Punk had a unique and complex image. It was meant to shock, disturb and disrupt the norm. Outside of punk’s ripped and safety pinned anti-fashion this impulse to outrage was never more apparent than on punk poster art.
Sex Pistols, Never Mind The Bollocks Poster, 1977
This iconic Jamie Reid designed, acid yellow promotional poster for the Sex Pistols album became integral to the bands image and caused almost as much controversy when stores across the UK refused to stock the album due it having the word ‘bollocks’. Big-wig lawyers successfully fought the indecency ban on the album and the poster.
The Clash, Clash City Rockers Poster, ’78
The reason the Clash rarely appeared on their posters, was because their manager, Bernie Rhodes, wanted to create a mystique around the band. Paul Simonon said the band had a lot to do with the posters. “If you say ‘I don’t care about the posters, I just do the music,’ you’re underselling yourself. It’s all important.”
The Skids’ Days In Europa Poster, ’79
Days in Europa, the second album by Scottish band the Skids was initially released with ‘Nazi Germany Olympics‘ inspired cover artwork. The album was re-released the following year with a new cover. and a change the album’s track listing and re-mix of some of the original tracks.
Black Flag, Texas Date Tour Poster, ’80
California’s Black Flag organised their own gigs, calling club owners and plastering hundreds of their flyer all over town. Designed by the band’s original bass player, Raymond Pettibon, the posters often featured comic strip imagery .This poster is for their show at the Island in Houston, Texas.
Rock Against Racism Carnival Poster, ’78
Rock Against Racism, (RAR) started in ’76 as a reaction to the rise in racist attacks in the UK and increasing support for the neo-Nazi National Front in local elections. RAR brought together black and white fans in their common love of music. This poster hints at Russian constructivism and Mod graphics.
I’m a London born and bred music journalist, a mediocre bass player and the occasional strummer of the guitar. In the ’80s I worked in recording studios and made a few records you’d probably recognise. I have written a couple of books and made the odd media appearance as a music commentator. I now call Brisbane home.