"London Calling" - The Clash, Joe Strummer, right, with band members Mick Jones, left, and Paul Simonon pictured here in 1978, played a major role in the history of punk music:
A short history of punk: 'Nuggets' —
Punk rock combined a DIY sensibility with stripped-down songs and a screw-you attitude. Though the best-known punk movement came out of 1976-77 Britain, the genre had its roots in 1960s garage band America, with bands such as the Seeds, the Sonics and Question Mark and the Mysterians. Their singles were collected on the 1972 LP "Nuggets," which was expanded into a series of boxed sets in the CD era.
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The Velvet Underground —
Lou Reed, John Cale, Sterling Morrison and Maureen Tucker (with drop-bys from Nico and Doug Yule) combined raw instrumentation with avant-garde subject matter. The apocryphal story goes that only 3,000 people bought the Velvet Underground's first album, but every one of them formed a band. (Actually, the album did much better than that, but why mess with a good story?) Many of those bands were proto-punks.
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The Stooges —
James Newell Osterberg -- aka Iggy Pop -- and his band mates blasted out of southeast Michigan with loud, distorted music and lyrics that were glorious in their minimalism: "It's another year / For me and you / Another year / With nothing to do" went "1969." What more was there to say?
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Jonathan Richman/Modern Lovers —
Heavily influenced by the Velvet Underground (their first album was even produced by John Cale), the Modern Lovers also took a back-to-basics approach at a time when progressive rock was in full swing. Jonathan Richman's songs were down to earth, even nostalgic, hailing late-night drives and disdaining the "Modern World." Drummer David Robinson later joined the Cars; keyboardist Jerry Harrison ended up in Talking Heads.
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New York Dolls —
Adding a touch of glam to downtown New York grit, the New York Dolls' raw sound and theatricality proved both influential and divisive: In a Creem magazine survey, they were named both the best and worst new band of 1973. The initial lineup broke up after two albums, though members David Johansen and Sylvain Sylvain reformed the band in the 2000s.
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With their leather jackets, sneering attitude and turbo-powered songs, the foursome from Queens, New York, defined "punk," and it was their July 4, 1976, appearance at London's Roundhouse that helped ignite the UK punk scene. "If that Ramones record hadn't existed, I don't know if we could have built a scene here," the Clash's Joe Strummer once said. Their rise was slower, but no less influential, in their home country.
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Sex Pistols —
Equal parts provocateurs, fashion victims and three-chord howlers, the Sex Pistols kicked off their meteoric rise with their angry "Anarchy in the UK" and a number of controversial media appearances. The band made just one studio album, but its echoes still reverberate.
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The Clash —
The name could be taken literally: Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon and Terry Chimes (and later Topper Headon) really did have disparate musical tastes. But they shared a fire fueled by politics and music. It made for five terrific studio albums, highlighted by songs such as "White Riot," "London Calling" and "The Magnificent Seven," and an unparalleled live act.
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The Damned —
Captain Sensible and his merry crew actually beat the Sex Pistols to the record racks -- "New Rose" came out before "Anarchy in the UK" -- and were in the forefront of the British punk movement.
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Blondie was one of the many New York bands that came out of the downtown scene revolving around CBGB. The group, led by singer Debbie Harry and guitarist Chris Stein, was distinctive in its love of girl-group pop, though such songs as "X Offender" certainly had different subject matter. The group eventually had four No. 1 hits.
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Another CBGB favorite, Television revolved around guitarists Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd, whose tangled lines flowed through such cuts as the 10-minute "Marquee Moon," the title cut to their first album. The group split after 1978's "Adventure," though there were occasional reunions.
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Richard Hell and the Voidoids —
Richard Hell and the Voidoids recorded "Blank Generation," one of the most anarchic and wonderful of punk singles, and Hell's spiked hair and torn clothes became emblematic of the punk look.