Jon Savage  

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"If there is one central idea in techno, it is of the harmony between man and machine. As Juan Atkins puts it: "You gotta look at it like, techno is technological. It's an attitude to making music that sounds futuristic: something that hasn't been done before." This idea is commonplace throughout much of avant-garde 20th-century art --early musical examples include Russolo's 1913 Art of Noises manifesto and '20s ballets by Erik Satie ("Relâche") and George Antheil ("Ballet méchanique"). Many of Russolo's ideas prefigure today's techno in everything but the available hardware, like the use of nonmusical instruments in his 1914 composition, Awakening of a City." --"Machine Soul: A History Of Techno" (1993) by Jon Savage

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Jon Savage (born Jonathan Malcolm Sage; 2 September 1953 in Paddington, London) is an English writer, broadcaster and music journalist, best known for his history of the Sex Pistols and punk music, England's Dreaming, published in 1991.



Savage read Classics at Magdalene College, Cambridge, graduating in 1975. Becoming a music journalist at the dawn of British punk, he wrote articles on all of the major punk acts, publishing a fanzine called London's Outrage in 1976. A year later he began working as a journalist for Sounds, which was, at that time, one of the UK's three major music papers, along with the New Musical Express and Melody Maker. Savage interviewed punk, new wave and electronic music artists for Sounds. At that time, he also wrote for the West Coast fanzines Search & Destroy, Bomp! and Slash.

In 1979 he moved to Melody Maker, and a year later to the newly founded pop culture magazine The Face. Throughout the decade, Savage wrote for The Observer and the New Statesman, providing high-brow commentary on popular culture.

In 1991, Savage designed a record sleeve for the then little-known Welsh rock band Manic Street Preachers. The single was called "Feminine Is Beautiful".

His book England's Dreaming, a history of the rise of punk rock in the UK and the US in the mid- to late 1970s, was published by Faber and Faber in 1991 and received a positive review in Entertainment Weekly. It was used as the basis for a television programme, Punk and the Pistols, shown on BBC2 in 1995, and an updated edition in 2001 featured a new introduction which made mention of the Pistols' 1996 reunion and the release of the 2000 Pistols documentary film, The Filth and The Fury. A companion piece, The England's Dreaming Tapes, was published in 2009.

Savage continues to write on punk and other genres in a variety of publications, most notably Mojo magazine and The Observer Music Monthly. He wrote the introduction to Mitch Ikeda's Forever Delayed (2002), an official photobook of the Manic Street Preachers.

Savage has appeared in the documentaries Live Forever and NewOrderStory.

Several compilation CDs based on his track lists have also been released, including England's Dreaming (2004) and Meridian 1970 (2005), the latter of which puts forward the argument that 1970 was a high-point for popular music, contrary to critical opinion. He curated the compilation Queer Noises 1961–1978 (2006), a collection of largely overlooked pop songs from that period that carried overt or coded gay messages. His most recent compilations have included the now deleted Fame, Jon Savage's Secret History Of Post-Punk 78-81 on Caroline True Records. His latest curated release on the same label is Perfect Motion, Jon Savage's Secret History Of Second Wave Psychedelia 1988–1993. Also a limited double-vinyl release, this collection posited late eighties/early nineties "Baggy" music as a slight return to the ethos of 60s psychedelia.

Savage's book, Teenage: The Prehistory of Youth Culture, was published in 2007. It is a history of the concept of teenagers, which begins in the 1870s and ends in 1945 and aims to tell the story of youth culture's prehistory, and dates the advent of today's form of "teenagers" to 1945. The book was adapted into a film by Matt Wolf.

In 2015, Savage published 1966, recalling the popular music and cultural turmoil of that year. He also compiled and wrote the liner notes for a two-disc companion CD, Jon Savage's 1966: The Year the Decade Exploded (Ace Records).





  • Joy Division documentary film, screenwriter, 2008


  • England's Dreaming (Trikont 2004)
  • Meridian 1970 (Forever Heavenly 2005)
  • Queer Noises – From the Closet to the Charts (Trikont 2006)
  • The Shadows of Love – Intense Tamla 1966–1968 (Commercial Marketing 2006)
  • Dreams come true – Classic wave electro 1982–87 (Domino Records 2008)
  • Teenage – the invention of youth 1911–1945 (Trikont 2009)
  • Fame – Jon Savage's Secret History of Post Punk 1978–81 (Caroline True Records 2012)
  • Jon Savage's 1966: The Year the Decade Exploded (Ace Records 2015)

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Jon Savage" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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