He was a high-profile writer during the glory days of British punk and wrote articles on all the major punk acts. Savage wrote and published a fanzine called London's Outrage in 1976, and in 1977 began working as a journalist for Sounds. Sounds 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 until 1979, when he moved to Melody Maker, and then in 1980 to the newly founded pop culture magazine The Face.
England's Dreaming, published by Faber in 1991, was lauded as the definitive history of punk music, and remains the single most comprehensive analysis of the phenomenon. 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.
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.
Several compilation CDs based on his tracklistings 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. His most recent compilation has been Queer Noises 1961-1978 (2006), a compilation of largely overlooked pop songs from that period that carried overt or coded gay messages.
Jon Savage's latest book, Teenage: The Creation of Youth Culture, was published in 2007. It's a history of the concept of teenagers, which begins in the 1870s and ends in 1945. Teenage aims to tell the story of youth culture's prehistory, and dates the advent of today's form of "teenagers" to 1945.
Rebels without Applause ; Teenage: The Creation of Youth 1875-1945 by Jon Savage CHATTO & WINDUS [Pound]20 (561Pp)
Apr 27, 2007; In conventional pop-culture narratives, the creation myth of The Teenager goes something like this: the period between the onset...
It's Time to Retire the Teenager ; SOCIAL HISTORY ++ Teenage: The Creation of Youth by Jon Savage CHATTO [Pound]20
Apr 22, 2007; Of all the terrifying new weapons developed in the Second World War and unleashed upon an unsuspecting world, the teenager was by...
The Black Hotels and Cassette are two of the most innovative rock bands to grace our stages. But it's not that easy being a rock musician in South Africa. Jon Savage, the lead singer of Cassette, and John Boyd, the lead singer of The Black Hotels, spoke to / Therese Owen about their different approaches.(Entertainment)
Mar 04, 2009; Cassette is not just a band, it is a complete package. Their alternative pop rock smacks of intelligent creativity. It is...