New Wave music

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This article is about the 1980s musical movement New Wave. For other meanings, see New Wave.
Punk rock
Stylistic origins: 1950s R&B, rock and roll, country, and rockabilly, 1960s garage rock, frat rock, psychedelic rock, pub rock, glam rock, and proto-punk
Cultural origins: Mid 1970s United States, Australia and United Kingdom.
Typical instruments: VocalsGuitarBassDrums
Mainstream popularity: Chart-topping in the UK, less success elsewhere. Some success for pop punk, especially ska punk and Two Tone
Derivative forms: Alternative rockEmoMath rockGothic rockPost-punkpost-punk revivalGrunge
AlcopunkAnarcho-punkAnti-folkChristian punkCrust punkGarage punkHardcoreHorror punkNew WaveOi!Pop punk
Fusion genres
Anti-folkDeath rockFunkcoreJazz punkPsychobillyQueercoreSka punkTwo Tone
Regional scenes
Punk rock in Belgium
Other topics
Cassette cultureDIYPioneersFirst waveSecond wavePunk citiesPunk moviesFanzineFashion

New Wave is a term that has been used to describe many developments in music, but is most commonly associated with a movement in American, Australian, British, Canadian and European popular music, in the late 1970s and early 1980s, growing out of the New York City punk rock scene, itself centered around the club CBGB.

The term itself is a source of much confusion. Originally, Seymour Stein, the head of Sire Records, needed a term by which he could market his newly signed CBGB's veteran bands. Because radio consultants in the US had advised their clients that punk rock was a fad (and because many stations that had embraced Disco had been hurt by the backlash), Stein settled on the term "new wave". He felt that the music was the aural equivalent of the French New Wave film movement of the 1960s. Like those film makers, his new artists (most notably Talking Heads) were anti-corporate, experimental, and a generation that had grown up as critical consumers of the art they now practiced. Thus, the term "new wave" was interchangeable with punk rock.

Very soon, listeners themselves began to see these musicians as different from their compatriots. Music that followed on from The Ramones (the Sex Pistols and all who followed them) was distinguished as "punk", while music that followed from the artistic and poetic experimentation of Talking Heads, Television, Patti Smith and Blondie were called "new wave". However, those artists were all originally classified as punk.

Eventually, the term was applied indiscriminately to any punk band that did not embrace the loud-fast ethos, whether they were reggae, ska, or experimental. Thus, The (English) Beat, R.E.M., and The Police were equally New Wave, even though these bands would have as little in common with each other as they would with nominally punk bands such as The Clash.

Later still, New Wave came to imply a less noisy, poppier sound, and to include acts manufactured by record labels, while the term post-punk was coined to describe the darker, less pop-influenced groups. Although distinct, punk, New Wave, and post-punk all shared common ground: an energetic reaction to the supposedly overproduced, uninspired popular music of the 1970s. Many groups fit easily into two or all three of the categories over their lifespan.

New Wave is also commonly used to describe the style and fashion associated with New Wave music. Examples include hairstyles of the band A Flock of Seagulls and Kajagoogoo, and Elvis Costello's bi-colored glasses poster.

As fashion, there were two major components of New Wave adornment. First, there was an eclectic revivalism. Paisley prints (from the 1960s), very thin neckties and pleats (from the 1940s), and simple colors were one part. The other part was a desire to embrace contemporary synthetic materials as a protest and celebration of "plastic". This involved the use of spandex, bright colors, and mass-produced (or apparently mass-produced) and tawdry ornaments. Men's and women's fashions thus split from one another dramatically, and men wearing spandex and bright colors were ridiculed (and became emblematic of the mass marketing of New Wave in department stores). As a fashion movement, then, New Wave was both a post-modern belief in creative pastiche and a continuation of Pop Art's satire and fascination with manufacturing.

New Wave is generally considered to have died by 19851986, although it still had a presence in popular music as late as 1992. In the early 21st century, however, many newly formed bands once again popularized the New Wave genre with great success. (See Post Punk Revival hyperlink in the box above)

New Wave bands and artists (past & present)

Main articles: List of New Wave bands and artists, Category:New_Wave_groups

New Wave music styles

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