[Insert here: some meaningful reference to the flashback scene in the movie SLC Punk! where the two main characters are in their mid-teens listening to Rush . . .]
Back when I started making noise/music/whatever of my own, post-punk was the underground genre. And even if 1977 was supposed to be some kind of pop music Year Zero and folks were supposed to be all DIY about everything, an inevitable question in a band interview or point of pride or conversation would be: "what are your influences?"
Of course I was hardly ever in such a situation as to be interviewed or even informally asked such a question. I would just do the uncool thing and wear those influences on my sleeve. Or more likely, on the lapel of one of my thrift store jackets. Cheap, out of sync and out of touch, I'd have some kinda obscure pin (Joy Division) and some obscure but hardly cool at the time pin (Swell Maps).
As I said, I was then (now & always) a hick from the sticks.
What I couldn't buy or inherit perhaps from a cooler friend with more disposable income, I might manufacture. An empty carton of orange juice became an Orange Juice pin. And crude Cray-Pas drawings on otherwise bland t-shirts created commemorations of a Young Marble Giants instrumental or a 12" EP Jah Wobble did with two guys from Can.
Points of fashion aside, influences were really very foggy notions. Was one really saying that one was a fan of a group? Could one claim Sly and the Family Stone as an influence if one played/wrote bluegrass music? More subtly, could anyone claim any band as an influence just in the vain hope of sounding like said musical hero? Can an influence be something one doesn't really like except for one song, one sound, one piece of a song that one can't forget?
All that said, let's dive into the deep end of this murky stagnant pool with a list of groups, artists or genres I'll claim one way or another:
Dan Fogelberg (Dan & Karlheinz S.)
Mission of Burma
the Broadman Hymnal (more about it)
Gang of Four
Jean Michel Jarre
George Beverly Shea
Rudy Ray Moore
The Durutti Column
The Fifth Dimension
some old black guy playing blues electric guitar and singing "Kansas City" over and over and over and over again at some festival in a Newport News VA park, Fall 1978
nondescript Top-40 and album rock radio stations
music of every Sci-Fi, Western and 70s cop show or movie I ever saw
The Velvet Underground
The Banana Splits
Brother Dave Gardner
Anonymous Anonymous Anonymous
Burt Bacharach, Hal David & Dionne Warwick
The Partridge Family
Young Marble Giants
Mark, who turned me on to half of these folks
Those of you who turned me on to the rest
The Next of Kin
Public Image Ltd.
Siouxsie & the Banshees
The Soft Boys
and who knows how many more . . .