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PunkFunkRockPop: The Minneapolis Music Collection

The Minneapolis Music Collection

In the mid-1970s and early 1980s, the creative explosion in Minnesota's thriving black and white rock music scenes expanded the state's cultural identity far beyond the shores of Lake Wobegon. This era witnessed the worldwide emergence of new and synthesized styles of popular music. Black music, particularly funk, vibrantly reflected social conditions, building on James Brown's declaration of disassociation: "Say It Loud—I'm Black and I'm Proud." Similarly, white punk rock thunderously denounced the status quo. A number of Minnesota bands formed in those years signed recording contracts with major labels: Prince and The Time (with Warner Bros. in 1978 and 1981, respectively); The Suburbs (with Mercury/Polygram in 1983); The Replacements (Sire, 1985); Hüsker Dü (Warner Bros., 1986); and Soul Asylum (A&M, 1988).

In 1984 three of the top 10 releases listed in the Village Voice's highly regarded "Pazz & Jop" critics' poll were Minnesota products: Prince's "Purple Rain" was in the #2 spot, right behind Bruce Springsteen's behemoth hit "Born in the U.S.A."; "Let It Be" by The Replacements was slotted at #4, and Hüsker Dü's "Zen Arcade" occupied #8. (Other bands represented were R.E.M., Tina Turner, and Los Lobos.

The objects pictured on these pages manifest the multiple facets of a musician's life and work: their clothing, the DIY (do-it-yourself) ethos, the venues and bands, and the fans. Recent gifts to the Minnesota Historical Society from members of the Suicide Commandos, Hüsker Dü, The Time, Soul Asylum, Babes in Toyland, the cofounders of the Minnesota Black Music Awards, and the legendary First Avenue/Seventh Street Entry clubs ensure that this vital and culturally significant period in Minnesota history will be preserved for the future.


Much of this text originally appeared in Minnesota History (58/1 Spring 2002). The article has been reprinted with permission.