When Concert Posters Were An Art Form: 1976 - 1980

By the mid-70's, punk rock had emerged and had a definitive impact on the artistic style of concert posters. The artists creating the music, fashion and visual art adhered to a style based in minimalism that reflected the angst of young people and their dissatisfaction with society. Like the cultural revolution of the 60's, the cultural impact of punk rock defined a certain nihilistic ethos within the world of rock & roll. The punk era in rock & roll, while as vibrant a movement as the one in the free love 60's, did not become a national phenomenon in the US. The hot spots of punk were largely confined to large urban areas such as New York city and Los Angeles. 

In many other areas of the United States, punk rock morphed into what was called "New Wave" which in some ways struck me as a suburban version of punk rock. Instead of black leather jackets & ripped blue jeans, the musical angst was empowered by suit jackets & skinny ties! 

Here are some posters from the punk era. It's interesting to note that some established musicians seemed to co-opt the punk art style in an apparent effort to make a connection to a younger audience.


1976

Lou Reed 

Rainbow Theatre, London UK 1976 

 

Sex Pistols, The Damned 

Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers and The Clash 

Various Venues in the UK 1976 

 

Ramones 

CBGB's, NYC 1976 

 

Peter Frampton, Gary Wright & Santana

Tulsa Fairgrounds Speedway  Tulsa, OK  1976

 

David Bowie Station To Station Tour

Public Hall  Cleveland, OH  1976

 

 

Patti Smith & The Stranglers

Hammersmith Odeon  London, UK  1976

 

Sex Pistols, Johnny Thunder & The Heartbreakers

The Damned & The Clash

Dundee Caird Hall, UK  1976

 


1977

 Dead Boys & Mumps 

Starwood, Los Angeles, CA 1977 

 

Dead Kennedys 

Chiefs, Red Cross & Stains 

The Fleetwood, Redondo Beach, CA 1977 

 

Elvis Costello & The Attractions 

The Bottom Line, NYC 1977 

 

T Rex & The Damned 

Birmingham Odeon, Birmingham, UK 1977 

 

Blondie, Talking Heads, 

Patti Smith Group and Alex Chilton 

Village Gate, NYC 1977 

 

 


1978

 

Bruce Springsteen 

Nashville Municipal Auditorium, Nashville, TN 1978 

 

Cheap Trick

Calderone Concert Hall  Hempstead, NY 1978

 

The Clash & The Slits 

 UK Tour 1978 

 

Ramones & Talking Heads 

Germany 1978 

 

Dir Straits

Paradiso  Amsterdam, Netherlands  1978

 

AC/DC

The Mayfair  Newcastle, UK  1978

 

The Clash

Sort It Out Tour  1978

 

David Bowie

Oakland Coliseum  Oakland, CA  1978

 

 


1979

The Specials & The Sinceros 

Tiffany's, Edinburgh UK 1979 

 

Kiss & Rush 

Rockford Armory, Rockford IL 1979 

 

Devo

Long Beach Arena, CA 1979

 

The Police 

Hotel Diplomat Ballroom, NYC 1979 

 

Black Flag & The Dead Kennedys 

Mahubay Gardens, Los Angeles CA 1979 

 

Iggy Pop & The Human League 

Paradiso, Amsterdam Netherlands 1979 

 

The Plugz, Fly Boys & Smart Pills 

La Vida Hot Springs Restaurant, Los Angeles CA 1979 

 

The Specials, Madness

Dexy's Midnight Runners & The Selector

Electric Ballroom  Cameden, UK  1979

 

Talking Heads & Human League

Birmingham Odeon  Birmingham, UK  1979

 

 


1980

Germs, Der Stab & Middle Class 

Fleetwood, Los Angeles CA 1980 

 

 The Dead Kennedys & The Circle Jerks 

Whisky A Go Go, Los Angeles CA 1980 

 

Talking Heads 

Paris, France 1980 

 

Devo

Merriweather Post Pavilion  Columbia, MD 1980

 

Iggy Pop and Kenny & The Casuals

Boomer Theatre  Norman, OK 1980

 

Ramones

Keystone  Palo Alto, CA 1980

 

John Cale 

Boomer Theatre, Norman, OK 1980

 

 

The Selector

Wiesbaden, Germany 1980

 

The Cramps

Eldorado  Paris, France 1980

 



 

The New Johnny Pierre Single

Release Date: 2/20

 

M.C. Osso: American Zoom Anthology Album

Release Date: 2/28

 

Johnny Pierre: Rock & Roll is a State of Mind Album

Release Date: 3/7

 


 

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