10 Forgotten 70s and Early 80s Punk Rock Classics

#10: XTC – Science Fiction

“Science Fiction” by XTC is a captivating and thought-provoking song that effortlessly combines elements of new wave and alternative rock. Released in 1982 as part of their album “English Settlement,” the track stands out for its intricate lyricism and unique musical arrangement.

The song’s lyrics are a highlight, as they delve into the complexities of human existence, societal evolution, and the wonders of science and technology. Colin Moulding’s vocals are both soothing and contemplative, drawing the listener into the song’s introspective world.

Musically, “Science Fiction” features a catchy and rhythmic guitar riff that drives the song forward, accompanied by intricate percussion and a subtle yet effective use of synthesizers. The band’s musical proficiency shines through, creating a rich and layered sonic landscape that complements the lyrical depth.


#9: “(My Baby Does) Good Sculputes” by The Rezillos

“(My Baby Does) Good Sculptures” by The Rezillos is a high-energy, punk-infused pop-rock anthem that perfectly encapsulates the band’s irreverent and playful style. Released in 1978 as one of their signature tracks, the song is a burst of infectious enthusiasm.

With Fay Fife’s spirited vocals leading the way, the song is a tongue-in-cheek celebration of a partner’s artistic talents, in this case, sculpting. The lyrics are quirky and humorous, filled with witty wordplay that adds to the song’s charm.

Musically, “(My Baby Does) Good Sculptures” is characterized by its driving guitars, punchy rhythm section, and catchy melodies. The Rezillos’ tight instrumentation and infectious hooks make it a fun and danceable track that’s hard not to tap your feet to.


#8: “Language School” by Tours

“Language School” by Tours is an indie-electronic track that offers a dreamy and immersive musical experience. Released as part of their album “Enthusiast” in 2011, the song stands out for its atmospheric sound and introspective lyrics.

The track’s production is a highlight, featuring lush and ethereal synth textures, gentle percussion, and smooth vocals. The music creates a sense of floating in a sonic reverie, allowing the listener to get lost in its hypnotic melodies.

Lyrically, “Language School” touches on themes of communication and connection, exploring the idea of language as a bridge between people. The lyrics are introspective and thought-provoking, adding depth to the overall mood of the song.


#7: “Up Against The Wall” by Tom Robinson Band

“Up Against the Wall” by the Tom Robinson Band is a powerful and politically charged punk-rock anthem that emerged during the late 1970s punk movement. Released in 1978 as part of their album “Power in the Darkness,” the song remains a defining moment in the era’s protest music.

The song’s lyrics are unabashedly confrontational, addressing issues of police brutality and social injustice. Tom Robinson’s impassioned vocals and direct storytelling make a strong statement, with lines like “You had to be a toughie when you grew up on the street” resonating with a sense of urgency.

Musically, “Up Against the Wall” features a driving punk-rock sound, characterized by raw guitar riffs, a relentless rhythm section, and Robinson’s charismatic vocal delivery. The song’s aggressive energy and rebellious spirit are perfectly in line with the punk ethos of the time.


#6: “Part Time Punks” by Television Personalities

“Part Time Punks” by Television Personalities is a cult classic and a quintessential indie-pop song that emerged during the post-punk era of the late 1970s. Released in 1978 as the band’s debut single, it remains an iconic track in the genre’s history.

The song’s charm lies in its lo-fi production, DIY ethos, and its relatable, everyday lyrics. The lyrics reflect the band’s outsider perspective, capturing the essence of disaffected youth in a witty and observational manner. The line “You can’t even sing/You can’t even play/You look kinda cool/For a minute or two” captures the essence of the indie and punk scene’s rejection of traditional musical conventions.

Musically, “Part Time Punks” is marked by its catchy melody, jangly guitars, and a sense of amateurish enthusiasm that became emblematic of the DIY punk movement. It’s charmingly unpolished and has a rough-around-the-edges quality that endears it to fans of lo-fi indie music.



