Pub rock (UK)

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rock and roll, garage rock, British blues, folk rock, power pop, funk, hard rock,

Pub rock was a rock music genre that developed in the mid 1970s in the United Kingdom. A back-to-basics movement, pub rock was a reaction against progressive and glam rock. Although short-lived, pub rock was notable for rejecting stadium venues and for returning live rock to the small pubs and clubs of its early years.[1] It was the catalyst for the British punk rock scene.



Pub rock was deliberately nasty, dirty and post-glam.[2] Dress style was based around denim and plaid shirts, tatty jeans and droopy hair.[3] The figureheads of the movement, Dr Feelgood, were noted for their frontman’s filthy white suit.[4] Bands looked menacing and threatening, "like villains on the Sweeney".[5]

Pub rock groups disdained any form of flash. Scene leaders like Dr Feelgood, Kilburn & The High Roads and Ducks Deluxe played simple, “back to mono” rhythm and blues in the tradition of white British groups like the Stones and the Yardbirds, with fuzzy guitars and whiny vocals.[6] Lesser acts played funky soul (Kokomo, Clancy, Cado Belle) or country rock (Kursaal Flyers, Chilli Willi and the Red Hot Peppers).[7]

The scene was primarily a live phenomenon. During the peak years of 1972 to 1975, there was just one solitary Top 20 single (Ace’s “How Long?”), and all the bands combined sold less than an estimated 150,000 albums.[8] Many acts suffered in the transition from the pub to the studio and were unable to capture their sound.[9] Pub rock’s primary characteristic is, of course, the pub itself. By championing smaller venues, the bands reinvigorated a local club scene that had once dwindled since the 1960’s as bands priced themselves into big theatres and stadia.[10] New aspiring bands could now find venues to play without needing to have a record company behind them.[11] Pub Rock was primarily restricted to Greater London with some overspill into provincial Essex[12]

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