|Cultural origins||1970s, London and Essex, United Kingdom|
|Pub rock (Australia)|
Pub rock is a rock music genre that was developed in the early to mid-1970s in the United Kingdom. A back-to-basics movement which incorporated roots rock, pub rock was a reaction against expensively-recorded and produced progressive rock and flashy glam rock. Although short-lived, pub rock was notable for rejecting huge stadium venues and for returning live rock to the small intimate venues (pubs and clubs) of its early years.Since major labels showed no interest in pub rock groups, pub rockers sought out independent record labels such as Stiff Records. Indie labels used relatively inexpensive recording processes, so they had a much lower break-even point for a record than a major label.
With pub rock's emphasis on small venues, simple, fairly inexpensive recordings and indie record labels, it was the catalyst for the development of the British punk rock scene. Despite these shared elements, though, there was a difference between the genres: while pub rock harked back to early rock and roll and R&B, punk was iconoclastic, and sought to break with the past musical traditions.
Pub rock was deliberately nasty, dirty and post-glam.Dress style was based around denim and plaid shirts, tatty jeans and droopy hair. The figureheads of the movement, Dr. Feelgood, were noted for their frontman's filthy white suit. Bands looked menacing and threatening, "like villains on The Sweeney ". According to David Hepworth, Dr. Feelgood looked as if they had "come together in some unsavoury section of the army".
Pub rock groups disdained any form of flashy presentation. Scene leaders like Dr. Feelgood, Kilburn and the High Roads and Ducks Deluxe played simple, "back to mono" rhythm and blues in the tradition of white British groups like The Rolling Stones and the Yardbirds, with fuzzy overdriven guitars and whiny vocals.Lesser acts played funky soul (Kokomo, Clancy, Cado Belle) or country rock (The Kursaal Flyers, Chilli Willi and the Red Hot Peppers). While pub rockers did not have expensive stage shows, they took inspiration from early R&B and increased the dynamism and intensity of their live shows. Pub rock allowed a variety of singers and musicians to perform, even if they did not adhere to a clearly defined musical genre. Major labels scouted pub rock acts, thinking they might find the next Beatles at a local pub; however A&R representatives decided that pub rock did not have potential for mass market hits. With no interest from major labels, pub rockers put out their records through small independent record labels such as Stiff Records and Chiswick Records.
By 1975, the standard for mainstream rock album recordings was expensive, lengthy studio recording processes overseen by highly-paid record producers, with the goal of creating highly polished end products, with overdubs, double-tracking and studio effects. Some mainstream bands spent months in the studio perfecting their recording, to achieve a meticulously crafted and perfect product.Pub rockers rejected this type of costly, complex recording process; instead, with pub rockers, the goal was simply to capture the band's "live" sound and feel in the studio. The difference between mainstream rock and pub rock recording approaches not only produced different sounds (polished vs. raw), it also had a significant impact on the economics of each rock genre. With mainstream rock, the costly sound recording process meant that the break-even point for the record label was around 20,000 records; with pub rock, the less expensive recording process meant that pub rock labels could break even with as few as 2,000 records. This means that pub rock labels could afford to put out records with a tenth of the sales of mainstream bands.
The pub rock scene was primarily a live phenomenon. During the peak years of 1972 to 1975, there was just one solitary Top 20 single (Ace's "How Long"), and all the bands combined sold less than an estimated 150,000 albums.Many acts suffered in the transition from pub to studio recording and were unable to recapture their live sound. The genre's primary characteristic is, as the name suggests, the pub. By championing smaller venues, the bands reinvigorated a local club scene that had dwindled since the 1960s as bands priced themselves into big theatres and stadia. New aspiring bands could now find venues to play without needing to have a record company behind them.
Pub rock was generally restricted to Greater London with some overspill into Essex,although the central belt in Scotland also produced local bands such as The Cheetahs and The Plastic Flies. Pub rockers believed that mainstream stars who played at arenas had lost touch with their audiences. Instead, pub rock groups preferred intimate venues, which were essential to creating meaningful music and connecting with the audience. Pub rock's small venue approach increased the importance of good songwriting and well-written lyrics, in contrast to mainstream pop which had marginalized both elements. The UK pub rock scene wound down by 1976. The record industry was already looking into early punk, thinking it might be the next "big thing". In 1976, some pub rock labels were putting out both the harder-edged pub rock acts and early punk bands such as The Damned.
American country-rock band Eggs over Easy were the precursors of the movement when they broke the jazz-only policy of the "Tally Ho" pub in Kentish Town, in May 1971.They were impressive enough to inspire local musicians such as Nick Lowe. They were soon joined by a handful of London acts such as Bees Make Honey, Max Merritt and the Meteors, who were originally from Australia and had moved to London, Ducks Deluxe, The Amber Squad and Brinsley Schwarz who had been victims of the prevailing big-venue system.
Most of the venues were in large Victorian pubs "north of Regents Park", where there were plenty of suitable establishments.One of the most notable venues was the Hope and Anchor pub on Islington's Upper Street, still a venue.
