Ongoing History of New Music

The Ongoing History of New Music, episode 879: Alt-Rock Revivals Part 1 – Punk

We begin this episode with a reading from Ecclesiastes, chapter three, verses 1-3. Ish.

To everything there is a season, a time to every purpose under the heavens. A time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted. A time to rock, a time to dance, a time to headbang, a time to chill.

Okay, I may have made up that last bit. But I think you get my drift.

The universe moves in cycles. Things are created, build up, peak, and then fade away. But they don’t necessarily die in an entropic ignominy. They enter some kind of statis until something triggers a reawakening. And if the conditions are right, the whole process repeats again. And maybe again. And again after that.

Let me give you an example. In the late 1950s, all the cool kids were into folk music. Stuff that was a generation or two old suddenly became the thing all the hipsters were listening to. This eventually translated into a big boom for modern folk music: The Kingston Trio, Peter, Paul, and Mary, and Bobt Dylan.

Around the same time in the UK, the big thing was known as Trad Jazz. English hipsters unimpressed with this new rock’n’roll thing decided that 50-year-old traditional jazz was where it was at. Old-school Dixieland jazz from New Orleans experienced a rebirth followed by the rise of artists like Acker Bilk, Kenny Ball, and Monty Sunshine. But that all died out by 1965 and hasn’t come back since.

In 1973, 50s rock’n’roll made a comeback, manifesting in movies like American Graffiti, TV shows like Happy Days, new life in groups like Sha Na Na, and Elton John singing songs like “Crocodile Rock.”

Alt-rock has been around long enough so that it’s seen its own internal revivals, sounds from alternative music history that have been rediscovered and advanced by new generations of fans.

Even the punk rock of the middle 70s was a revival of sorts. At its heart, that punk was a back-to-basics form of rock’n’roll but done with speed and a sneer. And that’s where we’ll start. This is alt-rock revival, chapter one.

Songs heard on this show:

  • Ramones, Blitzkrieg Bop
  • The Clash, Brand New Cadillac
  • Sex Pistols, I’m Not Your Steppin’ Stone
  • Nirvana, Smells Like Teen Spirit
  • Green Day, Longview
  • Bad Religion, Stranger Than Fiction
  • Rancid, Salvation
  • NOFX, Don’t Call Me White
  • Offspring, Come Out and Play
  • Sex Pistols, Anarchy in the UK (Live)

Here’s Eric Wilhite’s playlist.

Don’t forget that you can get the podcast version of this podcast through iTunes or wherever you get your on-demand audio.

The Ongoing History of New Music can be heard on the following stations:

We’re still looking for more affiliates in Calgary, Kamloops, Kelowna, Regina, Saskatoon, Brandon, Windsor,  Montreal, Charlottetown, Moncton, Fredericton, and St John’s and anywhere else with a transmitter. If you’re in any of those markets and you want the show, lemme know and I’ll see what I can do.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 37441 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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