One Chord Wonders: Power and Meaning in Punk Rock (Popular Music in Britain)

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9780335150656: One Chord Wonders: Power and Meaning in Punk Rock (Popular Music in Britain)

Originally published in 1985, One Chord Wonders was the first full-length study of the glory years of British punk. The book argues that one of punk’s most significant political achievements was to expose the operations of power in the British entertainment industries as they were thrown into confusion by the sound and the fury of musicians and fans. Through a detailed examination of the conditions under which punk emerged and then declined, Dave Laing develops a view of the music as both complex and contradictory. Special attention is paid to the relationship between punk and the music industry of the late 1970s, 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 in punk (from Johnny Rotten to Poly Styrene), the instrumental and vocal sound of the music, and its visual images. The concluding 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.” There is also a chronology of the punk era, plus discographies and a bibliography.

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About the Author:

Dave Laing is an associate editor of the journal Popular Music History and an honorary research fellow at the University of Liverpool who has been researching and writing about popular music, its business, and its politics for more than 40 years. His books include Buddy Holly and The Sound of Our Time. He is a coeditor of The Continuum Encyclopedia of Popular Music of the World and The Faber Companion to 20th Century Popular Music and has contributed to several collections, including Cambridge Companion to the Beatles; Global Pop, Local Language; and The Popular Music Studies Reader. TV Smith was the founder, singer, and songwriter of the Adverts, who formed in late 1976 and became one of the leading bands in the first wave of British punk rock. He continues to tour the world, bringing his epic solo show to ever-increasing audiences.


“A clear, unprejudiced account of a difficult subject.”  —Jon Savage, author, England’s Dreaming

"What united punk . . . was the tension between realistic lyrics decrying conformity and repression and the sonic jolt that undermines musical predictability . . . . In chapters titled 'Formation,' 'Naming,' 'Looking,' 'Listening' and 'Framing,' Laing dissects the strategies claimed by punk." —John L. Murphy,

"This is a reasoned and well researched history of those times, it explains where the (punk) movement came from and how it fitted into the social patterns of the times." —Adrian Bloxham,

"If not a defining text on 70s Punk, then certainly one of the most unbiased and articulate of its kind." —Steve Scanner,

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Dave Laing
Published by Open University (1985)
ISBN 10: 0335150659 ISBN 13: 9780335150656
New Paperback Quantity Available: 1
Irish Booksellers
(Rumford, ME, U.S.A.)

Book Description Open University, 1985. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0335150659

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