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Rock And Roll Essay, Research Paper

History of Rock and Roll

Punk rock developed in the United States out of the raw and energetic music adored and played by garage bands of the mid-sixties. Many of these garage bands were started by kids in their teens who hardly knew how to play simple chords on a guitar or bang away at drums or cymbals in their own garages. The music was often played at a high volume as well.

The MC5 epitomized this. The MC5 (Motor City Five) was a high school punk band from Lincoln Park, Michigan. They played with a very loud and angry style. Their lyrics, which were refused airplay, were obscene and profane. The right combination of heavy distortion and two guitars enabled them to combine the power of heavy metal with the raw garage band sound.

Many punk songs were reactions to the glitter and glam rock bands of the seventies. The fact that groups were spending months, weeks, or hours in a studio, writing 15- minute songs, and playing elaborate shows with spectacular stage performances in front of thousands of people in large arenas really angered punk bands. Punk songs were generally simple and rather short. The lyrics told the way the


members of the band felt. They played small shows and did not put on any elaborate performances.

The Sex Pistols were the epitome of a punk band. They were discovered in an antifashion clothing store in London called Sex by Malcolm McLaren, the store s owner. Johnny Rotten, the band s lead singer, was found while singing along to the jukebox. Sid Vicious, bassist, never learned to play bass. Their sound was exactly what McLaren was looking for. They set the tone for punk music. They sang about living in the slums of London for their whole lives. Their guitar, bass and drums were distorted and the vocals were shouted. Although most of their songs were banned from British television and radio, they were still climbing the charts.

They thought it might be time to come to America. However, instead of playing the usual punk scenes, such as CBGB s and Maxwell s, they played bars in suburbs and other trashy places far from main cities. The band broke up in 1978.

Many bands tried to follow the Sex Pistols example. The Clash began opening and touring with the Pistols and became a big hit. They also played simple songs


with lyrics about the situation they were coming from. They incorporated SKA into their music, which made them unique. Their songs were short and to the point and the people loved it.

The development of punk is indeed a reaction to the glam rock of the seventies, but it is also a reaction to the years before it. For example, the sixties were a time of worry free, free love. Peace was a commonly used phrase. Musicians of this time would sing about this very often. The punk era reacted to this by saying Your all wrong. For them, life was not all love and happiness. They had tough times and sang about it.

Punk rock paved the way for other bands that played music to a post-baby boom generation. Many bands influenced by punk rock emerged during the eighties. Bands such as The Cure and Elvis Costello used lyrics to tell what was on their minds. However, their songs are more complex and not as loud or distorted.

Punk and post punk music set the stage for alternative. What punk did was popularize unpopular music. These bands played music that was different and new, and made it a part of a mainstream. The alternative artists are


playing a new style of music that is literally the alternative, but it is accepted as part of the norm.

Although the Sex Pistols were one of the most popular and influential bands of the punk era, they were definitely one of the least talented. However, the Ramones, who were very influential, they were also one of the most talented. There were many talented bands on the punk scene. This includes X, the Voidoids, the Dead Kennedys, the Clash, and The Damned, to name just a few. They set the stage for newer punk bands such as Operation Ivy, Rancid, and Blink 182, which all have the same style of music as the earlier punk bands.

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