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American Punk

American punk had its roots in '60s garage rock and in the raw minimalism of the Velvet Underground and the Modern Lovers; several bands -- the Stooges, the MC5, the New York Dolls -- played what was essentially punk rock before there was a term or classification for it. But for all intents and purposes, American punk truly begins with the Ramones, around 1975-76. A thriving, often artsy punk scene sprang up around the Ramones in New York City, and similar movements took shape in Los Angeles, where the music was more aggressive and closer to what would become hardcore punk; Cleveland, which tended to be weirder and more experimental, partly due to the lack of media attention; and Boston, which was often closer to garagey power-pop than true punk. New York remained the focal point of American punk, however, featuring most of the style's best-known and/or most influential artists: Television, Richard Hell, Patti Smith, Blondie, Talking Heads, Cleveland transplants the Dead Boys, etc. By the early '80s, American punk had either faded away or morphed into new forms: hardcore punk, new wave, and early alternative rock. American punk didn't supply the immediate pop-music revolution that British punk did, but it continued to nourish American underground rock for decades, and a California-centered revival of the form -- heavily reliant on the Ramones -- became extremely popular during the '90s.