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Art Punk: History & Top Hits

Photograph of the blog post author, Georgia Carter

Georgia Carter


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Art Punk

What Is Art Punk?

Art punk is a subgenre of punk rock that emerged in the late 1970s and early 1980s. It is characterized by its experimental and avant-garde approach to music and art, as well as its rejection of mainstream culture and commercialism. 

At its core, art punk is about pushing boundaries and challenging conventions. It often incorporates elements of other genres, such as post-punk, new wave, and avant-garde music, as well as visual art and performance art.

Art Punk Artists

One of the key figures in the development of art punk was the band The Velvet Underground. Their music was experimental and often incorporated elements of avant-garde and art rock, and their song lyrics dealt with taboo subjects such as drug use and sexuality.

Another influential band was the New York Dolls. Their music was a mix of punk rock, hard rock, and glam rock, and their flamboyant stage presence and gender-bending fashion helped to define the aesthetic of art punk.

Some other top hits include “Psycho Killer” by Talking Heads, “I Am the Fly” by Wire, “Damaged Goods” by Gang of Four, “She Is Beyond Good and Evil” by The Pop Group, and “Final Solution” by Pere Ubu.

Talking Heads

Art Punk

Talking Heads was an American rock band formed in 1975, known for their unique blend of art rock, funk, and world music. They were fronted by David Byrne, who also wrote most of their songs. The band’s hits include “Psycho Killer,” “Burning Down the House,” and “Once in a Lifetime.” They disbanded in 1991 but have remained influential in the music world, with many artists citing them as an inspiration.


Wire is a British rock band formed in 1976. They were pioneers of the post-punk movement, blending punk rock with experimental and art rock influences. Their early albums, such as “Pink Flag” and “Chairs Missing,” are considered classics of the genre. Wire has continued to release music over the years, exploring different styles and incorporating electronic elements into their sound. They have been highly influential on many other musicians and bands.

Gang of Four

Art Punk

Gang of Four is a British post-punk band formed in 1976. They are known for their politically charged lyrics and innovative use of guitar and bass. Some of their most popular songs include “Damaged Goods” and “I Love a Man in Uniform.” The band has gone through several line-up changes over the years, but their influence on the post-punk and alternative rock genres continues to be felt today.

Pere Ubu

Art Punk

Pere Ubu is an American rock band formed in 1975 in Cleveland, Ohio. They are known for their experimental and avant-garde approach to rock music, and have been influential in the development of post-punk and alternative rock. The band’s early albums, including “The Modern Dance” and “Dub Housing,” are considered classics of the genre. Pere Ubu’s music is characterized by David Thomas’s distinctive vocals, angular guitar lines, and unconventional use of synthesizers and other electronic instruments. The band has continued to release albums and tour regularly, and remains a cult favorite among fans of experimental rock music.

These bands all experimented with unconventional song structures, dissonant guitar sounds, and abstract lyrics.


One of the defining characteristics of this style of music is its rejection of commercialism and mainstream culture. Art punk bands often eschewed traditional record labels and instead released their music independently or on small, independent labels. They also rejected the traditional rock star image and instead embraced a more DIY aesthetic.


Overall, this genre of music celebrates experimentation, creativity, and individuality. It continues to influence musicians and artists today and remains an important part of punk rock history. So go on, listen to more of this music, you know you want to.


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