In the 1977 edition of the American Heritage Dictionary punk rock was given this wonderful definition:
Punk rock, n. A form of rock music characterized by a stabbing, insistent rhythm and simple, three-chord harmony, amplified sound, and lyrics that deal with subjects full of trouble and strife such as anarchy, alienation, violence, sex, drugs and teen-age rebellion. Punk performers and their followers often adopt outlandishly vulgar behavioral patterns and clothing, often leading to acts of violence by performers and audience alike.
(Though accurate, I always thought it set the bar pretty high)
But considering it was probably composed a year or two earlier it stands up to these excerpts from the pamphlet shown below.
To those of us who were there, the images here are familiar but offer a pretty limited view of what the scene actually looked like. For every ripped t-shirt or pair of shredded tights there was a girl in a party dress or a guy in a white shirt and a skinny tie and home-made pegged pants.
In the days before Hot Topic, parent’s closets, thrift stores and hardware stores were our haberdasheries of choice.