When punk first broke in the UK in 1976, music journalist John Ingham was on hand to document the very heart of the scene. Struck by the music, fashion and sheer iconoclasm of a little-known outfit called the Sex Pistols, Ingham conducted the first interview with the band, partied with its members and even bailed Sid Vicious out of jail. He also witnessed and documented the group's evolution at legendary gigs shared with other pioneering punk bands in their earliest days, including the Damned, the Clash, Subway Sect and more.
The result is Spirit of 76: London Punk Eyewitness, a revelatory collection of photography and fly-on-the-wall reportage showcasing the punk movement from its most raucous, bewildering beginnings. Containing the only colour photographs from British punk's first wave alongside Ingham's inimitable prose, this new book constitutes a rare from the trenches report on the UK punk explosion from one of its original participants. Here is the story of a year made up as it happened, lived with excitement and the belief that you could make the future whatever you wanted it to be.
John Ingham is one of the pioneers who championed Punk and helped change music forever. Writing under the nom-de-typewriter “Jonh Ingham” for the weekly music paper Sounds, he famously conducted the first-ever interview with the Sex Pistols in April 1976.
Convinced he had witnessed the future of music he followed them throughout the year, seeing at close range their evolution at historic gigs, including the first time they played “Anarchy In The UK,” and even bailed Sid Vicious out of jail. He also saw and wrote the first reviews of the Damned, the Buzzcocks, the Clash and Siouxsie and the Banshees. Noticing that hardly anyone was photographing these new groups, he picked up a camera and started documenting what he saw, shooting some of the only colour images of these bands at the beginning of their careers.
John Ingham – Spirit of 76: London Punk Eyewitness is available from Anthology Editions. All photography from Spirit of 76, published by Anthology Editions.