Emergence of New Wave Music

Ask a group of musical fans the famous question: What is new wave music? When did it start? There has never been a real definition of new wave music.

“Seymour Stein”

Various musical scholars have given differing attempts to explain the origin of new wave music. However, the attempts have given rise to conflicting answers and this may go on into the foreseeable future. Some people believe that any band that came into existence after 1980 should be called new wave while the rest are just favorite bands.

It might be a daunting task trying to explain to every Tom Dick and Harry how new wave music came to be. It is however agreed that the legacy of new wave music cannot be erased and its inception will remain to be a phenomenal occurrence whose story will not end anytime soon.

Almost every music fan and scholar alludes to the fact that the legendary Seymour Stein who headed Sire Records was the one who came up with the term ‘New Wave’. Seymour Stein was doing this with hope that he could give a few of his signings a new lease of life. Sire Records bands were known to perform frequently in New York City at a club called Landmark Punk Club.

Punk was universally accepted as the order of the day in the early 1970s but the radios in the United States did not want to be content with that.

The radios were still fighting to have some relevance and dignity after they embraced disco as the next big thing in the mid-1970s.

“The CBGB”

Disco was indeed a famous occurrence even though it died slowly and fans were not happy about that. The people who had been entrusted with the task of manning the playlist were dead sure that punk would also be eliminated in due course. No one wanted this to happen. Stein was in dire need of a new method of convincing the radio stations that his bands were not based on punk. This was in spite of the fact that the bands performed more often than not at CBGB. He pounced on the term ‘New Wave’ and started distributing his new songs under the name. This was seen to be an equivalent of the New Wave cinema crusade from France. Stein used the same trick that the French film makers used. He claimed that his new bands were well experienced with art and they had experimented and rejected some of the unwanted cultural traits of bands.

If you are thinking that this is similar to punk music, your thinking could be right. As a matter of fact, Stein was promoting majority of bands that were involved in the punk community. During the ancient days, New Wave was believed to be another synonym for punk.

Almost every punk fan was not happy when new wave artists were added to the punk artists’ ranks. Most of them believed that the newly added ‘punks’ were not original.

It is also said that New Wave was always being confused with another movement of music during the time – post punk movement.