This week, Verso released White Riot: Punk Rock and the Politics of Race by Stephen Duncombe and Maxwell Tremblay, which we featured in our post a few months back in our 10 Most Anticipated Summer Reads. If you haven’t picked it up yet, there’s still time to wax philosophical about skins, punks, and race relations as the end of July finds itself smack up against August. In the heat, it’s easy to suspect that your brain has melted, or at least pickled a little, which is why it’s so important to keep using it. Which brings us to the topic at hand. As Billy Bragg once said, “Were it not for the Clash, punk would have been just a sneer, a safety pin and a pair of bondage trousers.”
Today we decided to run a list of our favorite punk covers of yore in order to remind ourselves that the Sham 69 verse can still ring true: “If the kids are united / then we’ll never be divided.” Here’s a grouping of the weird and wonderful world of punk, from the late ’70s onward. For all it’s worth, we’ll always be a fan of a good cut-and-paste job. And Iggy Pop, despite (or because of) his current state of shirtlessness. We can’t decide. What were some books about punk that changed your life, dear readers? Were you initially attracted to the covers or was it the content that piqued your interest? Don’t be shy. Let us know in the comments section below.
England’s Dreaming: Anarchy, Sex Pistols, Punk Rock, and Beyond by Jon Savage
This landmark book was one of the first to take punk seriously on its own terms while also providing a clear account of what it was like to be there; as you can see, the cover of the revised edition is done up in a candy-colored, grainy, zine-like format with Sid Vicious’ signature sneer greeting all potential readers. Superimposed is the Union Jack, probably so one doesn’t get confused about the content of the book: it is an account of British Punk, and don’t you forget it.