Pub rock (United Kingdom)

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Pub rock (United Kingdom)_table_infobox_0

Pub rockPub rock (United Kingdom)_header_cell_0_0_0
Stylistic originsPub rock (United Kingdom)_header_cell_0_1_0 Pub rock (United Kingdom)_cell_0_1_1
Cultural originsPub rock (United Kingdom)_header_cell_0_2_0 1970s, London and Essex, United KingdomPub rock (United Kingdom)_cell_0_2_1
Derivative formsPub rock (United Kingdom)_header_cell_0_3_0 Pub rock (United Kingdom)_cell_0_3_1
Other topicsPub rock (United Kingdom)_header_cell_0_4_0

Pub rock is a rock music genre that was developed in the early to mid-1970s in the United Kingdom. Pub rock (United Kingdom)_sentence_0

A back-to-basics movement which incorporated roots rock, pub rock was a reaction against expensively-recorded and produced progressive rock and flashy glam rock. Pub rock (United Kingdom)_sentence_1

Although short-lived, pub rock was notable for rejecting huge stadium venues and for returning live rock to the small intimate venues (pubs and clubs) of its early years. Pub rock (United Kingdom)_sentence_2

Since major labels showed no interest in pub rock groups, pub rockers sought out independent record labels such as Stiff Records. Pub rock (United Kingdom)_sentence_3

Indie labels used relatively inexpensive recording processes, so they had a much lower break-even point for a record than a major label. Pub rock (United Kingdom)_sentence_4

With pub rock's emphasis on small venues, simple, fairly inexpensive recordings and indie record labels, it was the catalyst for the development of the British punk rock scene. Pub rock (United Kingdom)_sentence_5

Despite these shared elements, though, there was a difference between the genres: while pub rock harked back to early rock and roll and R&B, punk was iconoclastic, and sought to break with the past musical traditions. Pub rock (United Kingdom)_sentence_6

Characteristics Pub rock (United Kingdom)_section_0

Pub rock was deliberately nasty, dirty and post-glam. Pub rock (United Kingdom)_sentence_7

Dress style was based around denim and plaid shirts, tatty jeans and droopy hair. Pub rock (United Kingdom)_sentence_8

The figureheads of the movement, Dr. Feelgood, were noted for their frontman's filthy white suit. Pub rock (United Kingdom)_sentence_9

Bands looked menacing and threatening, "like villains on The Sweeney". Pub rock (United Kingdom)_sentence_10

According to David Hepworth, Dr. Feelgood looked as if they had "come together in some unsavoury section of the army". Pub rock (United Kingdom)_sentence_11

Pub rock groups disdained any form of flashy presentation. Pub rock (United Kingdom)_sentence_12

Scene leaders like Dr. Feelgood, Kilburn and the High Roads and Ducks Deluxe played simple, "back to mono" rhythm and blues in the tradition of white British groups like The Rolling Stones and the Yardbirds, with fuzzy overdriven guitars and whiny vocals. Pub rock (United Kingdom)_sentence_13

Lesser acts played funky soul (Kokomo, Clancy, Cado Belle) or country rock (The Kursaal Flyers, Chilli Willi and the Red Hot Peppers). Pub rock (United Kingdom)_sentence_14

While pub rockers did not have expensive stage shows, they took inspiration from early R&B and increased the dynamism and intensity of their live shows. Pub rock (United Kingdom)_sentence_15

Pub rock allowed a variety of singers and musicians to perform, even if they did not adhere to a clearly defined musical genre. Pub rock (United Kingdom)_sentence_16

Major labels scouted pub rock acts, thinking they might find the next Beatles at a local pub; however A&R representatives decided that pub rock did not have potential for mass market hits. Pub rock (United Kingdom)_sentence_17

With no interest from major labels, pub rockers put out their records through small independent record labels such as Stiff Records and Chiswick Records. Pub rock (United Kingdom)_sentence_18

By 1975, the standard for mainstream rock album recordings was expensive, lengthy studio recording processes overseen by highly-paid record producers, with the goal of creating highly polished end products, with overdubs, double-tracking and studio effects. Pub rock (United Kingdom)_sentence_19

Some mainstream bands spent months in the studio perfecting their recording, to achieve a meticulously crafted and perfect product. Pub rock (United Kingdom)_sentence_20

