One Chord Wonders Power and Meaning in Punk Rock

One Chord Wonders: Power and Meaning in Punk Rock

by Dave Laing Author

One of punk’s most significant political achievements was to expose the operations of power in British entertainment industries, as they were thrown into confusion by the sound and fury of musicians and fans. Through a detailed examination of the conditions under which punk emerged and declined, Dave Laing develops a view of the music as both complex and contradictory. With special attention to the relationship between punk and the late 1970s' music industry, in particular the political economy of the independent record companies through which much of punk was distributed.

Using examples from a wide range of bands, individual chapters use the techniques of semiology to consider the radical approach to naming (from Johnny Rotten to Poly Styrene), the instrumental and vocal sound of the music, and its visual images. The final chapter critically examines various theoretical explanations of the punk phenomenon, including the class origins of its protagonists and the influential view that punk represented the latest in a line of British youth “subcultures.” Also included is a timeline of the punk era, discographies, and a bibliography!