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Punk rock first came on the scene in the 1970's, and had a huge following in the US, UK and Australia. It developed mainly as a backlash against the way that rock had developed at the end of the 60's, which many people perceived had turned from wild and rebellious, into a tame, sentimental commercialism. Rock had always been youthful, wild and defiant but somewhere along in this had been lost. Punk brought it all screaming back with fast, hard instrumentations, stripped down lyrics and a political, anti-establishment vibe. Punk embraced self-publication and production, and with bands recording and distributing their own material, punk was able to evolve virtually uncensored, and blossomed into the spreading cultural phenomenon.

Punk rock was interlinked with a whole subculture, which rejected political idealism and commercialism and dared to rebel aggressively against constrictive and ineffective establishments. This involved distinctive, visual statements in the fashion and hairstyles, typically t-shirts with anti-establishment logos, unconventional jeans and spiked accessories, and short, aggressive hairstyles such as the Mohawk and the skinhead. Tattoos and piercing were also a major part of the style, as well as elements of bondage with leather and metal studded collars and wrist restraints being worn as accessories.

The 1980's saw the beginning of a darker side to punk rock, with more aggressive, hardcore subcultures coming to the forefront. The 'Oi!' subgenre was built up from working class routes, and the music revolved around street level issues such as unemployment, football, police harassment and alcohol. A small part of this group was also linked to both extreme right and left politics, but most members denounced racism and fascism and it is more likely that members were being confused with other hardcore subgenres around at this time like the Nazis Punk Groups.

Punk rock has undergone many evolutions over the years and the modern day punk has a decidedly 'mainstream' aspect. This could well be because people simply don't shock easily anymore, and are generally more informed about political and cultural issues. Bands like Greenday, Bad Religion and The Offspring have taken the fast, hard instrumentation and stripped down style of punk music and made it commercially successful, with million selling albums. Punk rock has always fought a losing battle against commercialisation, the fundamental point being that if you sell into the system you are trying to subvert than you loose all credibility. However although this may have been true in the early days of punk, commercial success no longer means the censorship that it used to, and so modern bands are still able to retain a major element of that youthful, rebellious edge that punk rock was always all about.

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