June 13, 2008

The Should Have Been Black Ramones

Death.jpgHistories of African-American involvement in punk generally begin with the band Pure Hell, who formed in Philadelphia in 1974, or Bad Brains, who burst on to the DC scene in 1977. Before either of them though, there was an all-black group from Detroit called Death, who had already recorded their first single - a slab of proto-punk that was heavily influenced by The Who, Black Sabbath and The Stooges - in 1974. Initially, Columbia Records had offered to release it but only if the band changed their name to something more "commercial". In true punk fashion, they told them where to go and it was 1976 before they were able to release the single themselves. Shortly thereafter, they disappeared off the radar...

Now, however, they are not only starting to receive their dues as the first "all black punk band" but the son of one of the band members has unearthed a whole album of master tapes which will hopefully be released in the near future. Until then, here are the two tracks from their 1974 single (via Metafilter)

Death - Politicians In My Eyes
Death - Keep On Knockin

Posted by Warren at June 13, 2008 01:00 AM | Punk