Styles & Forms | Punk | Early History (1969) | Key Events
MC5 Kick Out The Jams
Often credited as the first intentionally punk band, MC5’s live debut album detonated in 1969. Forming at their Michigan High School, singer Rob Tyner, guitarists Wayne Kramer and Fred ‘Sonic’ Smith, bassist Michael Davis and drummer Dennis Thompson were mentored by political activist John Sinclair of The White Panthers. They were loud and brash and their lyrics had an incendiary edge. Kick Out The Jams (a taunt they used to hurl at visiting laid-back West Coast bands), recorded in front of their Detroit home crowd, is fast, furious but focussed. Elektra Records managed to keep the word ‘Motherf***ers’ out of the title but left it on the record to the outrage of middle America.
The Stooges Wanna Be Your Dog
Hard on the heels of MC5 came fellow Detroit scoundrels The Stooges, fronted by trailer-park-trash singer James Osterberg (a.k.a. Iggy Pop), who was prone to all manner of attention-seeking self-abuse off- and particularly on-stage. Their self-titled debut album had an equally abrasive raw power but producer John Cale of The Velvet Underground managed to strip the aural assault back to its essence. Meanwhile the lyrics eschewed the political in favour of the defiantly personal. The album made little impact at the time but both ‘I Wanna Be Your Dog’ and ‘No Fun’ are seminal punk classics containing all the vital ingredients.
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