The name ‘Punk Rock’ was shaped by band manager, John Sinclair, he formed the phrase when describing the “aggressive, militance and White Panther politics of the MC5”. Punk Rock can come under a number of different definitions according to various people. It is most commonly known as a form of hard-driving rock 'n' roll originating in the 1970s, characterized by harsh lyrics attacking conventional society and popular culture, and often expressing alienation and anger. The foundations of the Punk Rock genre can be found in many different places around the world, this makes it hard to define exactly where it originated from. However, there is much evidence that shows origins in the New York underground scene, but its popularity initiated in the United Kingdom. Punk rock was a major influence in many different genres of music and to this day continues to influence more sub-cultures to be created from the form. Several subcultures have developed out of Punk Rock to become distinct in their own right, such as Goth, psychobilly, and emo.
The first wave of punk rock aimed to be aggressively modern, distancing itself from the pretentiousness and sentimentality of early 1970s rock. With what was being classified as ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll’, some believed that “punk rock had to come along because the rock scene had become so tame that [acts] like Billy Joel and Simon and Garfunkel were being called rock and roll, when to me and other fans, rock and roll meant this wild and rebellious music." John Holmstrom, founding editor of Punk magazine. Through Holmstrom’s discussion the inherent need for Punk Rock not to replace, but to generate a highly desired sound for an audience that wanted high energy, aggressive and enthusiastic Rock to return.
The first noticeable Punk Rock scene appeared in the late 1960’s in New York. One of the most recognisable bands that helped to create the art form that is Punk Rock was The Ramones. They played shows with their newly invented sound at the legendary CBGB's on the Lower East Side. With their simple sound they quickly became a large force in the New York underground scene. They quickly gained a reputation that attracted the interest of many of the big names and scene-makers in the entertainment industry. Once hearing about the band, these big names attended Ramones concerts. Some of these were Andy Warhol, Malcolm McLaren and Danny Fields. Fields was so impressed by their performance that he offered to be their manager on the spot. It was not long after that, that they were brought to the attention of Sire Records and signed almost immediately. They released their first album ‘The Ramones’, though they had much belief, it was very unsuccessful in the United States. However, is now known as a landmark album as it became extremely popular in the underground market in London. Even with the little accomplishments they had made in the US, on July, 1976, they played Roundhouse London supporting the Flaming Groovies and inspired the promising English punk rock scene. Within London the Punk Rock scene grew in its popularity and exploded. It was here that the growth of Punk Rock can be associated with. The rise of this genre can be directly linked to the political and economic circumstances at the time. During the mid-1970’s Britain was suffering a major recession, this caused jobs to be difficult to find and the ones that were available offered no advancements within that specific field. These circumstances were what caused a lot of the anguish within the public, this soon turned into anger. This helped to enforce the power that Punk Rock music had within the society as it turned Punk music into the best representation of this angry spirit that most had.
The beginnings of Punk fashion as we know it emerged and was centred around one shop. This shop was owned by Malcolm McClaren, who had returned from the US where he had tried to reinvent the ‘New York Dolls’ in order to