psychobilly, punkabilly (1978)

Erik Hoover grinchy at GRINCHY.COM
Tue Oct 4 13:49:18 UTC 2005

Psychobilly, as a word if not a genre, is at least as old as the Johnny
Cash hit "One Piece at a Time" (1976).


On Oct 3, 2005, at 5:45 PM, Benjamin Zimmer wrote:

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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Benjamin Zimmer <bgzimmer at RCI.RUTGERS.EDU>
> Subject:      psychobilly, punkabilly (1978)
> -----------------------------------------------------------------------
> --------
> psychobilly (not in OED)
> 1978 _NME_ 10 June ( In fact, The Cramps, like The
> Ramones,
> have moulded for themselves a high maverick style, and are busy
> exploring
> the possibilities of that style. As I later discovered, its given name
> is
> psychotic punkabilly, or psychobilly for short.
> <>
> punkabilly (not in OED)
> 1978 _Creem_ Feb. ( He's a sensitive punkabilly,
> continually
> getting dumped on by girls.
> <>
> 1979 _Los Angeles Times_ 24 June (Calendar) 95/4 New York punkabilly
> voodoo band The Cramps which wowed L.A. audiences at the Troubador last
> Spring is in England recording its debut LP for IRS Records.
> 1979 _Los Angeles Times_ 17 Oct. IV15/1 Unlike so many rockabilly units
> that try faithfully to replay the original music, the Cramps update
> rockabilly -- injecting starkness and melodrama so that it becomes a
> sort
> of punkabilly.
> --Ben Zimmer
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