Pub rockers rejected this type of costly, complex recording process; instead, with pub rockers, the goal was simply to capture the band's "live" sound and feel in the studio. Pub rock (United Kingdom)_sentence_21

The difference between mainstream rock and pub rock recording approaches not only produced different sounds (polished vs. raw), it also had a significant impact on the economics of each rock genre. Pub rock (United Kingdom)_sentence_22

With mainstream rock, the costly sound recording process meant that the break-even point for the record label was around 20,000 records; with pub rock, the less expensive recording process meant that pub rock labels could break even with as few as 2,000 records. Pub rock (United Kingdom)_sentence_23

This means that pub rock labels could afford to put out records with a tenth of the sales of mainstream bands. Pub rock (United Kingdom)_sentence_24

The pub rock scene was primarily a live phenomenon. Pub rock (United Kingdom)_sentence_25

During the peak years of 1972 to 1975, there was just one solitary Top 20 single (Ace's "How Long"), and all the bands combined sold less than an estimated 150,000 albums. Pub rock (United Kingdom)_sentence_26

Many acts suffered in the transition from pub to studio recording and were unable to recapture their live sound. Pub rock (United Kingdom)_sentence_27

The genre's primary characteristic is, as the name suggests, the pub. Pub rock (United Kingdom)_sentence_28

By championing smaller venues, the bands reinvigorated a local club scene that had dwindled since the 1960s as bands priced themselves into big theatres and stadia. Pub rock (United Kingdom)_sentence_29

New aspiring bands could now find venues to play without needing to have a record company behind them. Pub rock (United Kingdom)_sentence_30

Pub rock was generally restricted to Greater London with some overspill into Essex, although the central belt in Scotland also produced local bands such as The Cheetahs and The Plastic Flies. Pub rock (United Kingdom)_sentence_31

Pub rockers believed that mainstream stars who played at arenas had lost touch with their audiences. Pub rock (United Kingdom)_sentence_32

Instead, pub rock groups preferred intimate venues, which were essential to creating meaningful music and connecting with the audience. Pub rock (United Kingdom)_sentence_33

Pub rock's small venue approach increased the importance of good songwriting and well-written lyrics, in contrast to mainstream pop which had marginalized both elements. Pub rock (United Kingdom)_sentence_34

The UK pub rock scene wound down by 1976. Pub rock (United Kingdom)_sentence_35

The record industry was already looking into early punk, thinking it might be the next "big thing". Pub rock (United Kingdom)_sentence_36

In 1976, some pub rock labels were putting out both the harder-edged pub rock acts and early punk bands such as The Damned. Pub rock (United Kingdom)_sentence_37

History Pub rock (United Kingdom)_section_1

American country-rock band Eggs over Easy were the precursors of the movement when they broke the jazz-only policy of the "Tally Ho" pub in Kentish Town, in May 1971. Pub rock (United Kingdom)_sentence_38

They were impressive enough to inspire local musicians such as Nick Lowe. Pub rock (United Kingdom)_sentence_39

They were soon joined by a handful of London acts such as Bees Make Honey, Max Merritt and the Meteors, who were originally from Australia and had moved to London, Ducks Deluxe, The Amber Squad and Brinsley Schwarz who had been victims of the prevailing big-venue system. Pub rock (United Kingdom)_sentence_40

Most of the venues were in large Victorian pubs "north of Regents Park", where there were plenty of suitable establishments. Pub rock (United Kingdom)_sentence_41

One of the most notable venues was the Hope and Anchor pub on Islington's Upper Street, still a venue. Pub rock (United Kingdom)_sentence_42

Following the Tally Ho and the Hope and Anchor came the Cock, the Brecknock, the Lord Nelson, the Greyhound in Fulham, the Red Lion, the Rochester Castle, the Nashville in West Kensington, the Pegasus Pub on Green Lanes, The Torrington in North Finchley, Dingwalls and the Dublin Castle in Camden Town, the Pied Bull at Angel, Bull and Gate in Kentish Town, the Kensington near Olympia, the Newlands Tavern in Nunhead, the Cricketers at Kennington Oval, Half Moon in Putney and Half Moon in Herne Hill (south London outposts) and The Sir George Robey in Finsbury Park. Pub rock (United Kingdom)_sentence_43

Out of London, venues included the Dagenham Roundhouse, the Grand in Leigh on Sea and the Admiral Jellicoe on Canvey Island. Pub rock (United Kingdom)_sentence_44

