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Punk Evolution
Travel through time with the evolution of punk rock. Punk Evolution is a 10-part series on punk rock and counterculture. Featuring music by The Ramones, The Sex Pistols, The Clash, Black Flag, Bad Brains, The Dead Kennedys and more.


# 10 Punk Revivalists

Some critics say that punk rock died when the Sex Pistols broke up. But punk continues as an art form today. Gritty bands like the A-Frames, Born Dead Icons and Jay Reatard prove the point.

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James Reatard

James Reatard

# 9 The Dead Kennedys

San Francisco lead singer Jello Biafra runs for mayor and rocks the boat of the disco era in the late 70’s. His band Dead Kennedys took political lyrics to a new level.

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# 8 X, the Band

What happens when two poets, a jazz drummer and a rockabilly guitarist start a punk band?

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# 7 US Punk Transformation

US punk rock in the late 70’s and early 80’s took on new forms. Punk purists morphed into hardcore, with groups like Minor Threat, Black Flag and The Dead Kennedys. Other bands like X and Bad Brains added new styles to their punk style. Punks ditched the music industry bigwigs and with the birth of the internet start doin’ it for themselves.

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# 6 The Sex Pistols

The first commercially successful punk group was British sensations The Sex Pistols. In their short careers they put out only one album, but they are the undisputed kings of punk rock legend. Many say that manager Malcolm MacLaren created the band, but Johnny Rotten has another opinion.

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# 5 The Clash

Step into the shoes of one of the most musically diverse and influential bands of all time, The Clash. Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon and Topper Headon tell their tales of life as a band member and talk about what they’d do different, if they knew then what they know now.

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# 4 UK Punk Explosion

UK punk was born out of chaos. The streets were piled with trash due to garbage strikes, jobs were hard to find. Working class youth were bored and angry. Influenced by American punk bands, UK Punk exploded into the chaos with a sound and look all it’s own. Meet The Sex Pistols, The Damned and The Clash.

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# 3 The Ramones

Four misfits from Queens take on the last name “Ramone”. They storm the scene at CBGBs with a wall of sound. The band’s turbulent personality conflicts don’t deter them from playing 2,263 shows. Their serious stage attitude and rough, low-rent songs spark the UK Punk Explosion.

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# 2 Birth of Punk in the Bowery

The late 60’s and early 70’s were, for most of the US, an era of feelgood music. But in the Bowery district of New York City two seedy clubs: Max’s Kansas City and CBGBs started to host counterculture bands like Suicide, Patti Smith and Television. In 1975 the first real punk rockers: The Dictators and Richard Hell appeared. Then four guys from Queens prepare to change everything. The Ramones rock the scene.

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# 1 The Roots of Punk

In the beginning, there was rebellion. In the 50’s standout musicians like Chuck Berry and movie icons like Marlon Brando led the way. In the 60’s The Velvet Underground were a new species of band. The VU’s dark, edgy songs and counterculture style led the way for Detroit artists The MC5 and The Stooges, and New York blues-rock men-in-drag The New York Dolls.

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