The Block Rockin’ Beats
Edition: March 23, 2011
In case you kiddos don’t know or easily amazed by Fat Mike cheap talks and still think the owner of Atticus clothing label—what’s his name again—is the 3-chords prophet, well, you must listen carefully to this playlist. These songs are in the category of “not widely popular but uber influential” among Punk Rock and New Wave scene. These are kickass anthems you must hear before you die.
Oh, first thing first: give away your Macbeth shoes to your lovely punk wannabe little brother, and you, put back on your Doc Martens. Show some respect to Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood.
01. Marquee Moon – Television
“Marquee Moon” developed from Television’s early live shows in the mid-1970s, and even when first performed was an eight-minute epic with complex key changes. As it became more complex and challenging with repeated playing, Richard Hell was apparently forced to leave the band because he did not have the skill necessary to play it.
Despite its length, which would typically have been too long for most popular music radio formats, the song was released as a single in the U.K. and was a minor success, reaching number 30 on the UK Singles Chart.
The song was listed at #372 on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time in 2005, and at #41 on their 100 Greatest Guitar Songs in 2008.
Album: Marquee Moon/Date Released: February 1977
02. Peaches – The Stranglers
“Peaches” was one of the big summer hits of 1977 in the UK, a close rival to The Sex Pistols’ “God Save The Queen” in terms of notoriety.
While “God Save the Queen” was notorious for its political sentiment, “Peaches” was controversial because of its sexual content: the song’s narrator is girl-watching on a crowded beach one hot summer day. It is never made clear if his lascivious thoughts (such as “there goes a girl and a half”) are an interior monologue, comments to his mates, or come-on lines to the attractive women in question.
Rattus Norvegicus/April 1977
03. Oh Bondage Up Yours! – X-Ray Spex
“Oh Bondage Up Yours!” is regarded by critics as a prototypal example of British punk, though it was not a chart hit.
The anthemic song attracted wide notice and led directly to the band’s first record deal—a pact with the Virgin label for one single.
Poly Styrene, X-Ray Spex’s songwriter as well as lead vocalist, had been motivated to join the punk scene like many others as a result of attending a Sex Pistols concert—her first encounter with the band, when she still went by Marion Elliot, was in Hastings in early July 1976. Concerned with issues of consumerism and disposability, reflected in the name she soon adopted, she wrote “Oh Bondage Up Yours!” shortly after seeing the Pistols for a second time the following month. Styrene later described “Oh Bondage” as “a call for liberation”.
X-Ray Spex’ instrumental lineup featured a saxophonist, unusual for a punk band. What made the horn player particularly stand out was that she was a girl, Susan Whitby, just 16 years old as of mid-1977.
04. Don’t Dictate – Penetration
“Don’t Dictate”, the debut single, is now acknowledged as a classic punk rock single.
The band took their name from an Iggy & The Stooges song and played their first gig in October 1976. Their second gig was supporting The Stranglers at Newcastle City Hall. Significantly, the band also played at the now-legendary punk club The Roxy during its first 100 days. On 9 April 1977, the band appeared on the same bill as Generation X. Early in their career, the band also supported The Vibrators and toured with the Buzzcocks.
A decidedly more “rawk” proposition than many of the three-chord trainee anarchists on the scene, Pauline Murray drawing inevitable comparisons with both Patti Smith and Siouxsie Sioux for her force of personality and the strength/style of her voice.
05. Dancing the Night Away – The Motors
“Dancing The Night Away”, is the first single of The Motors which reached number 42 in the UK Singles Chart in 1977. The song became famous after it was covered by Cheap Trick on their 1983 album Next Position Please.
06. Little Girl – The Banned
“Little Girl” is actually a cover version of a 1966 U.S. hit song by the Syndicate of Sound. It reached #36 UK Singles Chart in December 1977.
This one-hit wonder English band claimed that they recorded “Little Girl” in an attempt to take advantage of the popularity of punk rock, or in Paul Sordid’s (drums/vocals) words to “work a scam to do this punk thing”.
