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Inspired by punk’s energy, but frustrated with the movement’s inability to expand beyond rock’s traditional three-chord clichés, the post-punk bands we cover here were committed to exploring new sonic territories. Gary Tipp goes on a voyage of discovery…


Punk may have kicked down the door on the excesses of the mainstream-rock establishment, but it was the creative torrent of music that followed in the movement’s wake that just might be its greatest legacy.

Post-punk is the retrospective term used to define this glorious outburst, and while the spirit of punk undoubtedly lived on in the music that was made ather it puzzled out, the new bands were imbued with the fresh spirit of adventure and experimentalism to discover new avenues and create original sounds – ultimately, to finish off the work that punk had started.

Part of the job description was to keep twisting the knife into the body of rock’s stricken dinosaurs. But while punk’s strength lay in its embracing of a DIY attitude that confidently proclaimed anybody could start a band, where it disappointed was its innate inability to go beyond rock’s clichéd three-chord fundamentals. With its fondness for 50s music and rock ’n’ roll, in many ways, punk was happy to peer over its shoulder into the past for inspiration. the music the post-punks created may at times be challenging, but to their credit, there was never any looking back. Post-punk artists experimented freely within a variety of sonic territories, including dub, funk, krautrock, electronica, free jazz and even disco. they also gleaned ideas from art, literature, philosophy and politics.

The post-punk vanguard was led by a bunch of old punks anyway. John Lydon lefithe Sex Pistols’ circus to form PiL; Wire went from angry punks to art-rockers over the course of two albums; while Howard Devoto lefithe Buzzcocks to form Magazine when the punk scene had barely begun; many trailblazing bands, such as the Slits, Gang Of Four, the Pop Group, Joy Division and Siouxsie And the Banshees wouldn’t have formed at all, had it not been for punk.

These bands were followed closely by a second generation and, subsequently, the development of post-punk sub-genres: with new groups nailing colours to movements as diverse as goth (the Cure), industrial (firobbing Gristle), avant-funk (A Certain Ratio), neo-psychedelia (Echo & the Bunnymen), No Wave (James Chance & the Contortions) and many others.

With this natural proliferation, postpunk could be defined just as easily as an era rather than a specific genre in itself. For this countdown, we’ve selected 40 albums that span from 1977 through to 1983, when the scene began to fracture beyond any meaningful recognition; but not before the path had been laid for the New Pop movement and the indie/alt-rock scenes to follow. these days, bands are still labelled as post-punk. However, this loose definition has come to mean, in the main, bands with angular, choppy guitars that have listened to Gang Of Four’s seminal Entertainment one too many times.

We’ve set our ‘rarest’ and ‘latest’ prices according to UK vinyl releases, unless we mention otherwise.



DEVO (1978)

The Ohio oddballs’ first and best album was produced by Brian Eno at Conny Plank’s Studio in Cologne with additional co-production from David Bowie. Pressed on various colours of vinyl on release (yellow, blue, red, green, pink, purple, grey and orange), it features all the early hits, including Jocko Homo and the severely deconstructed (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.

£ Rarest 1978 Virgin, coloured vinyl £25Latest Out of print



Lora Logic was the squawking sax player in X-Ray Spex before a clash of egos sent her packing. She re-emerged with a group of her own and was promptly signed to Rough Trade, home of the band’s only album. Later, Logic turned her back on music and joined a Hare Krishna sect with former bandmate Poly Styrene.

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