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Senior Year

Senior Year, 1977: Anarchy in the Classroom

by Stephanie Benson

Senior Year, 1977: Anarchy in the Classroom

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The Clash summed it up best: "No Elvis, Beatles or The Rolling Stones/ In 1977." That's right: no silly hip-shaking, no mop-top preening and no prima donna posing, at least not for the snarling punks skulking through the bowels of academic prison. No, these kids didn't mourn the death of Elvis; they reveled in the birth of punk rock, donning steel-toed boots, safety pins, studs and spikes as their hopelessly naïve classmates popped in eight-tracks of Rumours and Saturday Night Fever.

You didn't even have to be in London or New York City to be "authentic," because a punk's primary fight is against authority -- and where else do you feel like a second-class citizen than high school? But you had to watch out for the poseurs -- the ones who didn't understand DIY or nihilism or anarchism, and especially the ones who started cultivating a Cockney lilt like Johnny Rotten or Joe Strummer. See, the real punks knew the scene was much bigger than The Sex Pistols or The Clash, and in 1977 they had a wealth of freedom jams at their disposal, whether they were into the poppier stuff (The Ramones, Buzzcocks, The Jam); the artier stuff (Iggy Pop, Television, Talking Heads); or the extra snotty stuff (Dead Boys, The Adverts, Richard Hell & the Voidods). Thank god (unless you're an atheist) for punk music.