Were They Punk?

When the punk rock phenomenon emerged in the late 1970’s, many artists whose style was similar made a conscious effort to disassociate themselves from the burgeoning and highly-controversial music scene. But in late 1970’s London, punk rock was so dominant in the music club scene that some artists had trouble finding gigs because they weren’t “punk” enough.

This gave rise to accusations that the artists in question were somehow “fake punks” (or “poseurs“, if you prefer): artists who posed as punk rockers to get gigs and ride the explosive popularity of punk rock to gain fame and further their careers. For some of these artists, adding some punk elements to their music was a pretty natural move, while others changed little more than their image to appear more punk. And some these artists were authentic punks, but for a variety of reasons were slagged by the music press, fans, or other punks for posing and opportunism.

In most cases, these artists also didn’t try very hard (or at all) to deny being punks or clarify their stance on punk rock until well after their mainstream success had been safely secured.

Regardless of their motives and intentions at the time, fake punk or not, all of these artists have released some great music, some of which should rightly be categorized as punk rock, even if it looks like posing in retrospect (or looked like it at the time).