Saturday, 16 July 2016

England's Still Dreaming: 30 Years Of Punk - 2. Episode 2

BBC Radio 6 Music broadcast: 5th June 2016

Steve Lamacq continues his look at the impact of punk. Programme two begins with the murder of Nancy Spungen and the subsequent death of Sid Vicious, two appalling events which marked the end of the first punk explosion.

By 1979 the Pistols had imploded, The Clash had embraced rock 'n' roll and a new generation was making its feelings known. The late 70s saw an explosion of street punk culture in all its myriad forms; whether the beery Oi scene, the anarchist art rock pioneered by Crass, the Ska revival, or the student-driven, post punk, post rock sounds of Joy Division and U2...the bastard sons and daughters of Johnny Rotten were keeping the spirit alive.

It was a time of confusion and gang fights, of danger and excitement, culminating in the 1981 riots and 1984 miner's strike - a colourful street reaction to the scourge of Thatcherism.

But let's not forget the intense sounds of those second wave bands who virtually created the template for modern rock - The Exploited, GBH, Angelic Upstarts and UK Subs. Discharge laid the foundations for heavier outfits such as Metallica, and it's no coincidence that Guns 'n' Roses liked to cover UK Subs songs.

The DIY ethic kick started by punk inspired a lot of these new bands, who would go on to lay down the blueprint for independent music. The post rock/post punk era was in full swing, with Joy Division coming out of Manchester, Gang of Four forging ahead across the Pennines in Leeds and U2 laying plans for world domination across the Irish Sea in Dublin. It was obvious that the punk revolution had spread far and wide and with it the spirit of independence; punk's legacy was assured.

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