British Invasion

We’re having a British invasion inspiration in Nasty Gal HQ, obsessed with that period in the 1960s and 70s when everything musically and stylistically interesting in the United States was brought to us overseas by our old friend, England. From mod to punk, these genres were all headed up by rebellion and wild expression. Here are five of the major UK players who influenced multiple waves of cool we still see today.

“My Generation” by The Who

The Who were some of the cover boys for London’s mod craze in the 60s, illustrated in style with bold lines and spots of color in an otherwise extremely minimal color palette. The band played together for a couple years before they found legendary drummer Keith Moon, who during his audition accidentally smashed up the kit loaned to him. The band found him so radical, they invited him in, and from there they took off to serious stardom.

“You Really Got Me Going” by The Kinks

The Kinks rode that similar line between mod and rock were a blueprint for the UK punk that was born a decade later. And it’s no wonder they were the forebears of total rebellion: They achieved their pioneering dirty guitar sound by slashing the speaker cone amp with a razor blade.

“Holidays In The Sun” by Sex Pistols

If there’s one name synonymous with British punk, it’s the Sex Pistols. Largely credited as the creators of the genre, their message and attitude was about total freedom from all the cares in the world, and rebellion against all authority.

“Oh Bondage! Up Yours!” by X-Ray Spex

Singer Poly Styrene was one of the first visible woman performers in the whole 70s punk scene. This rad lady sported braces and sang about her experiences from a decidedly feminist point of view, a breath of fresh air (or scandal, depending on who’s asking) in a total boys’ club.

“Transmission” by Joy Division

Joy Division’s angular, minimal sound and laid-back visual style pioneered the post-punk movement of the late 1970s. “Transmission” is one of the greatest indie anthems ever. It has the attitude and the beat that makes you want to dance dance dance to the radio.

“Damaged Goods” by Gang Of Four

This was the first single ever released by Gang on Four, back in 1979. They took the dynamics of a rock band and turned them inside out, punk style, adding dub rhythms and funk bass. Their melodious, post-punk angst is propelled by lyrics that could summarize the collective rebellious attitude of the era.