From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Protopunk is a term used to describe a number of performers who were important precursors of punk rock, or who have been cited by early punk rockers as influential. Often, protopunk bands were not considered punk themselves.
Most protopunkers are rock and roll performers of the 1960s and early-1970s, though some earlier performers have been cited. Garage rock in general has been cited as quite influential in the development of punk rock. Many such garage rock artists can be found on the Nuggets compilations.
Protopunk has proven difficult to define, and many widely different groups have been so dubbed. Most had a certain attitude or appearance seen as important, as opposed to any specific musical tendencies. Patti Smith (jokingly referred to as the godmother of punk), The Velvet Underground, The Fugs, Iggy Pop (commonly nicknamed the "Godfather of Punk" and claimed as influential by many early punk artists) and his band the Stooges, as well as the Who and the Kinks (both bands noted for influencing such groups as the Ramones and the Clash), the Sonics, Alice Cooper, the MC5, Blue Öyster Cult, the Monks, Rocket from the Tombs, David Bowie, Edgar Broughton Band, Peter Hammill, the Modern Lovers, ? and the Mysterians (the first band to have been labeled under the punk rock banner), electric eels, Doctors of Madness, T. Rex, Link Wray, The Dictators, the New York Dolls, and to an extent, Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention.
In Peru in 1964 there was a band called Los Saicos who now is also considered Protopunk for their aggressive lyrics.
Remarkably, Suicide (and to a lesser extent Television) has been classified as protopunk and post-punk, but both bands' unusual, experimental qualities have rarely seen them classified as "textbook" punk.