13 punk bands from the 1970s you can still see today as it celebrates its 40th birthday

Punk in the UK is 40 years old this year, and a year-long celebration is planned around the anniversary.

Thursday, 31st March 2016, 1:39 pm
Updated Thursday, 31st March 2016, 1:46 pm
Buzzcocks' Steve Diggle and Pete Shelley in action in Sunderland last year. Pic: Gary Welford

For although 'new wave' music was intended as a youth movement aimed at kicking against the establishment, it's the genre that refused to go away.

Many of its originators are long gone - the Sex Pistols and The Clash among them, as are many of the myriad acts which followed.

Jake Burns of Stiff Little Fingers at their recent gig at the O2 Academy in Newcastle. Pic: Gary Welford.

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But every weekend around the country, a hard core of fans (young and not-so-young) flock to see bands old and new, keeping alive the old maxim that "punk's not dead".

Here's some 1970s punk bands who are still doing the rounds today, and where you can see them in this 40th anniversary year.

Angelic Upstarts: Formed in South Shields in 1977, the Upstarts strongly espoused a socialist working class and anti-fascist philosophy, and were hailed as one of the first street-punk bands. They enjoyed hits with even appeared on Top of the Pops back in 1979 singing one of their biggest hits, Teenage Warning. After a brief split they reformed in 1988, and have done so several times since, with frontman Mensi now the sole original member. They released their latest album, Bullingdown B******* at the end of last year, to good reviews, and they will appear at North East Calling punk festival at Northumbria University in Newcastle on October 1. Tickets, priced £27.50, are available HERE.

Buzzcocks: One of the original punk bands, Buzzcocks were formed in Bolton in 1976, and a 1980s hiatus aside, have been producing three-minute pop-punk gems such as What Do I Get? and Everybody's Happy Nowadays ever since. The current line-up still features founder Pete Shelley and long-time guitarist Steve Diggle, both regarded as members of the classic line-up. They released The Way, their ninth studio album, in 2014, after a PledgeMusic campaign, and continue to tour at home and abroad. They've just finished touring Australia and New Zealand, are off to Europe and the USA next, before returning for the UK leg of their Buzzcocks 40 tour in the autumn. They will play at the O2 Academy in Newcastle on Wednesday, 12 October, with tickets, priced £25.31, available HERE.

John Lydon of Public Image Ltd the last time they visited Sunderland, for the Split Festival in 2012.

Cock Sparrer: Probably the daddies of them all, Cock Sparrer were formed as a pub-rock band in the East End of London in 1972, before hardening their sound as punk took off. Although they have never enjoyed commercial success, they are considered one of the most influential street-punk bands of all time. Songs such as Working, England Belongs To Me and Take 'Em All deal with topics relating to the daily lives of working class people. Never prolific in terms of releasing records - their last album, Here We Stand, in 2007, was only their sixth - they are a hugely popular live attraction. They're one of the headliners at the Rebellion festival in Blackpool in August, which is celebrating its 20th year. Tickets, ranging from a day pass to the full four days, are available HERE.

Cockney Rejects: Another bunch of East Enders, formed in 1978, the Rejects were infamous back in the day, as their following included elements of West Ham's ICF football hooligan firm, and trouble at their gigs was a regular occurrence. Their shows these days are more sedate affairs, but they still display plenty of energy and passion as they wheel out old favourites like Oi! Oi! Oi! and Bad Man. They most recent releases were the film East End Babylon and an album of the same name in 2013. The band cancelled a UK tour at the turn of the year after the death of bassist Tony Van Frater, from Sunderland, but decided to carry on, with original bass player Vince Riordan rejoining original members Jeff and Micky Geggus and drummer Andrew Laing (also from Sunderland). They're concentrating on festivals for now, including North West Calling, Scotland Calling and hopefully Rebellion.

The Damned: Another of the original bands who are still going strong, The Damned are celebrating their 40th anniversary this year by playing at the Royal Albert Hall in London on May 20 - who would have thought it? They were the first UK punk band to release a single, New Rose, the first to release an album, Damned Damned Damned, the first to tour the USA, and the first to break up and reform. They headlined the North East Calling punk all-dayer in Newcastle last year, and are pencilled in to play various festivals this summer, including the Isle of Wight, Rebellion and Beautiful Days.

The Exploited: Influenced by the 'first wave' punk bands such as Sex Pistols and The Clash, this anti-fascist, anti-Nazi group from Edinburgh formed in 1979, and released Punk's Not Dead, one of the classic albums of what became known as the UK '82 scene, in 1981. They have maintained a loyal following among the mohawk brigade ever since with their full-on sound, which embraces hardcore punk and metal. UK tours under their own steam are scarce, but long-time vocalist Wattie Buchan and the latest line-up of his band will be appearing in Holland and France and the Punk Rock Bowling festival in the US, and, of course, Rebellion.

The Cockney Rejects, who have vowed to continue, despite the sudden death of Sunderland-born bass player Tony Van Frater.

