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Happy Birthday, Mr. Hell

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Richard Hell (Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images)

Richard Hell (Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images)

JACK Seattle would like to wish punk-poet-pioneer (PPP) Richard Hell a very happy 64th Birthday.

Richard Hell’s first significant band, Television (a band to rise out of the ashes of The Neon Boys), is credited as being one of the bands to spark the ’77 punk revolution — which sprouted in New York City.

Television’s performances at the legendary punk club CBGB helped kick-start the first wave of punk bands. During his time with television, Hell started playing his song, “Blank Generation” — the irony is the song’s direction eventually led to an internal dispute. Creative control was important to Hell, and if he couldn’t be playing songs like “Blank Generation,” things weren’t gonna fly.

He left Television at the same time Jerry Nolan and Johnny Thunders quit the New York Dolls. The three of them formed The Heartbreakers. The band, which has been traditionally known as Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers, was still not the fix Hell was looking for. Thunders’ raw, freaky, glam guitar playing was in the punk spectrum, but borrowed too much of the big rock sound along the lines of Aerosmith.

After spending a year with the band, Hell quit and formed Richartd Hell and the Voidoids with with Robert Quine, Ivan Julian and Marc Bell.

Hell’s best known songs with the Voidoids were “Blank Generation”, “Love Comes in Spurts”, “The Kid With the Replaceable Head” and “Time”.

After retiring from music, Hell focused his craft on poetry.

Wanna know more about him? Check out his official website here.

-Chris Coyle, JACK Seattle

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