Following the Tally Ho and the Hope and Anchor came the Cock, the Brecknock, the Lord Nelson, the Greyhound in Fulham, the Red Lion, the Rochester Castle, the Nashville in West Kensington, the Pegasus Pub on Green Lanes, The Torrington in North Finchley, Dingwalls and the Dublin Castle in Camden Town, the Pied Bull at Angel, Bull and Gate in Kentish Town, the Kensington near Olympia, the Newlands Tavern in Nunhead, the Cricketers at Kennington Oval, Half Moon in Putney and Half Moon in Herne Hill (south London outposts) and The Sir George Robey in Finsbury Park. Out of London, venues included the Dagenham Roundhouse, the Grand in Leigh on Sea and the Admiral Jellicoe on Canvey Island.This network of venues later formed a ready-made launch pad for the punk scene.
In 1974, pub rock was the hottest scene in London.At that point it seemed that nearly every large pub in London was supplying live music, along with hot snacks and the occasional stripper. The figureheads were Essex-based R&B outfit Dr. Feelgood. By Autumn 1975, they were joined by acts such as The Stranglers, Roogalator, Eddie and the Hot Rods, Kilburn and the High Roads, and Joe Strummer's 101ers.
Pub rock was rapidly overtaken by the UK punk explosion after spawning what are now seen as several proto-punk bands. Some artists were able to make the transition by jumping ship to new outfits, notably Joe Strummer, Ian Dury and Elvis Costello.A few stalwarts were later able to realise Top 40 chart success, but the moment was gone. Many of the actual pubs themselves survived as punk venues (especially the Nashville and The Hope & Anchor), but a range of notable pubs such as the George Robey and the Pied Bull have since been closed or demolished. The Newlands Tavern survived and is now called The Ivy House.
According to Nostalgia Central, "Pub rock may have been killed by punk, but without it there might not have been any punk in Britain at all".The boundaries were originally blurred: at one point, the Hot Rods and the Sex Pistols were both considered rival kings of "street rock". The Pistols played support slots for the Blockheads and the 101ers at the Nashville. Their big break was supporting Eddie and the Hot Rods at the Marquee in Feb 1976. Dr. Feelgood played with the Ramones in New York. The word "punk" debuted on Top of the Pops on a T-shirt worn by a Hot Rod. Punk fanzine Sniffin' Glue reviewed Feelgood album Stupidity as "the way rock should be".
Apart from the ready-made live circuit, punk also inherited the energy of pub rock guitar heroes like Dr. Feelgood's Wilko Johnson, his violence and mean attitude.Feelgood have since been described as John the Baptist to punk's messiahs. In the gap between the music-press hype and vinyl releases of early punk, the rowdier Pub Rock bands even led the charge for those impatient for actual recorded music, but it was not to last.
Punks such as Sex Pistols singer John Lydon eventually rejected the pub rock bands as "everything that was wrong with live music" because they had failed to fight the stadium scene and, as he saw it, preferred to narrow themselves into an exclusive pub clique.The back-to-basics approach of pub rock apparently involved chord structures that were still too complicated for punk guitarists like the Sex Pistols' Steve Jones, who complained "if we had played those complicated chords we would have sounded like Dr. Feelgood or one of those pub rock bands". By the time the Year Zero of punk (1976) was over, punks wanted nothing to do with pub rockers. Bands like The Stranglers were shunned but they didn't care.
It was independent record label Stiff Records, formed from a £400 loan from Feelgood's Lee Brilleaux, who went on to release the first British punk single—The Damned's "New Rose".Stiff Records' early clientele consisted of a mix of pub rockers and punk rock acts for which they became known.
New wave is a broad music genre that encompasses numerous pop and rock styles from the late 1970s and the 1980s. It was originally used as a catch-all for the music that emerged after punk rock, including punk itself, but may be viewed retrospectively as a more accessible counterpart of post-punk. Although new wave shared punk's DIY philosophy, the artists were more influenced by the lighter strains of 1960s pop while opposed to mainstream "corporate" rock, which they considered creatively stagnant, and the generally abrasive and political bents of punk rock.
Punk rock is a music genre that emerged in the mid-1970s. Rooted in 1960s garage rock, punk bands rejected the perceived excesses of mainstream 1970s rock. They typically produced short, fast-paced songs with hard-edged melodies and singing styles, stripped-down instrumentation, and often shouted political, anti-establishment lyrics. Punk embraces a DIY ethic; many bands self-produce recordings and distribute them through independent record labels.
The Sex Pistols were an English punk rock band that formed in London in 1975. Although their initial career lasted just two and a half years, they are regarded as one of the most groundbreaking acts in the history of popular music. They were responsible for initiating the punk movement in the United Kingdom and inspiring many later punk and alternative rock musicians. Their fashion and hairstyles have been credited as a significant influence on punk image, and they are often associated with anarchism within music.
Dr. Feelgood are an English pub rock band formed in 1971. Hailing from Canvey Island, Essex, the group are best known for early singles such as "She Does It Right", "Roxette", "Back in the Night" and "Milk and Alcohol". The group's original distinctively British R&B sound was centred on Wilko Johnson's choppy guitar style. Along with Johnson, the original band line-up included singer Lee Brilleaux and the rhythm section of John B. Sparks, known as "Sparko", on bass guitar and John Martin, known as "The Big Figure", on drums. Although their most commercially productive years were the early to mid-1970s, and in spite of Brilleaux's death in 1994 of lymphoma, a version of the band continues to tour and record to this day.