Penetration: Formed in County Durham in 1976, Penetration were - along with the Angelic Upstarts - the North East's main contribution towards the punk explosion. Fronted by Pauline Murray, their debut single, Don't Dictate, is acknowledged as a punk classic and their first album, Moving Targets is still widely admired. They split up in 1980, but reformed in 2001 with several new members, and released Resolution, their first new album since 1979, last year. They're playing at The Cluny in Newcastle on Saturday, April 9, and tickets, priced £12, are available HERE. They're also appearing at Rebellion, and at the 100 Club in London, as part of the 40 Years of Punk celebrations.

Public Image Ltd: Always one step ahead of the rest, former Sex Pistols singer Johnny Rotten formed PiL in 1978, using his real name John Lydon. One of the first post-punk bands, their more experimental early work is regarded as some of the most challenging and innovative music of the era. The group's personnel has changed frequently over the years, with Lydon the sole constant member. After going on hiatus for 17 years, during which the frontman appeared in TV commercials for butter and appeared on I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here!, among other things, they returned in 2012 with the excellent album This Is PiL, followed by last year's What The World Needs Now...They're touring right now and will appear at The Point in Sunderland on Monday, May 30. A handful of tickets, priced £26.50, are available HERE.

Ruts DC: One of the best bands of the 'second generation', The Ruts, as they were originally known, were formed in West London in 1977, and successful blended punk energy with reggae's rhythms. Singles such as Babylon's Burning and Staring At The Rude Boys marked them out as a force to be reckoned with, but they almost called it a day when their singer Malcolm Owen died of a heroin overdose in 1980. The rest of the band continued as Ruts DC, taking a more reggae direction, but split in 1983. That was it until 2007, when the band reformed to benefit gig for guitarist Paul Fox, after he was diagnosed with lung cancer. Original members Dave Ruffy and 'Segs' Jennings have kept going, releasing Rhythm Collision Vol. 2 in 2013, with a new crowd-funded album on the way. They're playing Scotland Calling, North West Calling and North East Calling.

Sham 69: Formed in Hersham, Surrey, in 1976, Sham 69 were one of the pioneers of what became known as Oi! or streetpunk. They were one of the UK's most successful punk bands, achieving five Top 20 singles, including If The Kids Are United, Hurry Up Harry and Hersham Boys. They split in 1979 after their gigs became notorious for violence, but singer Jimmy Pursey and guitarist David Parsons reformed the band in 1987, joined by new members. Despite numerous personnel changes, and the fact there are two versions of the band gigging, the Pursey-Parsons-Tregunna line-up remains the closest to the original, and they're playing at North East Calling at Northumbria University in October.

Penetration, who released their third album, Resolution, last year, 36 years after their previous one.

Stiff Little Fingers: Formed in Belfast in 1977, SLF split in 1983, reformed in 1989, and have been a going concern ever since, releasing more albums than they did at the height of punk, and remaining as popular a live act as ever. March 17 saw them play at Barrowlands in Glasgow on St Patrick's Day for the 25th consecutive year, as part of a UK tour which also called at Newcastle, before heading to Australia. The 'Barras' gig was filmed for a live DVD and album which will be released via a PledgeMusic campaign which reached its goal in less than two days, and the band show no signs of slowing down. Frontman Jake Burns still has the growl which made At The Edge and Nobody's Hero Top 20 songs, and their latest album, 2014's No Going Back, was hailed as their best in more than 30 years. They're headlining at Rebellion, and watch out for another autumn tour in the UK.

UK Subs: Formed in London in 1976, in the first wave of punk, the UK Subs are notable for never having split up, and continuing to gig and record even during the years when punk disappeared underground, off mainstream music's radar. In their heyday they enjoyed four Top 20 albums, and a string of hit singles, including Strangehold, She's Not There and Teenage. Today, even at the age of 71, vocalist Charlie Harper remains the band's heartbeat, and they are preparing to release their fan-funded album Ziezo - completing their set of one beginning with every letter of the alphabet. They've played the Rebellion Festival nearly every year since its origins as The Holidays In The Sun in 1996, but North East fans can see them closer to home at The Three Tuns in Gateshead on Saturday, April 28, with tickets on sale now, priced £8, and they're at North East Calling in October.

The Undertones: Formed in Derry, Northern Ireland, in 1976 The Undertones cornered the poppier end of the punk market. They are best known for Teenage Kicks, the favourite song of the late, great Radio 1 DJ John Peel, and enjoyed seven Top 40 singles before quivery-voiced singer Feargal Sharkey announced he was quitting in 1983. He went on to have a Top 5 single with The Assembly in Never Never, while brothers John and Damian O'Neill went on to form That Petrol Emotion. In 1999 The Undertones reformed, with fellow Derryman Paul McLoone replacing Sharkey. They have released two new albums of original material, and continue to tour. This year is their 40th anniversary, and they are gigging around the UK, including an appearance at the Riverside Live Festival at Chester-le-Street on August 28, and a show of their own at The Sage Gateshead on October 27, with tickets, priced £24, available HERE.

Jake Burns of Stiff Little Fingers at their recent gig at the O2 Academy in Newcastle. Pic: Gary Welford.
John Lydon of Public Image Ltd the last time they visited Sunderland, for the Split Festival in 2012.
The Cockney Rejects, who have vowed to continue, despite the sudden death of Sunderland-born bass player Tony Van Frater.
Penetration, who released their third album, Resolution, last year, 36 years after their previous one.