Sameric had a recent post reappraising one of his favourite albums. Which got me thinking back to a time, when music wasn’t the same manufactured, polished, semi pornographic video accompanied, crass, slop that we are served up regularly on TV & radio today.
In a way it was almost the same barren musical wasteland that threw up the late 70’s sound of punk.Boy did it change everything.So because I know someone will disagree with my choices & I will be reminded of a classic that I missed. Here is a bunch of 45’s from my collection. They have the atmosphere, sound and if I may steal a line: The smell of those times. Picked for no other reason than they bring back so much….
Gary Gilmore's Eyes(Anchor)
One hit wonders (Bright)
The Adverts were sometimes called an MOR punk band, since they were a little slow and clumpy sounding, but TV Smith could sing & write. Which made their brand of dole-queue songs especially compelling.
Love you more (UA)
Ever fallen in love with someone(UA)
I give up; no matter which two I choose everybody will argue. Take the whole Singles Going Steady album and frame it. I chose both of these because although they may not be the best songs, as a pairing they might stand an argument as the best overall quality. But they're all brilliant.
White Riot (CBS)
White man in Hammersmith Palais (CBS)
The Clash in their heyday could claim the title of THE ONLY BAND THAT MATTERS. Singles weren't their big thing; their best songs, were never on 7 “ People will pan me for not picking "Should I stay or should I go", but I think that has more historical significance than musical quality, while these tracks are all great tunes that show the best attribute of the Clash; the vocal and guitar blend of Mick Jones and Joe Strummer. Both in their own way were years ahead of the pack.
Red Shoes ( The Angels wanna wear my ) (Radar)
Hard to believe now, but in the 70s one of the big issues was the way radio didn't play anything interesting. Nowadays nobody even expects them to...anybody who likes good music ignores radio altogether. This song shows Costello with the Attractions when they were fresh and angry.. A great spiteful songwriter and if you don’t believe me check out “ Pills & Soap” as well as
“ Shipbuilding “.
New Rose/Help! (Stiff)
I guess everybody knows about the Damned. "New Rose" was an easy choice; The crazed version of the Beatles "Help!" doesn't hurt, either. The first punk band to put out a single who apart from this were a cartoon..
EDDIE AND THE HOT RODS
Live at the Marquee EP (Island)
This poor band went from penthouse to outhouse in about 9 months; when they first started pub-rock was the rage and they rocked harder than anybody, but when real punk came along they sounded a little slow. Still, they played some great tunes & made everything else around at the time pedestrian.
GANG OF FOUR
At home he feels like a tourist (Fast)
These guys were press darlings for quite a while as the first real post-punk band. Their mix of funk with punk and politics was pretty intriguing for quite a while, this probably contain the best example of it all on this 45.
Billy Idol may be a laughable fool now, but when he started in Generation X as a teenager he fronted a band that played some of the most tuneful punk rock anywhere. One can only speculate as to what would make them lose it so totally later. I remember supporting them in Sheffield a month before he ran off to America.
In The City (Polydor)
The Jam went through about six different sounds in their career and put out a huge pile of great singles. "In The City" was their first...a great Who-like punk song with a killer guitar riff later stolen by the Pistols for "Holidays In The Sun"..
Shot By Both Sides (Virgin)
Magazine were Howard Devoto's band after he left the Buzzcocks. They were arty and pretentious as all hell, and there was never a Magazine lp that didn't have at least a few tracks that I hated passionately. But they also did some great ones; "Shot" is the same music as the Buzzcocks’ version, but played much more like a threat but has a great guitar line.
THE ONLY ONES
Another Girl Another Planet/Special View (CBS)
Were they really a punk band, or were they a confused early 70s band? They had members with a dinosaur band heritage, but they did some really cool songs. Peter Perrett sang through his nose better than anyone with these great lyrics, and there's great guitar and tunes. Also so against the grain for the time it had a blistering guitar solo.
PUBLIC IMAGE LIMITED
Public Image (Virgin)
I never really bought in to PIL One of the things punk rock was supposed to be about was destroying this elitist pretentious attitude that so many musicians had. But the press went to John Lydon’s head, and PIL has been guilty of some of the worst excesses in music over the years. But "Public Image" is the one PIL song I even have any desire to hear apart from the much later “Rise “
can’t stand my baby (Sire)
The Rezillos brand of science fiction power pop/punk was the pinnacle of the form. The singing duo of Fay Fife and Eugene Reynolds was a pairing made in heaven, and the band behind them was guitar power to the max. This single proved it.
