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DamagedMusicality and Race in Early American Punk$
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Evan Rapport

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781496831217

Published to University Press of Mississippi: May 2021

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781496831217.001.0001

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Punk and the White Atlantic

Punk and the White Atlantic

(p.139) 5 Punk and the White Atlantic

Evan Rapport

University Press of Mississippi

Punk emerged as a fully formed and recognizable style in the mid-1970s in the United Kingdom, primarily in London, and in the United States, primarily in New York and Los Angeles. British punk musicians such as the Damned, the Clash, and the Sex Pistols during this period put together elements from American punk and its precedents, including elements that were previously heard in distinction from each other, such as the riff-based blues of the Stooges and back-to-basics rock and roll songs of the Ramones. Although this period is marked by a preoccupation with whether punk was “invented” in the US or UK, in fact, punk is a product of exchanges between musicians across the Atlantic, with much of the music continuing a long history of white people using a vocabulary of Black musical resources, including blues and reggae, to explore identity, class distinctions, and the nature of whiteness itself. These exchanges in punk are comparable to the so-called “British Invasion” of the prior decade. The discourse of making the mid-1970s UK a starting point for punk also appears to be an idea that American musicians were primarily invested in, and an idea that further dissociated punk from its basis in Black American music.

Keywords:   Clash, Sex Pistols, Damned, British punk, British Invasion

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