Debbie Harry and Toyah Willcox feature in vintage photos from 1977 punk
When punks ruled the world: Fascinating 70s photos capture hell raiser fans at riotous Debbie Harry gigs as they surfed a wave of rebellion
Amateur photographer Derek Ridgers used to blag his way into gigs in the 1970s London punk sceneDescribed himself as a ‘mild mannered, bespectacled office worker in the middle of a punk mosh pit’Many of his photos have never been seen before, while some have featured in sell out booksDerek’s book, Punk London, 1977, will be released this May to coincide with movement’s 60th anniversaryBy
From Adam Ant shirtless on stage, to a young Debbie Harry entertaining riotous crowds, the images most of which have never been seen before offer a glimpse into an era when rebellion ruled the music scene.
They were all taken in between 1976 and 1978 by Derek Ridgers, a man who, at the time, claimed he ‘wasn’t really a photographer’ but simply borrowed a friend’s camera and blagged his way into gigs snapping what would become known as the first wave of punk culture.
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Kids who joined the punks are pictured walking up and down the King’s Road. There were often fights between them and rival subcultures
‘None of which makes taking decent photographs a breeze. I’m not making excuses. I know some of the following photographs are a little amateurish. This is because I was an amateur when I took them. I was simply a music fan with a borrowed camera.
‘But if none of the photographs on the following pages have the professional gloss of well known punk photographers like Sheila Rock or Ray Stevenson, for this particular subject matter, that’s not necessarily a disadvantage.
‘The kids seen here were the punk originals. Most of their clothing was home made or adapted from what they already had. It was long before the fashion multinationals had got involved.
A band Nike Air Force 1 Ultra Flyknit Mid Low Unisex White Black Red Outlet Australia called The Vibrators perform at a 1976 gig, right. One of the band tradmusic.ru members was rumoured to be involved with Marianna Faithful
‘And long before gangs of kids with mohicans were asking for money from tourists who wanted to take their photograph.
‘There are no mohicans here. There are two photographs included here from 1976. The Roxy actually opened on December 14 of that year. There is also two from early in 1978 that I particularly like.’
He added: ‘Although this is the first time they have been brought together, some of the photographs in this book first appeared in either 100 Nights At The Roxy by Michael Dempsey or Punk Rock by Virginia Boston.
Dave Vanian of The Damned plays at The Roxy, left, while Siouxsie Sioux performs at the 100 Club with statement eye make up, right
‘Both books were published in 1978 and have been out of print now for well over 30 years.
‘100 Nights At The Roxy now changes hands for as much as $1000 perhaps helped by the fact that the original self destructed, with Buy Nike Zoom All Out Flyknit 844134-616 Unisex Red White Green Australia the pages falling out, almost as soon as one bought a copy. It was all tremendous fun.
‘I hope my photographs impart a little of what it was like to have been there, Nike LeBron XII Men Black Orange Purple Australia on the ground, during that incredible year.’
Would be punks gather on London’s King’s Road, where people had been anticipating a punch up between different cultural groups
Derek began his project in 1976, making his way around punk rock shows in the heart of London as he masqueraded as a photographer using a borrowed camera.
Then working as an art director in the advertising industry, he would edge his way up to the stage and take candid snaps of burgeoning punk legends from Debbie Harry to Adam Ant.
However his talent for taking a picture led to a full blown career, and he later went on to become a successful photographer, working for GQ and NME, and snapping the likes of James Brown and former prime minister Tony Blair.