The Ongoing History of New Music, episode 912: The Post Punk Explosion, part 1: New Wave

If you’ve been around long enough, you might fondly remember those special times when you just knew you were in the middle of music history being made.

The early 90s is a great example; so much new and cool music–led by grunge by supported by all manner of alternative music–came out in ’91, ’92, ’93, ’94, and ’95 that you just knew you were in the midst of a very special era. It seemed that not a day went by without there being a new song, a new artist, a new sound, and a new scene worth checking out. It was the Alternative Revolution–and it was awesome. And if you were the right age, so much of it seemed directed right at you.

But that was hardly the first time something like this happened. Those who were teenagers in the middle 50s knew they were part of something cool during the birth of rock’n’roll. The history of the 1960s was largely written by the music of that decade. Starting with The Beatles in 1964, every day seemed to bring something new, exciting, and groundbreaking. And if you were tied in with punk in the 70s, there was a sense amongst you and your friend that was a really special time for music.

But what we’re about to talk about is the era that came immediately after punk. Punk changed the way people looked at music, breaking down artist, social, and demographic barriers. Basically, a new generation blew everything up and started again. That’s punk philosophy in a nutshell.

But that attitude didn’t end with the original punk rock explosion. Instead, we saw an unstoppable chain reaction which resulted in sounds and style and scenes that could not have been possible had punk broken things up.

These new sounds were definitely not punk, but you could tell by listening that something like punk had to have happened for this music to exist in the first place.

We now call this the Post-Punk Era. And this period, roughly from 1978 through to the middle 80s, created the foundations for the Alternative Revolution in the 90s and beyond. Let’s investigate, starting with this thing called New Wave.

Songs heard on this program:

  • Elvis Costello Welcome to the Working Week
  • Blondie, One Way or Another
  • Talking Heads, Psycho Killer
  • Devo, Satisfaction
  • The Pretenders, Stop Your Sobbing
  • The Police, Roxanne
  • B52s, Planet Claire
  • The Knack, My Sharona
  • Duran Duran, Girls on Film
  • Psychedelic Furs, Pretty in Pink

Need a playlist? Eric Wilhite has this for us.

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, Halifax, 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.

If you ever miss a show, you can always get the podcast edition available through Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your on-demand audio.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ 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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.