1976 was about much more than the invention of the ink-jet printer, it was a tremendous year for music and the development of punk rock. There were a few acts that helped transcend the genre and carried the punk scene into an entirely new realm. Whether or not you’re a fan of thrashing, fast-past riffs mixed with leather jackets, mohawks, and pure grit and debauchery on stage, the influence these bands had on the world in terms of image and music was felt by an entire generation. The traditional mold of society made it look as though music would suffer its greatest casualties; however, these groups weren’t worried about appealing to all audiences, it was simply about raw, powerful music. For someone my age, it’s one of those things that make you say, “I wish I could have been there.”
1976 marked the debut album for the surname punk group from New York. The album completely rattled the mainstream rock world and created a sound that other groups simply could not produce. Ramones created a ripple in the history of what rock ‘n’ roll had previously been. The effect at the time made listeners almost uncomfortable, which proved to be an early sign of a legendary album. Regardless of how it was viewed this album made a statement. The speed, the hooks and the style created a nostalgic feel of what garage rock was all about. Ramones are cited as one of the pioneers of punk rock who could incorporate a rushing, adrenaline-fueled show, but did so with a high level of musical and artist quality.
2. Sex Pistols: Gig That Changed the World
On June 4, 1976, Sex Pistols played a show at Manchester’s Lesser Free Trade Hall. This concert sparked the punk movement fueled by British rockers. Some of those in attendance happened to be artists that would soon form other bands that became a part of the expanding punk genre. Those at the concert included future members of the Buzzcocks, Joy Division, The Fall and The Smiths. The show was held before their biggest hits “God Save the Queen” and “Anarchy in the U.K.” were written, but the band still put on a 13 song showcase that featured covers from The Stooges, The Who and Dave Berry among others. The gig also featured their own songs including, “Pretty Vacant”, “Problems”, and “No Feelings”, all performed in their true fierce fashion. If you weren’t in a band before this show, you wanted to be in one immediately after. The rise of punk rock should not be overstated and the energy the Pistols performed with embodied the lifestyle they were a part of. They changed more than just music, they changed the youth culture, image, and challenged what society not only heard but saw. It was one show that no one knew would actually change the world.
3. The Clash: First Live Concert
As the punk revolution began to fall in line, a new act broke through and expanded upon the already groundbreaking scene in the UK. Fourth of July, 1976, became the real Independence Day for The Clash and music fans alike. While people were busy lighting off fireworks in the States, The Clash were opening for the Sex Pistols at The Black Swan in Sheffield, England, creating a spark of their own. They possessed a unique, unmistakable sound that created their own identity on stage. The group’s style and lyrics made people want to take music more seriously, but it also made people want to make noise and get mad. Their music was influenced greatly by real issues taking place in society and the effect it had on their lives. While most groups at the time sang of anarchy at the top of their lungs, The Clash performed with the same true, punk sound, but with a different message. What the band was able to do in the years following caused an explosion all throughout Britain and opened the door for a wide variety of punk acts to hit the scene. 40 years later, The Clash can still be recognized as “The Only Band That Matters”.