07. Emergency – 999
“Emergency” is taken from 999’s self-titled 1978 debut album, produced by Andy Arthur. One review claimed it “demonstrated their limitations as well as their strengths. ‘Emergency’ demonstrated the latter, but the album lacked that special ingredient, uniqueness or originality to make it stand out from the crowd.”
The album reached #53 in the UK Albums Chart. The following year, the song “Emergency” from the album appeared—alongside songs by bands like The Jam and The Stranglers—on the punk compilation 20 of Another Kind.
“Emergency” was included years later in Mojo magazine’s list of the best punk rock singles of all time.
08. This Perfect Day – The Saints
“This Perfect Day” made #34 in the UK charts, The Saints’ only British Top 40 entry.
The Saints were formed in Brisbane in 1974. They are considered to be one of the first and most influential punk rock groups. By 1975, contemporaneous with the Ramones, The Saints were employing the fast tempos, raucous vocals and “buzzsaw” guitar that characterised early punk rock. With their first single, “(I’m) Stranded”, in late 1976, they became the first punk band outside the United States to release a record, ahead of better-known punk acts like the Sex Pistols and The Clash. According to Bob Geldof, “Rock music in the seventies was changed by three bands—the Sex Pistols, the Ramones and The Saints”.
In mid-1977 the band moved to Great Britain, where it became apparent that they differed with their label over how they should be marketed. EMI planned to promote The Saints as if they were a typical English punk band, complete with ripped clothes and spiky hair. The Saints insisted on maintaining a more downbeat image. Their single “This Perfect Day” suggested the band had the potential for a commercial breakthrough when it made #34 in the UK; further movement up the charts was frustrated by EMI’s failure to press enough copies of the record to satisfy demand.
Eternally Yours/May 1978
09. (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction – Devo
(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” was released first as a single in 1977.
Because of the extensive changes Devo had made to the song, they met with Mick Jagger and his lawyer so Mick could give his blessing. During that visit, Mick said he liked Devo’s version. Gerald Casale characterized this meeting as “a setup”. After the meeting, he found out that Devo’s lawyer told Jagger’s lawyer they should approve the song because it would make Mick a lot of money. Steve Huey of Allmusic stated that the cover version “reworks the original’s alienation into a spastic freak-out that’s nearly unrecognizable”.
The quirky music video for this song and several others from this album received significant airplay on the upstart MTV. The video appears on Devo’s home videos, The Men Who Make the Music, We’re All Devo and The Complete Truth About De-Evolution. A notable feature of the video was dancer Craig Allen Rothwell, known as Spazz Attack, whose signature dance move, a forward flip onto his back, drew him significant attention.
Watch the video here.
Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo/August 1978
10. Ever Fallen in Love (with Someone You Shouldn’t’ve) – Buzzcocks
“Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve)” was a number twelve hit on the UK Singles Chart in 1978.
Sometime during November 1977, the band watched the musical Guys & Dolls in the TV lounge of a guesthouse in Edinburgh, Scotland. It was the dialogue “Have you ever fallen in love with someone you shouldn’t have” from the film which inspired the song. The following day Shelley wrote the lyrics of the song, in a van outside a post office, with the music following soon after.
The music and lyrics, as well as the singing, belong to Pete Shelley.
The lyrics consist of two verses (of which one is repeated) and a chorus. According to music critic Mark Deming, “the lyrics owe less to adolescent self-pity than the more adult realization of how much being in love can hurt—and how little one can really do about it.”
Critic Ned Raggett describes the song as a “deservedly well-known masterpiece.” Mark Deming notes, “Pete Shelley’s basic formula in the Buzzcocks was to marry the speed and emotional urgency of punk with the hooky melodies and boy/girl thematics of classic pop/rock. When he applied this thinking to that most classic of pop themes, unrequited teenage love, he crafted one of his most indelible songs, ‘Ever Fallen in Love?'”
A cover of the song was released as a charity tribute single to the late DJ John Peel on 21 November 2005. It featured artists including Roger Daltrey (The Who), The Datsuns, The Futureheads, David Gilmour (Pink Floyd), Peter Hook (New Order, Joy Division), Elton John, El Presidente, Robert Plant (Led Zeppelin), Pete Shelley and the Soledad Brothers. The single was supported by Peel’s son, Tom Ravenscroft, and proceeds went to Amnesty International.
