Punk was meant to be angry. But the so-called Angry Young Men of the late ’70s U.K. scene were secret sophisticates in punk clothing. They delivered withering lyrics and snarling attitude over melodies a pop fan could love.
In so doing, Elvis Costello, Joe Jackson and Graham Parker helped transform a slew of back-to-basic styles—pub-rock, power-pop, post-punk—into the catchall category New Wave. It would take over the charts at the turn of the ’80s. But the launch of the MTV era forced these sardonic troubadours to adjust their songwriting for a New Romantic age.
Join Chris Molanphy as he chronicles the history of three men who wrote the book on alternative rock before it had a name.
Podcast production by Kevin Bendis.