SKINHEADNATION
“The voice of Oi is unity
No 'them and us' just you and me
Think how strong we could be
United against society'”
Garry Johnson, United, 1981
Cock SParrer Oi! became a recognized genre in the latter part of the 1970s, emerging after the perceived commercialization of punk rock, and before the soon-to-dominate hardcore punk sound. It fused the sounds of early punk bands such as the Sex Pistols, the Ramones, The Clash, and The Jam with influences from 1960s British rock bands such as The Rolling Stones, the Small Faces, and The Who; football chants; pub rock bands such as Dr. Feelgood, Eddie and the Hot Rods, and The 101ers; and glam rock bands such as Slade and Sweet. Direct precursors to the first Oi! bands included Sham 69, Cock Sparrer, and Menace, who were around for years before the word Oi! was used retroactively to describe their style of music.

In 1980, writing in Sounds magazine, rock journalist Garry Bushell labelled the movement Oi!, taking the name from the garbled "Oi!" that Stinky Turner of Cockney Rejects used to introduce the band's songs. The word is an old Cockney expression, meaning hey or hello. In addition to Cockney Rejects, other bands to be explicitly labeled Oi! in the early days of the genre included Angelic Upstarts, The 4-Skins, The Business, Blitz, The Blood, and Combat 84. Get your strength thru Oi!

The prevalent ideology of the original Oi! movement was a rough brand of working-class rebellion. Lyrical topics included unemployment, workers' rights, harassment by police and other authorities, and oppression by the government. Oi! songs also covered less-political topics such as street violence, football, sex, and alcohol. Although Oi! has come to be considered mainly a skinhead-oriented genre, the first Oi! bands were composed mostly of punk rockers and people who fit neither the skinhead nor punk label.

After the Oi! movement lost momentum in the United Kingdom, Oi! scenes formed in continental Europe, North America, and Asias. Soon, especially in the United States, the Oi! phenomenon mirrored the hardcore punk scene of the early 1980s, with Oi!-influenced bands such as Agnostic Front, Iron Cross, and Anti Heros. Later American punk bands such as Rancid and Dropkick Murphys have credited Oi! as a source of inspiration. In the mid-1990s, there was a revival of interest in Oi! music in the UK, leading to older Oi! bands receiving more recognition. In the 2000s, many of the original UK Oi! bands reunited to perform and/or record.

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