Most people, when they think of what sort of music was popular in the late ’70s, automatically think of Disco. But these were also the years of the rise of punk and new wave, which heralded the ’80s to come. The Ramones were one of the first punk rock bands in the United States, and 1978’s “I Wanna Be Sedated” was one of their most well known tunes.
The official video is entertaining and hilarious–almost as much fun to watch as the song is to listen to. It’s hard to keep up with all the crazy goings-on (and I do mean literally crazy). You might feel like you could use some sedation yourself by the end of it.
NarCissistic Mary, a hard/punk rock indie band my friend (and narcissistic abuse survivor) Mary Pranzatelli started after leaving her abusive relationship last year is doing well, getting lots of gigs, and now they have a brand new song: “The Devil’s Son.” Mary is the group’s frontwoman and writes all the lyrics. I’m going to see if I can get the lyrics for this and post them here later.
I’m not usually a big fan of all-female punk rock acts, but there are a few exceptions. One of the very first all-female punk bands was The Runaways (where the still-gorgeous rocker Joan Jett got her start), which got their start in the mid 1970s. The Runaways paved the way for early all-female rock bands like The Go-Gos in the early 1980s and even later than that, the riot grrrl movement of the late 1980s and early 1990s, which included acts like Bikini Kill, Hole, and Sleater-Kinney.
I wasn’t going to include “Cherry Bomb” as a Monday Melody, because it was never a huge hit in the United States. However, most of those who enjoyed hard rock and punk rock back in the day could really groove to this, and it’s full of attitude and swagger. These girls can rock like the boys. I love their raw sound. I just heard this song today and couldn’t stop watching this live video recorded in 1977, so this week it makes the list. Check out a 19-year old Joan Jett on guitar. She’s just as pretty today, at age 57! So is lead singer, Cherie Currie, who’s only a year younger. It’s truly hard to believe these girls are now all pushing 60!
I had the good fortune of living in New York City (well, actually in Queens, NY) during the punk and new wave explosion of the late 1970s at just the right age. Until 1979 though, I was largely unaware of it, and satisfied myself with Boston, Aerosmith, and Fleetwood Mac, because in those pre-MTV days, that’s what was getting all the radio airplay (along with disco, of course).
On New Years’ Eve, 1978, I met a young man through a friend and fell head over heels in limerence with him. Never mind that he turned out to be a narcissistic jerk (they all were), for the first half of 1979 we had blast. Mark was what today you might call a hipster–he was a Jewish art student who wore skinny ties and trench coats, and he had an earring when they were still a novelty on men. He ate organic food, rode a bike everywhere, listened to obscure music and he adored punk and New Wave. He hated what I listened to and proceeded to give me a music education.
He used to take me downtown to the East Village, and it was like a carnival. Young people everywhere wearing Mohawks, black leather with safety pins, ripped T-shirts, cheap eateries on every corner, second hand record stores. And of course, a multitude of smoke-filled hole-in-the-wall music clubs, the most famous one being CBGBs.
New wave and power pop bands that would become famous during the early 1980s got their start there. Probably the most famous of all of them was a nerdy looking young Irishman named Declan McManus, more famously known as Elvis Costello.
Costello had a hiccupy, neurotic voice and a spastic dance. He wrote songs with deep, almost indecipherable lyrics and incredibly catchy music with melodies that stuck to you like caramel sticks to your teeth. You were never sure if he was sincere or sarcastic, but no matter–all his songs sounded great and you found yourself singing and bopping along.
His biggest hit was a little ditty called “Accidents Will Happen.” Although my life then was no less shitty than it ever was, I always associate this song with good times. It’s impressive for how far ahead of its time it is. It sounds more like a song that would have been popular in 1986, not 1979. I never grew tired of it, and enjoy it as much today as I did when I was 20.