What a year. 1977 saw the first test flight of the Space Shuttle, the incorporation of Apple, and the release of the first personal computer—the Commodore PET. There were events that would affect the life-philosophies of little boys and girls for the foreseeable future—the release of the first Star Wars movie and of the Atari 2600. It saw the death of a King (Elvis) and the birth of a slayer (Sarah Michelle Gellar). It saw the completion of long projects, now no more--the Concorde and the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center (designed to withstand and impact of a Boeing 707—a common commercial plane at the time). Steven Biko died in a South African jail, the first MRI scanner was tested in Brooklyn, and GPS was ushered in by the US government. All of these events had the effect of moving the collective to be better, to be different, to expand.
The effects of 1977 are still expanding popular music. Punk had its start a few years earlier, but the release of the Sex Pistols’ Never Mind the Bollocks. Here’s the Sex Pistols slammed the genre into the ears of complacent mid-1970’s “rock” music listeners with all the subtlety of a steel-toed boot. Rock had arguably lost a lot of the biting edge that had so wonderfully angered adults of the 1950’s. Unfortunately, Punk also meant a loss of virtuosity. The Sex Pistols, the Ramones, the Stranglers, Iggy Pop - all proved that you could make seriously compelling music without having studied at Berkley or Eastman. To this day though, hipsters often consider a band less than authentic if its members can actually play their instruments and exhibit this proficiency either on stage or in recordings. To quote one such lost soul overheard at a show at the 9:30 Club featuring some of the best musicians of this modern day: “they’re just wankin’ off.”