Richard Hell was an innovator of punk music and fashion. He was one of the first to spike his hair and wear torn, cut and drawn-on shirts, often held together with safety pins. Malcolm McLaren, manager of the SEX PISTOLS, has credited Hell as a source of inspiration for the SEX PISTOLS' look and attitude, as well as the safety-pin and graphics accessorized clothing that McLaren sold in his London shop, Sex. Hell was in several important, early punk bands, including NEON BOYS, TELEVISION, and THE HEARTBREAKERS, after which he formed RICHARD HELL & THE VOIDOIDS. Their 1977 album, Blank Generation, influenced many other punk bands.
Hell was every inch a punk rock icon long before the safety-pinned crowds cottoned on to the new threads. Unlike the vast majority of the clones that would follow, there was a keen intelligence at work behind the pose. - BBC Music5/5