From 1951 to 1976, This Free YouTube Video Shows How Punk Rock Came To Be
If you have 43 minutes to spare and are eager to discover how punk rock came to be, I’d check out Before 1976 Revisited: How Punk Became Punk by Thrash Theory. I wouldn’t blink, though, as the video is non-stop – filling your noggin’ with decades of knowledge thanks to a smooth narrator, plenty of live footage, and unforgettable riffs.
You start this punk rock journey with the year 1951 as you learn about innovators like Little Richard, Johnny Cash, James Brown, and more who were changing the music game through stage presence, attitude, and sound. From there you will move into the British invasion occurring during the years of 1964 to 1966 – the Rolling Stones, The Beatles, The Kinks, The Who, and other fine English bands. All of which would catch the eyes and ears of early punk rock pioneers like the Velvet Underground, MC5, and Iggy Pop who then would influence bands such as the Ramones, Sex Pistols, and so on down the line. I’m, of course, skipping over quite a bit but eager to leave you to watch the video for yourself.
I would like to mention two things I felt the documentary did well. The first is its exploration of bands not just from America and England. Far too often we seem to focus on those countries when it comes to punk rock’s formation. You will come to learn about bands like Los Saicos in Peru, Neu! in West Germany, and The Saints in Australia. And the second is it gives credit to bands who rarely receive the respect they deserve. One such band would be DEATH, considered the first all-black punk rock band, which formed in Detroit back in 1971.
One budging, eye-opening moment for this punk rock enthusiast was surprised to see while watching this video was how many songs punk rock bands have covered over the years. I shouldn’t have been so surprised, yet here we are. You see it with The Clash’s “Brand New Cadillac” from Vince Taylor and Minor Threats’ “Steppin Stone” from Paul Revere & the Raiders. It was a cherry on top of a Sunday way of illustrating how bands from the past influenced the bands who created punk rock.
I want to end the post with the last line of the film. A true statement about punk rock’s future after exploring much of its past which states – “punk rock is now an attitude more than anything, and that can never die.” Damn, right. Check it out, swine.