John Simon Ritchie, known professionally as Sid Vicious, was an English musician best known as the bassist for the English punk rock band, Sex Pistols. Vicious replaced Glen Matlock, who had fallen out of favour with the other members of the group.
Wilko Johnson is an English guitarist, singer and songwriter. He was a member of the pub rock/rhythm and blues band Dr. Feelgood in the 1970s. Johnson is known for his distinctive guitar playing style which he achieved by not using a pick but instead relying on fingerstyle. This enabled him to play rhythm guitar and riffs or solos at the same time creating a highly percussive guitar sound.
Popular music of the United Kingdom in the 1970s built upon the new forms of music developed from blues rock towards the end of the 1960s, including folk rock and psychedelic rock. Several important and influential subgenres were created in Britain in this period, by pursuing the limitations of rock music, including British folk rock and glam rock, a process that reached its apogee in the development of progressive rock and one of the most enduring subgenres in heavy metal music. Britain also began to be increasingly influenced by third world music, including Jamaican and Indian music, resulting in new music scenes and subgenres. In the middle years of the decade the influence of the pub rock and American punk rock movements led to the British intensification of punk, which swept away much of the existing landscape of popular music, replacing it with much more diverse new wave and post punk bands who mixed different forms of music and influences to dominate rock and pop music into the 1980s.
Australian indie rock is part of the overall flow of Australian rock history but has a distinct history somewhat separate from mainstream rock in Australia, largely from the end of the punk rock era onwards.
Proto-punk is the rock music played by garage bands from the 1960s to mid-1970s that foreshadowed the punk rock movement. The phrase is a retrospective label; the musicians involved were generally not originally associated with each other and came from a variety of backgrounds and styles; together they anticipated many of punk's musical and thematic attributes.
Eddie and the Hot Rods were a pub rock band from Essex founded in 1975. They are best known for their 1977 UK top ten hit "Do Anything You Wanna Do", released under the name The Rods. The group broke up in 1985, but reformed in 1996. Singer Barrie Masters was the only constant member until his death in 2019.
The 100 Club is a music venue located at 100 Oxford Street, London, England, where it has been hosting live music since 24 October 1942. It was originally called the Feldman Swing Club, but changed its name when the father of the current owner took over in 1964.
Manchester's music scene produced successful bands in the 1960s including the Hollies, the Bee Gees and Herman's Hermits. After the punk rock era, Manchester produced popular bands including Joy Division, New Order, the Smiths and Simply Red. In the late 1980s, the ecstasy-fuelled dance club scene played a part in the rise of Madchester. In the 1990s, Manchester saw the rise of Britpop bands, notably Oasis.
Generation X were an English punk rock band from London in the late 1970s, primarily remembered today for being the musical starting point of the career of its frontman Billy Idol.
Warwick Alan "Wally" Nightingale was an English guitarist. He founded the band that went on to become the Sex Pistols.
Bernard Rhodes is a designer, band manager, studio owner, record producer and songwriter who was integral to the development of the punk rock scene in the United Kingdom from the middle 1970s. He is most associated with two of the UK's best known and influential punk bands, the Sex Pistols and The Clash. Rhodes was responsible for discovering John Lydon and arranging his audition in the King's Road which led to Lydon joining the Sex Pistols. He introduced Joe Strummer to Mick Jones and Paul Simonon, who with Keith Levene then formed The Clash.
The history of the punk subculture involves the history of punk rock, the history of various punk ideologies, punk fashion, punk visual art, punk literature, dance, and punk film. Since emerging in the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia in the mid-1970s, the punk subculture has spread around the globe and evolved into a number of different forms. The history of punk plays an important part in the history of subcultures in the 20th century.
Oi! is a subgenre of punk rock that originated in the United Kingdom in the late 1970s. The music and its associated subculture had the goal of bringing together punks, skinheads, and other disaffected working-class youth. The movement was partly a response to the perception that many participants in the early punk rock scene were, in the words of The Business guitarist Steve Kent, "trendy university people using long words, trying to be artistic...and losing touch."
Post-punk is a broad genre of rock music that emerged in the late 1970s as artists departed from the raw simplicity and traditionalism of punk rock, instead adopting a variety of avant-garde sensibilities and non-rock influences. Inspired by punk's energy and DIY ethic but determined to break from rock cliches, artists experimented with styles like funk, electronic music, jazz, and dance music; the production techniques of dub and disco; and ideas from art and politics, including critical theory, modernist art, cinema and literature. These communities produced independent record labels, visual art, multimedia performances and fanzines.
"Oh Bondage Up Yours!" is the debut single by English punk rock band X-Ray Spex. Released in September 1977, it is regarded by critics as a prototypic example of British punk, though it was not a chart hit.
"Forming" is the debut single by American punk rock band the Germs. Released on What?, an independent start-up label, in July 1977, it is regarded as the first true Los Angeles punk record.