Everyone is at least vaguely aware that Rock’n'Roll in the ’50′s was about rebellion. But it wasn’t just about that. R’n'R was also a liberating force. The advent of R’n'R seemed to inspire a horde of people to believe that they could make music and even release a single or two. People who in a previous generation would not have felt confident or skilled enough to take the plunge. So, whilst the ’50′s R’n'R boom created many of the most famous names ever in rock music, it also spawned a whole generation of recording artists who recorded one or two brilliant singles and then disappeared.
Now Punk in 1976 and 1977 was also about rebellion. But to my mind Punk wasn’t just about rebellion either. Early Punk, the early spirit of Punk, was all about refusing to accept the idea that you needed to be musically expert or well trained or well produced in order to create great music. Punk, before mohicans and tartan took over and turned it into a fashion, made creating your own record a legitimate aspiration for anyone who could hold a guitar or a microphone and (ideally) had an idea. And as a result a horde of young people began to put out a single or two – often a brilliant single or two – and then disappear without trace.
So I’d argue that R’n'R and Punk had far more in common with each other than either had with anything that happened in the intervening 20 years. They had very similar values. They were both brilliant cleansing and empowering agents. And I’d even go so far as to say that musically they were quite similar as well.