TOM ROBINSON BAND
Rising Free ep: Don't Take No For An Answer/Glad To Be Gay/Martin/Right On Sister (EMI)
Up Against The Wall/I'm Alright Jack (EMI)
Fired by Danny Kustow's hot guitar playing and Tom's songwriting & vocals, they were at their best on these two records...after the first album it was just downhill. But they changed the musical landscape by been not just outspoken but politically active.
Babylon's Burning/Society (Virgin)
They made some of the most ferocious records ever. I wouldn't be without this single, "Babylon" is absolutely their top track...fantastic Then the lead singer discovered heroin & they were stuffed.
Anarchy In The UK (EMI)
Pretty Vacant (Virgin)
What can I say? Coming out with "God Save The Queen" on the week of the celebration of the Queen's 25th anniversary on the throne was a masterpiece of timing. The A and B side of both these singles are all great The grey city tower blocks & estates of the UK in the 70’s had never heard anything like this. The floodgates opened…
SIOUXIE AND THE BANSHEES
Hong Kong Garden (Polydor)
Siouxie originally was one of the first Sex Pistols fans, but she grabbed onto the anyone-can-do-it ethic and started her own band. For the past ten years they haven't done anything I'd want to hear, but there were some good singles (check out the Once Upon A Time singles lp). "Hong Kong Garden" is a great pop track and their first single.
Into The Valley/TV Stars (Virgin)
Skids frontman Richard Jobson was an odd sort with a disturbing tendency to talk in positive terms about art & literature In their songs you could never understand the words through his thick Scotts accent, so it didn't matter so much, but the Skids martial, anthemic songs could be a real kick. Now Stuart Adamson the guitarist is dead & Richard may as well be dead as a media commentator.
THE SPECIAL AKA
The Specials were, for a fleeting moment, a rare band that created a fairly original mix of Ska & Punk that actually worked. This was the single that kicked it off..an instant classic.
STIFF LITTLE FINGERS
Alternative Ulster/78 Revolutions A Minute (Rough Trade)
It's really hard to leave "Suspect Device" off this list, and taking both sides into consideration it may be a better single than this,brilliant punk track with catchy singalong tune and Jake's ripped up throat singing. Reminding us of the human face of Ulster in those dark times.
No More Heroes (UA)
Something Better Change (A&M)
I hated the Stranglers when they first appeared because they sounded so old. But more listenings began to reveal a difference, Those first singles were OK & the rest was filler. More heroin woe as well.
Let's Build A Car ( Rough Trade )
A completely unmusical out of time racket, but something was going on there that included using clockwork toys , non musical sounds & doing it yourself.. It inspired me…
Young Savage/Slipaway (Island)
They really should have changed the name after Midge Ure replaced John Foxx, because there sure isn't much similarity between the raving "Young Savage" and later sounds that Ultravox became best known for. Early Ultravox records were pretty cool, and this one is the best.
Jimmy Jimmy (Sire)
A classic example of a young band with great power pop instincts of their own who listened to their press instead and didn't stick to what they did best. But for two lps they were pretty damn great "Jimmy Jimmy" is from their first lp, and though it probably isn't as good a song as "Teenage Kicks" or "Get Over You", the pairing with "Mars Bars" makes it their second best single.
Science Friction (Virgin)
Definitely new wave and not punk, XTC had a rough edge to them that made them a lot of fun when they started. They just got better & some of their later work is well worth checking out.
I Wanna be an anglepoise lamp (Radar)
Featuring the wonderfully surreal Robyn Hitchcock who wrote one of the most ridiculous lines ever in the Song “ Brenda’s Iron Sledge “It went “ All aboard Brenda’s iron sledge, please don’t call me Reg, It’s not my name…” Great harmonies & arrangement.
Life’s a gamble ( Virgin)
Pauline Murray one of the great lost voices…loved this band they were never as overtly dark as Siouxsie and had a great two guitar line up unusually for a lot of bands at the time they could actually play as well!!