song) was the start of a second wave of punk: like the Dead Kennedys in the US at the same time, the Clash (who, unlike the DKs, already had two albums under their belts), were moving beyond the anti-musicianly first blast of punk, trying to keep the rawness while also allowing themselves to show their chops, and, also like the DKs (and like their own earlier material) writing uncompromisingly political songs. While we now know that Thatcher lasted a damn long time, I don't think the Clash at that moment were pessimistic at all: the fact that their next album was entitled Sandinista speaks volumes that their political anger was a million miles from despair.

That said, I don't have citations on this, just my own memory of the time. Then again User:Minority Report didn't have any citations, either. I won't revert for now, but I'd appreciate anyone else weighing in. -- Jmabel | Talk 03:43, Nov 21, 2004 (UTC)

Just dropping in to offer a quick endorsement of your efforts here, Jmabel; I agree that the Clash are not well characterized as "definitely pessmistic": though they certainly were disheartened by the political status-quo, they seemed devoted to rallying the downtrodden to fight for a better day. (As the entry now stands, though, it isn't clear to whom the pessimistic attitude is being attributed). I agree with most of your observations here, and I encourage you to allow yourself a somewhat heavier hand when editing, as you seem to be the prime guardian of historical accuracy and coherent English for this topic . Not only are things like that bit about the new bands being "heckled" worth removing, but a lot of dubious, repetitive and tangential material has crept in to this entry. I haven't been active here for a while, so I don't think it's appropriate for me to unilaterally do a big edit that throws a bunch of stuff out, but please be aware that there are readers who are cheering you on.--BTfromLA 04:34, 21 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Per this and some further exchange with BTfromLA on our respective user talk pages, I took a shot at a rewrite. -- Jmabel | Talk 07:49, Nov 21, 2004 (UTC)
Thanks Jmabel, I think my initial statement was muddled and I agree with your elaboration on The Clash's political engagement and their stance. The lyrics I chose are--as you've recognised--rich in historical resonance. Yes, it's reminiscent of broadcasters such as Ed Murrow during the Blitz, or more precisely, the wartime broadcasts of the BBC to the occupied countries of Europe--you can hear an echo of the famous "V" drum taps in Simonon's bass line, which has the same mesmeric up beat (the BBC's war-time drum tap, "dum-dum-dum-DUM" was itself an adaptation of the main theme from Beethoven's Fifth Symphony chosen because it was the morse code for the letter V, dot-dot-dot-dash, for Victory). The use of the word pessimistic was, I think, correct, but I didn't make it clear that I didn't mean nihilistic. It's a call to arms, but one that is couched in apocalyptic terms.
"The ice age is coming, the sun is zooming in
Meltdown expected, the wheat is growing thin
Engines stop running, but I have no fear
Cause London is drowning - I, I live by the river
London calling to the imitation zone
Forget it, brother, you can go at it alone."
It's a call to arms of a very specific kind. It's an injunction to all the wannaabees and imitation artists to drop their safety pins and do something --Minority Report 12:28, 21 Nov 2004 (UTC)
And I just noticed, I linked a Clash bass line to Ludwig van Beethoven! Do I get a mention in pseud's corner? --Minority Report 14:04, 21 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I don't know if anyone's ever nominated themselves for a Pseud's Corner mention, but I guess that's one way to earn £10! -- Jmabel | Talk 19:52, Nov 22, 2004 (UTC)

Amateur

Recently added to first sentence of the Origins section (addition bolded): "...from 'punk', meaning amateur(addition bolded)". Is there any citation for this claim? This meaning of punk would be news to me. -- Jmabel | Talk 06:41, Dec 9, 2004 (UTC)

Same here. "Punk" means tinder, or sickly, or a thug. But I've never encountered "amateur." A quick look at online dictionaries doesn't find anything like that, either. I vote revert. --BTfromLA 14:50, 9 Dec 2004 (UTC)