Writing under the nom-de-typewriter “Jonh Ingham” for the weekly music paper Sounds, John Ingham saw The Sex Pistols playing in a strip club in April 1976; soon after, he conducted their first-ever interview and introduced Johnny Rotten to the world. Convinced that he had just seen the future of music, he decided to promote their cause in weekly bulletins from the frontline. He witnessed the beginnings of The Damned, Buzzcocks, Siouxie and the Banshees, and The Clash—early days he felt it was imperative to document.
These rare images of Punk’s beginning have now been gathered in Spirit of 76: London Punk Eyewitness. The photographs included span from The Damned playing in tiny clubs to the Sex Pistols being taped for TV to the only color images of The Clash’s early appearances. Accompanied by Ingham’s intimate reportage showcasing Punk’s raucous, bewildering beginnings, it is the story of a history-making year captured as it happened.
Viv Albertine, Steve Severin, Kenny Morris, Sarah Hall, and Siouxsie Sioux at The Sex Pistols concert, Notre Dame de France, 15 November, 1976.
Notre Dame de France, 15 November, 1976. The rules were not yet set for what constituted Punk fashion, so everything from plastic bin liners to fake leopard print fur was acceptable.
Johnny Rotten at Notre Dame de France, 15 November, 1976.
Paul Simonon, the Roxy, 1 January 1977
The Clash at the Royal College of Art, 5 November, 1976.
The Damned opened 1977 at the Hope & Anchor, a pub in Islington that could comfortably hold about 100 people; there were double that number. Sweat was running down the walls. 2 January, 1977.
Ray Burns, aka Captain Sensible (The Damned). Notre Dame de France, 15 November, 1976.
Audience at the Sex Pistols, Notre Dame de France, 15 November, 1976 wearing bin liners, shopping bags on their shoulders, and handcuffs.
Subway Sect singer Vic Godard (right). “A Night of Treason,” Royal College of Art, 5 November, 1976.
The Damned: Captain Sensible (left), Dave Vanian (right).
From Spirit of 76, published by Anthology Editions.