Did Keith Richards Start The Punk Movement?

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Punk rock can be defined as a music genre that emerged during the mid-1970s and it became such an extremely popular genre in the late ’70s that it turned into a subculture and a major cultural phenomenon all around the world, especially in the UK. Punk was a rebellious genre that fought against mainstream rock music and big record companies which were only after gaining more and more money without giving importance to the art.

The genre’s greatest representers, Patti Smith, The Ramones, The Saints, Sex Pistols, The Clash, The Damned, and The Buzzcocks contributed a lot to punk’s widespread popularity and invasion of the world. Especially thanks to Sex Pistols, Punk had a great influence on British youth’s lifestyle, fashion such as offensive T-shirts, jewelry, safety pins, bondage and S&M clothes, leather jackets, studded or spiked bands. Also, people started to wonder about punk music’s roots and some of them claimed that The Rolling Stones was one of their predecessors.

Keith Richards’ Thoughts On Punk Music And The Rolling Stones’ Influence On The Genre

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The Rolling Stones became one of the most popular and influential rock bands in the world with their hit songs and unforgettable live performances. The band members, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, and Charlie Watts were considered genre-definers and inspired many young generation bands and musicians with their unique styles. Therefore, some music critics saw The Rolling Stones as the band that influenced punk rock bands.

During his previous interviews before The Rolling Stones’ Woodstock show, the band’s guitarist and co-founder, Keith Richards was asked whether he and the other band members started to punk rock movement. He responded to the question by reminding the reporter that he wasn’t in England back then. Probably he was talking about the times when the band traveled to different countries which were described as ‘tax exiles.’

In addition, Richards shared his thoughts and ideas about punk music saying that the musicians wished to create the songs, the true rock and roll works that they listened to when they were children. The guitarist highlighted that The Rolling Stones was one of the bands that created and released those works in their early years. Therefore, it can be said that Keith Richards admitted his band’s influence on punk music but he didn’t see it as the beginning of punk rock.

Furthermore, even though no one can deny The Rolling Stones’ contributions to almost every rock music genre, it’s obvious that punk rock bands built their own legacy with the help of their groundbreaking rebellion against every mainstream work and strict laws of society which most people thought that they were unbreakable. Not only punk songs but also their effect on a whole generation and their way of thinking will never be forgotten.

In Richards’ words, he said:

“I wasn’t even there, man. So I don’t know, I really can’t talk about it better because I wasn’t in England in that period. I only know the flat we’ve gotten over the years. Some things I like about it, some I didn’t. I think what they were trying to do was sound like what they are when they were kids which was our record in the early and they do that. I just don’t have enough time to get the music together, it was more like a theater.”

You can watch the interview below.