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An American was once asked to comment on tennis star John McEnroe's tantrums and generally obnoxious behaviour at Wimbledon over 30 years ago.

The reply was brief.

"That's for sending us Sid Vicious!"

Needless to say that The Sex Pistols didn't go down too well in the USA back then but the shock value has diminished since then.

Under their style-guru Malcom McLaren the Pistols imagery caught the mood of the late 70's and their merchandise is still cool to wear today.

US band The Misfits are also still relevant today and their music still inspires.

Highly influential on later Punk bands and their music covered by no less than Guns n' Roses and Metallica.

One of the founder band members Glenn Danzig continued to be a force long after the group's demise.

As has their image.

The grinning skull motif with the sunken eyes is instantly recognisable.

Where did it all begin then?

Probably with The Stooges or The Ramones whichever you prefer. The latter hi-jacked the Presidential seal for their famous logo. No seal of approval from the establishment but adored by millions of music fans for 'Blitzkreig Rock', 'I Wanna be Sedated' and 'Sheena is a Punk Rocker' among many great tracks.

Another particularly anti-establishment band were The Clash led by the late Joe Strummer. The cover of their album 'London Calling', photographed by Pennie Smith at the New York Palladium, is one of the most dramatic ever produced. A band popular on both sides of the Atlantic especially at their peak in the early 1980s. They had many hits such as 'Tommy Gun', 'Should I Stay or Should I Go', 'Rock the Casbah' and 'I Fought the Law'.

The controversy continues with none other than the Dead Kennedys who's very name itself invited outrage when they burst onto the scene in 1978. Songs like 'California Uber Alles' and 'Holiday in Cambodia' kept the pot stirring and they even ended up on trial for obscentity in the late 80's for their 'Frankenchrist' album cover.

They had split up in 1986 but reformed in the 21st Century. This time without their original singer Jello Biafra who nevertheless has remained in the public eye.

The New York Dolls had crossover appeal or even cross-dressing appeal if you prefer with their androgynous approach to image-making. They included the late Johnny Thunders in their original line-up and his replacement Blackie Lawless was in the band for a short time before becoming famous with W.A.S.P.

Variously labelled as a Glam Band or Sleaze Rockers they still had plenty of raw Punk attitude and enjoyed a successful 21st century comeback. But their beginnings way back in 1971 mark them out as another great influence on later Punk bands.

The band Devo were an eccentric member of the Punk and New Wave phenomenon.

Maintaining a loyal cult following over the decades they enjoyed a huge hit with 'Whip it' in 1980 and were inventive pioneers of the music video.

Experimenting with different styles and usually laced with humour and surrealism Devo are truly unique.

Back over in England in the 1980s The Smiths produced many inspired tunes imbibed with the sardonic wit of singer Morrisey. With Johnny Marr supreme on guitar their idiosyncratic classics like 'This Charming Man', 'Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now' and 'Girlfriend in a Coma' still sound fresh and invigorating.

Described as an Alternative Rock band their inspiration undoubtedly came strongly from Punk Rock among others. Most of their imagery was typically English with monochrome pictures of actors, actresses or just the everyday portraits of ordinary people.

The Americans really began to dominate the Punk scene through the late 80's, 90's and beyond with Green Day especially ruling the roost.

In the UK guitar music had transformed into an almost complete takeover by Indie Music led by bands like Oasis, Blur, The Stereophonics and more.

But in the USA The Offspring lent great humour and a sense of fun to the charts and the festival circuit. They actually brought their distinctive sound to the top of the UK charts with 'Pretty Fly for a White Guy' in 1998 and it was a huge hit all over. But aside from that they have had a string of hits and played to huge audiences all over the world.

Blink 182 are another example of a band who like to party and have fun on disc. Their video to 'All the Small Things' was a hilarious send-up of the preening of vacuous Boybands everywhere.

Then on the video for 'What's My Age Again' they did a brazen streak down the street and through TV studios. Far more Pop Punk than anywhere near hardcore their irreverent and energetic style is guaranteed to brighten your day.

In the USA in 1979 Bad Religion were started up on the wave of the British Punk phenomenon. But they have been influential by themselves since then, having released many albums and built a large following. Despite many line-up changes they're still rockin and still producing angry music.

The previous year over the border in Vancouver, Canada D.O.A. were born. Regarded as perhaps one of the founders of Hardcore Punk they have undergone many line-up changes too. But throughout they have also kept their strongly political and uncompromising stance becoming involved in the likes of anti-racist and anti-globalisation issues.

But if you want to keep things general while still declaring your Punk leanings then there are plenty of t-shirts to choose from. The Punk subculture spawned many memorable fashion designs from razor blades, safety-pins and satirical or rebellious iconography.

None more so than the Anarchy symbol representing opposition to the State and non-conformism to society. Perfect for young Punks,or even old, to make their statement down at the pub or at the gig. Since many bands have made their way back onto the scene there is plenty of opportunities to wear the classic t-shirts.

Punk is Dead! Long Live Punk! is the motto.

As long as Rock n' Roll needs to startle, shock and rebel against the mainstream then Punk will still be around.

Raw, rough and emotional but usually with an important message to get across to those who will listen.

A political heart and a social conscience.

But when all else fails a good pogo to the sounds will surely get you even with the world. Punks just wanna have have fun too.

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zzron profile image

zzron 5 years ago from Houston, TX.

Pretty wild stuff, great post!

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