This network of venues later formed a ready-made launch pad for the punk scene. Pub rock (United Kingdom)_sentence_45

In 1974, pub rock was the hottest scene in London. Pub rock (United Kingdom)_sentence_46

At that point it seemed that nearly every large pub in London was supplying live music, along with hot snacks and the occasional stripper. Pub rock (United Kingdom)_sentence_47

The figureheads were Essex-based R&B outfit Dr. Feelgood. Pub rock (United Kingdom)_sentence_48

By Autumn 1975, they were joined by acts such as The Stranglers, Roogalator, Eddie and the Hot Rods, Kilburn and the High Roads, and Joe Strummer's 101ers. Pub rock (United Kingdom)_sentence_49

Pub rock was rapidly overtaken by the UK punk explosion after spawning what are now seen as several proto-punk bands. Pub rock (United Kingdom)_sentence_50

Some artists were able to make the transition by jumping ship to new outfits, notably Joe Strummer, Ian Dury and Elvis Costello. Pub rock (United Kingdom)_sentence_51

A few stalwarts were later able to realise Top 40 chart success, but the moment was gone. Pub rock (United Kingdom)_sentence_52

Many of the actual pubs themselves survived as punk venues (especially the Nashville and The Hope & Anchor), but a range of notable pubs such as the George Robey and the Pied Bull have since been closed or demolished. Pub rock (United Kingdom)_sentence_53

The Newlands Tavern survived and is now called The Ivy House. Pub rock (United Kingdom)_sentence_54

Legacy Pub rock (United Kingdom)_section_2

According to Nostalgia Central, "Pub rock may have been killed by punk, but without it there might not have been any punk in Britain at all". Pub rock (United Kingdom)_sentence_55

The boundaries were originally blurred: at one point, the Hot Rods and the Sex Pistols were both considered rival kings of "street rock". Pub rock (United Kingdom)_sentence_56

The Pistols played support slots for the Blockheads and the 101ers at the Nashville. Pub rock (United Kingdom)_sentence_57

Their big break was supporting Eddie and the Hot Rods at the Marquee in Feb 1976. Pub rock (United Kingdom)_sentence_58

Dr. Feelgood played with the Ramones in New York. Pub rock (United Kingdom)_sentence_59

The word "punk" debuted on Top of the Pops on a T-shirt worn by a Hot Rod. Pub rock (United Kingdom)_sentence_60

Punk fanzine Sniffin' Glue reviewed Feelgood album Stupidity as "the way rock should be". Pub rock (United Kingdom)_sentence_61

Apart from the ready-made live circuit, punk also inherited the energy of pub rock guitar heroes like Dr. Feelgood's Wilko Johnson, his violence and mean attitude. Pub rock (United Kingdom)_sentence_62

Feelgood have since been described as John the Baptist to punk's messiahs. Pub rock (United Kingdom)_sentence_63

In the gap between the music-press hype and vinyl releases of early punk, the rowdier Pub Rock bands even led the charge for those impatient for actual recorded music, but it was not to last. Pub rock (United Kingdom)_sentence_64

Punks such as Sex Pistols singer John Lydon eventually rejected the pub rock bands as "everything that was wrong with live music" because they had failed to fight the stadium scene and, as he saw it, preferred to narrow themselves into an exclusive pub clique. Pub rock (United Kingdom)_sentence_65

The back-to-basics approach of pub rock apparently involved chord structures that were still too complicated for punk guitarists like the Sex Pistols' Steve Jones, who complained "if we had played those complicated chords we would have sounded like Dr. Feelgood or one of those pub rock bands". Pub rock (United Kingdom)_sentence_66

By the time the Year Zero of punk (1976) was over, punks wanted nothing to do with pub rockers. Pub rock (United Kingdom)_sentence_67

Bands like The Stranglers were shunned but they didn't care. Pub rock (United Kingdom)_sentence_68

It was independent record label Stiff Records, formed from a £400 loan from Feelgood's Lee Brilleaux, who went on to release the first British punk single—The Damned's "New Rose". Pub rock (United Kingdom)_sentence_69

Stiff Records' early clientele consisted of a mix of pub rockers and punk rock acts for which they became known. Pub rock (United Kingdom)_sentence_70

See also Pub rock (United Kingdom)_section_3

Pub rock (United Kingdom)_unordered_list_0

Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: rock (United Kingdom).