#5: “Just Nother Teenage Rebel” by The Outcasts

“Just Another Teenage Rebel” by The Outcasts is a raw and anthemic punk rock song that emerged during the late 1970s punk era. Released in 1978, the track is a high-octane expression of youthful rebellion and defiance.

The song’s lyrics encapsulate the feelings of frustration, alienation, and non-conformity that were prevalent among teenagers during that time. Lines like “I don’t wanna be like anybody else/That’s not for me” reflect the punk ethos of individuality and resistance against societal norms.

Musically, “Just Another Teenage Rebel” is characterized by its fast-paced, aggressive guitar riffs, and a driving rhythm section. The song’s energetic and unapologetic sound is emblematic of classic punk rock, with its DIY attitude and garage-band aesthetic.


#4: “The Day the World Turned Day-Glo” by X-Ray Spex

“The Day the World Turned Day-Glo” by X-Ray Spex is a punk rock classic that burst onto the scene in 1978 as a bold and distinctive offering. Fronted by the charismatic Poly Styrene, the song stands out for its unique sound and rebellious attitude.

The lyrics of “The Day the World Turned Day-Glo” critique consumerism, artificiality, and the excessive use of plastic in society, reflecting the punk movement’s anti-establishment ethos. Poly Styrene’s distinctive vocals and cutting social commentary are delivered with a rebellious spirit that resonated with punk audiences.

Musically, the song features a high-energy blend of punk, new wave, and saxophone-driven ska influences. The saxophone adds a distinctive and memorable element to the track, making it stand out from traditional punk fare.


#3: “Manny Moe And Jack” by The Dickies

“Manny, Moe and Jack” by The Dickies is a punk rock gem that showcases the band’s irreverent and humorous approach to music. Released in 1979 as part of their album “Dawn of the Dickies,” the song is a tongue-in-cheek tribute to the iconic Pep Boys mascots, Manny, Moe, and Jack.

The song’s lyrics are quirky and playful, with the band singing about the automotive mascots as if they were punk rock heroes. The humorous tone and catchy chorus make it a memorable and entertaining listen.

Musically, “Manny, Moe and Jack” features the Dickies’ signature fast-paced punk sound, characterized by frenetic guitar riffs, rapid-fire drumming, and a sense of youthful energy. The band’s ability to blend humor with punk aggression is a hallmark of their style.


#2: “I Gave My Punk Jacket to Rickie” by Mary Monday

“I Gave My Punk Jacket to Rickie” by Mary Monday is a punk rock anthem that emerged during the late 1970s punk scene. Released in 1978 as part of her EP “I Gave My Punk Jacket to Rickie,” the song encapsulates the punk ethos of rebellion, individualism, and youthful defiance.

The song’s lyrics tell a story of a personal transformation, symbolized by giving away one’s punk jacket. It reflects the spirit of punk rock, where identity and subversion were central themes. The act of giving away the jacket signifies a departure from a certain identity and a bold move towards self-discovery.

Musically, “I Gave My Punk Jacket to Rickie” is marked by its punk rock sound, featuring gritty guitar riffs and a driving rhythm section. Mary Monday’s vocals exude confidence and rebellion, which aligns perfectly with the rebellious nature of punk music.


#1: “New Rose” by The Damned

“New Rose” by The Damned is an iconic punk rock anthem that made its mark in 1976 as the first-ever single released by a British punk band. This pioneering track encapsulates the raw, rebellious spirit of punk and remains a foundational piece of the genre’s history.

The song’s lyrics are simple yet powerful, revolving around themes of youthful desire and infatuation. Its directness and urgency reflect the unapologetic attitude of punk, as the singer declares, “I got a feeling inside of me, it’s kind of strange, like a stormy sea.”

Musically, “New Rose” boasts a blazing tempo, aggressive guitar riffs, and a driving rhythm section. Dave Vanian’s distinctive and snarling vocals inject the song with a sense of primal energy. The track’s immediacy and minimalistic structure are emblematic of punk’s DIY ethos.


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Author: guyute