Debbie Harry Demonstrates the Punk Pogo Dance for a U.S. Audience (1978)


Each era takes what it wishes from early punk and discards what it does not, in order that numerous subgenres have descended from a small, eccentric number of punk bands from the past due 1970s. The velocity and brute simplicity of the Ramones took over in the 80s. The Clash’s strident, reggae-inflected anthems guided a lot of the 90s. The angular artwork rock and new wave disco of Television, Talking Heads, and Blondie outlined the 2000s.

But some issues was nearly terminally passé, or terminally silly, after punk’s first wave: like signing to main labels or dressed in swastikas, mockingly or in a different way. Already out of favor by way of 1978, the first punk dance, the pogo, was once so tragically unhip that Debbie Harry pronounced it lifeless on arrival in the U.S. on famed Manhattan cable access show TV Party, above. She gives to show it anyway as a “historic” artifact.

Her statement turns out like each a sarcastic rip on the ridiculous unfold of tendencies and a authentic caution to those that would possibly attempt to make this, like, a factor in New York. Don’t carry a creaky pogo keep on with you to the membership. Do pour beer over your head after a sweaty 30 minutes of no matter dance you do. There was once such a lot to be informed about punk etiquette even then. Unless you took place to be Sid Vicious, or in the target market of the first Sex Pistols presentations. Then it was once all honest recreation.

The pogo originated, so the lore is going, with Sid. As Steve Severin of Siouxsie and the Banshees recalls it, “We first met [Sid] at one in all the concert events. He started bouncing round the dance flooring, the so known as legend of the pogo dance. It was once simply Sid leaping up and down, looking to see the band, jumping up and down as a result of he was once caught in the again someplace.” Just as everybody who noticed the Sex Pistols began their very own band, everybody who noticed Sid leap round began to pogo.

What to start with seems like risk free a laugh, particularly in comparison to the brutal mosh pits that took over for the pogo, was once anything else however. “Pogoing was once very violent and really painful,” one eyewitness remembers. “People weren’t rather overwhelmed to demise, however critical accidents came about.” We would possibly reconsider Men Without Hats’ “The Safety Dance,” the 80s hit written in defense of pogoing. Lead singer Ivan Doroschuk penned the track after he was once kicked out of a membership for doing the pogo. “I feel other people can relate to the empowering roughly message of ‘The Safety Dance,’” he says.

“The Safety Dance” shouldn’t have been the empowering international destroy it was once had it been known as “Pogo Dancing,” a minor hit for the Vibrators in 1976. Not just about as iconic, and overshadowed by way of a hipper dance of the identical identify in the 80s, was once the robotic, elegized by way of The Saints in “Doing the Robot.” This dance was once “each extra expressive and not more spontaneous,” as cultural theorist Dick Hebdige describes it in Subculture: The Meaning of Style, consisting of “slightly perceptible twitches of the head or arms or extra extravagant lurches (Frankenstein’s first steps?) that have been swiftly halted at random issues.” Hardly as sensible as the pogo, however most certainly a lot more secure.

by way of Boing Boing

Related Content:

How Blondie’s Debbie Harry Learned to Deal With Superficial, Demeaning Interviewers

A Short History of How Punk Became Punk: From Late 50s Rockabilly and Garage Rock to The Ramones & Sex Pistols

The 100 Top Punk Songs of All Time, Curated by Readers of the UK’s Sounds Magazine in 1981

Josh Jones is a creator and musician based totally in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness


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