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Punk: Essential Punk Artists

A guide to materials related to punk music and related genres

Essential Punk Artists

A diverse group of people was forming around the emerging music scene. One of the people who was attracted to it was an English entrepreneur named Malcolm McLaren.

McLaren saw the huge potential of punk rock. He also noticed the degree to which most Americans failed to appreciate this new breed of rock and roll.

Because he recognized the potential for punk in England where a tough economy was paving the way for new ideas and new art forms. He had an idea, export punk to England and assemble his own punk band. 

“Everything I’ve done is about not getting stuck in a hole….I don’t obey other people’s laws because I don’t understand them. I don’t create new things; I bring existing things together. The only element I introduce is catastrophe” –Malcolm McLaren

 “I don't have any rock and roll heroes; they're all useless. The Stones and The Who don't mean anything anymore; they're established. The Stones are more of a business than a band”-John Lydon


I hate the army and I hate the RAF
I don’t wanna go fighting in the tropical heat
I hate the civil service rules
And I won’t open letter bombs for you

Career opportunities are the ones that never knock
Every job they offer you is to keep out the dock
Career opportunities, the ones that never knock

From  The Clash, “Career Opportunities”

Essential Punk Artists

"Were it not for the Clash, punk would have just been a sneer, a safety pin and a pair of bondage trousers." -Billy Bragg


These books represent the major acts and artists of the genre. Some of these resources are located in the Music Library's reference section, and can only be used within the library. Click on the title to check the location and availability.

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