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Punk: The Definitive Record of a Revolution Paperback – December 25, 2001


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Colegrave and Sullivan (The Beatles Anthology) deliver a brash and brilliant photo-essay of the most brash and obnoxious chapter in the history of music and culture long before the advent of crowd surfing. Framing its history between 1975 and 1979 (but covering the years before and after), this volume is a historiography of the music, attitude and dress as typified by Malcolm MacLaren and his manufactured Sex Pistols, uncomfortable commercial shifts in the music when anarchy became "a badge of conformity rather than an alternative way of living" and finally the latter days, which saw the dissolution of the Pistols. The authors trace punk rock from its earliest roots in the avant-garde and Warhol's Factory, and discuss every figure and legend from Iggy Pop and the MC5 to Siouxsie Sue and Johnny Rotten. This volume is smartly designed, featuring hundreds of glossy black-and-white photographs and thousands of appraisals from the likes of Leee Childers, Nils Stevenson, as well as quotes from the film Please Kill Me and Leggs McNeil, whose Punk Magazine gave the wave its name. This is a gorgeous, hefty book and readers may be inspired to break their coffee tables with it. (Mar.)Forecast: While punk revelers won't be as nostalgic as Beatles fans, expect many closet sentimentals to clear the book shelves though reissued and repackaged, punk is not yet dead.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Now a confused and disenchanted 26, punk is ripe for a retrospective but reluctant to be pinned down. Cocreators of the best-selling Beatles Anthology, Colegrave and Sullivan deserve credit for acknowledging both New York City's and London's contributions to the movement and beginning at the beginning with Andy Warhol and his Factory groupies. Yet they still miss the point in this oral history, first published in the U.K.: that punk, like any late 20th-century art form, sprang from a frenzied exchange of ideas. Although they interviewed an impressive range of luminaries from both sides of the pond, they fail to re-create those white-hot intercontinental transmissions. Poor editing and pacing aside, the book's failure has a lot to do with the huge amount of space dedicated to the Sex Pistols and their hangers-on. As crucial as that quartet was to the English scene, bands like the Clash and the Ramones better embody punk's true spirit and show how two groups could constructively rub off on each other. In addition, aside from a few stellar shoe-box shots that have finally come to light, this does not come close to forming a "definitive" coffee-table portrait. Missing are the truly world-stopping photographs of Pennie Smith and Mick Rock, to name a few. Unfortunately, this, too, is only being published in North America as an 111/2" x 121/4" paperback with flaps, so it will easily wear and tear. Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain's Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk (Penguin, 1997) is heavier on American voices and contains a fraction of the photos, but it's a more concise and raucous read. For comprehensive popular music collections only. Heather McCormack, "Library Journal"
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 360 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press (December 25, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 156025369X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1560253693
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 11.5 x 12 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,333,812 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By EA Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 13, 2004
Format: Paperback
"Punk" clothes and "punk pop" are the most visible remnants of the 1970s punk movement. Ironically, they could easily have been from a different planet from the grungy, rebellious punks profiled in "Punk: The Definitive Record of a Revolution." It's not definitive, and it's top-heavy with Sex Pistols stuff. But it's worth a look to get the feel of the punk life.
It starts off, oddly enough, with Andy Warhol and the collection of rich/artistic/beautiful freaks he collected in his Factory. One thing he did was sponsor the now-legendary Velvet Underground, which was the dark side of the rest of the music world. From the legacy of the Velvets came other bands who bent the rules, musically and stylistically (Iggy Pop and the Stooges, and the New York Dolls among them).
With Max's Kansas City and CBGB's as a sort of ground zero, punk bands of all kinds began to blossom. There's Blondie, Television, the Sex Pistols, Siouxie and the Banshees, the Clash, the Dead Boys, the Sex Pistols, the Ramones, Patti Smith, and did I mention the Sex Pistols? Additionally, they take a hard look at the roots of punk, the different kinds of bands there were, the magazines that covered it, the drugs that were done, what effect the music had and what the punks did.
"Punk: The Definitive Record of a Revolution" is a big, fat, clumsy, thick, aggressive-looking book that is almost impossible to read standing up. But if you can manage to keep the dang thing open, then you'll have a pretty good time watching as the punk revolution unfolds. It's basically a collection of quotes and interviews from all sorts of people who were around there at the time.
One thing that "Punk" stresses is that punk itself was not merely a kind of music or dressing.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Andrea on March 29, 2002
Format: Paperback
This book does come across as more of a Sex Pistols book, as opposed to the punk book it promises to be. Granted, there are moments in which artists such as The Ramones, The Clash, Blondie, and Siouxie and the Banshees [the horror!] are mentioned. However, such moments are few and far between, and for a fan of all-around punk, these rare moments fade dismally into the background, blatantly overshadowed by the massive amount of Sex Pistols content.
If the reader is a huge fan of the Sex Pistols, this book is a rare and priceless addition to one's collection. There are countless photos of the Pistols which have never before been
seen by the general public, and each of these photos is of superb quality and possesses great artistry. One such photo is the one of Johnny Rotten smoking some 'chalice' in Jamaica. His head is bent downwards, smoke wafting out of his nostrils and surrounding his head; the photo is oddly hypnotic, beautiful, and serene. There are soem early shots of Sid Vicious in which his hair is short, clean, and he looks scarily innocent and well-groomed[!], and also some photos of various early punks such as 'Catwoman' and quite a few shots of Malcolm McLaren that should have been in a different volume entitled "Punk - The Definitive Record of Money-Hungry Mongers."
Overall, the photos of the Sex Pistols make this a must-have for any hardcore Sex Pistols fans.
The text of the book, however, is a different story. Most of the text consists of quotes from photographers and punk clothing entrepreneurs. It would have been nice to read more GOOD quotes by punk artists; many times their quotes were random and easily discarded as unimportant. There are, however, quite a few good quotes by Sid Vicious and Andy Warhol that make up for this.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By calmly on September 18, 2005
Format: Paperback
Mostly photos and quotations, many of the quotations apparently from interviews the authors conducted with insiders. Seems okay being such a large book given that the alternative would have been several volumes and with smaller photos.

A Sex-Pistols-centric, British view of Punk, but with a good opening on Warhol, the Velvet Undergound, the New York Dolls, Ramones and other U.S. influences. By stopping with 1979, however, such American bands as the Plasmatics, the Circle Jerks and Black Flag aren't covered.

Finding out what happened to Sid Vicious's remains may be the best value from this book for me.

What ever happened to rock n' roll, punk or otherwise? One of the best things about this book is that it can bring you to that time. It's sad that Coldplay passes as good music nowadays. However remarkable the fashion and the events, 70's Punk was basically lots of great music. Who knew what a vacuum would follow it?
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Cliff on June 21, 2004
Format: Paperback
There were some good things here. Great pictures and some interesting historical information I wasn't previously aware of. However, the amount of attention given to the Ramones/Sex Pistols is way over the top. I was expecting a comprehensive review of the life and times of Punk in the mid-late 70's. In the end what I got was a biography of 2 bands and Malcom McLaren with fairly brief (comparitavely) impersonal descriptions of other icons of the time. Additionally the collaborators of this book leave the reader the impression that there were only 2 places in the world (New York and London) that were producing anything worth writing about.
Worth the buy? Yes I would purchase it again. Disappointing? Again Yes. It could have been so much more.
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