Straight Edge History
The term ‘straight edge’ was born into the hardcore punk scene in the late 1970‘s to early 1980‘s. Straight edge started in Washington D.C. as a result of Minor Threat’s iconic song “Straight Edge”, and quickly spread throughout the United States and Canada. In the early 1990‘s, thanks to touring bands and the ability to mail order from American record labels, straight edge spread even further, to northern Europe, eastern Europe, the Middle East, and South America.
According to journalist Michael Azerrad, the letter X, the most well known symbol of straight edge, originated during a 1980 west coast U.S. tour by the band The Teen Idols. Upon arriving at the club in San Francisco where they were scheduled to play, club management realized that they entire band was under age and wouldn’t be allowed into the club. As a compromise, the band’s hands were marked with large X’s, to alert the club staff to not serve them alcohol. When the band returned home to DC, they suggested this method to their local clubs as a way to safely promote all-ages club shows. The X can now be found on anything that promotes the straight edge lifestyle, such as clothing, album covers, and show fliers.