Gripe Of The Moment: Robert Plant Is Wrong About Punk Rock’s Origins

Here’s the thing, everyone who cares has an opinion on who, when, or where punk started. So, unless you agree with me, my telling you what band started punk music is about as pointless as me telling you that Megadeth is better than Metallica. But you know what, I’m going to tell you anyway.

But first…

I see this video title on YouTube, “Artists on Nirvana and Grunge Rock (Pt.3),” and I’m intrigued enough to click on it to listen to while I work. It’s a VH1 production and it’s pretty damn interesting, but the gripe I have is with what Led Zepplin’s Robert Plant says:

Punk came out, you know in England, that was the last time anything really important happened in England, or came from England, to affect anybody. You know what happened is that punk said, ‘We’re fed up with Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull, Led Zepplin, the sorta skeleton of The Beatles, let’s have some music from the street.’ And what’s happening in America in 1991, ‘90, is that you finally got your own punk.

That is all complete bullshit. First of all, the bands that he lists were all alive and well when punk was unleashed in the ‘70s. Second, and this is my gripe, this is what really pisses me off, punk did not come out of England — it came out of New York City. More specifically, it came from the New York Dolls.

new york dolls started punk rock

Yes, there’s a certain group who will say that The Who was the first sorta punk band. Fact is they were just the hardest rock band within the British Invasion. There’s another group of people who will say that the Sex Pistols were the first punk band, which is a little closer to the truth, but still not accurate.

Here’s the facts if you consider the Sex Pistols the first: the New York Dolls had a manager, Malcolm McLaren, and when he ditched the Dolls to go manage the Sex Pistols in England, he handed them some riffs that the Dolls had been working on. Those riffs ended up on Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols. The Sex Pistols even took a stab at the Dolls on that album with the song “New York.”

In the following calendar year, after the Dolls broke up, guitarist Johnny Thunders responded to “New York” on his solo album, So Alone, with the track “London Boys.”

Anyway, Plant pissed me off with his statement about punk coming out of England, when it so clearly started in NYC. So, Mr. Plant circa 1996, we had our own punk long before the Seattle grunge scene, which isn’t even punk, technically.

Rock Hard \m/

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  • testifyoverthewall

    the ramoNES! THE RAMONES!!!!!!

    • The Ramones did not start punk, as great as they were

      • testifyoverthewall

        maybe they didn’t but most of these British punk bands admit that the Ramones were punking out while they were still clueless. That was my point. I know fully well that the dolls predate the Ramones. and lets not forget the garage bands of the 50s who some believe to be the first wave of punk. whether punk or not they did start something stripped down and don’t give a shit.

  • Punk

    Robert Plant wasn’t 100 % wrong, Punk was invented by americans yeah, but it never really had a breakthrough there. In 1973, when the new york dolls released their first album the bands Plant mentioned were at their peak, commercially, and it didn’t change. The Ramones as popular as they are now, weren’t really popular in the 70s – but 1976/77 when Punk got big in the UK with the Sex Pistols, The Clash, Generation X things changed for the former big bands… which is kinda similar to what happenend with Grunge in america in 1991.

    • But Plant is still wrong in saying that punk came from England