Girl Groups Were the Original Punk Icons

What if we told you that early 1960s girl groups were punk before punk music existed? This week we’re going on a wild ride to uncover the true history behind how girl groups were the original punk icons.

Years before The Beatles set foot in America, The Shirelles had wild success as a respectable girl group, paving the way for The Ronettes and The Shangri-Las to take the same sounds and put a distinct rebellious edge to the lyrics and appearance. 

This teenage rebellion led to inspiring a generation of punk legends like The Ramones and Blondie. 

This week we’re joined by music and culture journalist Kurt Suchman to rediscover a pivotal piece of music history. 

If you want to check out more of Kurt’s work, you can do so here or follow them on Instagram or Twitter

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Want more Name 3 Songs? Here’s some other episodes we think you’ll enjoy: How African American Women Pioneered Rock Music & The Music Industry’s Problem with Women in Rock

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Sources for Girl Groups Were the Original Punk Icons

What Should a Teenager Be? Exploring the Birth of the Teenager in British Newspaper Archive (British Newspaper Archive)

A Caste, a Culture, a Market—II (The New Yorker, Dwight MacDonald, November 1958)

Children in Progressive-Era America (Digital Public Library of America)

Remembering the Shirelles (1957-1982) (from Black Diamond Queens by Maureen Mahon)

Rebel Redux: The Shangri-Las, Girl Rebellion, and the Cold War (, Emma Louise St. Amand, 2020)

It’s Time To Recognize The Ronettes As Rock And Roll Pioneers (NPR, Hilarie Ashton, 2018)

Is “Be My Baby” the first punk song ever? (, Annie Fell, 2018)

THE SHANGRI-LAS MAKE AN IMPRESSION (the downtown pop underground)

Rock Hall: Jane Wiedlin Knows the Go-Go’s Could’ve Been Even Bigger (Vulture, Devon Ivie, October 2021)

2 Replies to “Girl Groups Were the Original Punk Icons”

  1. For sure, when I first heard “When I met him of a Su nday, the first thought was “this sounds like punk.”

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