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Punk Clears The Air.....

As the Hippy Utopia crumbled away, the cynical commercialism of huge corporate recording companies took over. They began to promote music tailored to appeal to targeted audiences and on artists with the potential to sell millions of copies, to the exclusion of those seen as riskier investments. Branches of popular music based more on manipulation through publicity than on street-level musical culture was the result, culminating in the theatricality and indulgence of stadium rock, glam and glitter rock and the vacant excesses of the flashier side of funk and disco.

In Britain bluebeat, or ska, originally imported with Caribbean immigrants in the 1950's, surfaced into the pop mainstream as reggae, as it finally acquired a commercially viable following amongst a section white and second generation black youth. It's bouncy, cheerful rhythms were a welcome diversion for many from the prevailing music scene.

As the decade progressed, economic stagnation and high unemployment saw frustration growing within a large section of white youth, who seemed to have lost their own voice of rebellion. The result was an explosion of anger in the form of punk rock, which sent shock waves through the established order every bit as powerful as rock & roll had twenty years before. And just like rock & roll, punk was a short-lived but necessary phenomenon whose raw energy soon dissipated into the sophisticated experimental sound of post-punk and the altogether less threatening strains of new wave.

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