Love Bites/September 1978
11. Milk and Alcohol – Dr Feelgood
“Milk and Alcohol”, written in 1978 by Nick Lowe and John “Gypie” Mayo, reportedly retells Lowe’s 1970s experiences drinking one too many Kahlúa-milk drinks at or after a United States concert by legendary bluesman John Lee Hooker. However, while the song anonymously criticises Hooker (“Main attraction dead on his feet, Black man rhythm with a white boy beat”), ironically it was inspired by Hooker’s own lyric about “milk, cream and alcohol”. The song was recorded in 1978 and first appeared on Private Practice.
The heavy riffs on “Milk and Alcohol” were added by Mayo, a guitarist who replaced the less mainstream guitarist Wilko Johnson in 1978 after Johnson left the band as a result of an argument over the recording of Dr. Feelgood’s fourth album, Sneakin’ Suspicion (1977).
The song reached Britain’s top-10 hit singles chart the same month in which it was released. The track reached #9 in the United Kingdom chart, in part due to the song’s reference to the milk and alcohol drink, and spent nine weeks in the listing. Capitalizing on the notoriety the song brought, the band presented “Milk and Alcohol” live to audiences around the world in 1979, including in Japan, Australia, New Zealand, the Middle East, Russia and the United States.
In 2005, “Milk and Alcohol” was considered by the music magazine Q in its compilation of the top ten cigarettes and alcohol songs for the ultimate soundtrack to a drinking session.
Private Practice/October 1978
12. Ready Steady Go – Generation X
“Ready Steady Go” reached No. 47 in UK chart in March 1978.
Generation X were formed in London on 21 November 1976 by Billy Idol and Tony James.
Generation X played their first concert on 21 December 1976 at The Roxy (becoming the very first band to play at the venue); The Roxy known for hosting the flowering British punk music scene in its infancy.
Generation X were one of the first punk bands to appear on the BBC Television music programme Top of the Pops. Unlike other punk bands, Generation X ignored some of the ‘rules’ and ‘ideals’ adopted by UK punk rock bands, taking inspiration from British pop of the 1960s. In 1977, they covered John Lennon’s “Gimme Some Truth”, and in 1979 they teamed up with veteran old-school rocker Ian Hunter who produced their second album Valley of the Dolls.
Billy Idol went on to pursue a solo career in early 80s in the United States, where he became a substantial pop star. James later formed Sigue Sigue Sputnik and performed with bands including The Sisters of Mercy and, much later on, Carbon/Silicon.
13. Up Against the Wall – The Tom Robinson Band
“Up Against the Wall” is now acknolwledged as a classic punk rock single—at least in England. It’s included in Power in the Darkness, the debut studio album by Tom Robinson Band.
Power in the Darkness reached number 4 in the UK album charts and won the band a gold record, and TRB were voted “Best New Band” and “Best London Band” for the year 1977 by listeners at the Capital Radio Music Awards.
Power in the Darkness/1978
14. Public Image – Public Image Ltd
John Lydon (1978): “‘Public Image’, despite what most of the press seemed to misinterpret it to be, is not about the fans at all, it’s a slagging of the group I used to be in. It’s what I went through from my own group. They never bothered to listen to what I was fucking singing, they don’t even know the words to my songs. They never bothered to listen, it was like ‘Here’s a tune, write some words to it.’ So I did. They never questioned it. I found that offensive, it meant I was literally wasting my time, cos if you ain’t working with people that are on the same level then you ain’t doing anything. The rest of the band and Malcolm never bothered to find out if I could sing, they just took me as an image. It was as basic as that, they really were as dull as that. After a year of it they were going ‘Why don’t you have your hair this colour this year?’ And I was going ‘Oh God, a brick wall, I’m fighting a brick wall!’ They don’t understand even now.”
15. Shot by Both Sides – Magazine
“Shot by Both Sides” is a song written by Howard Devoto and Pete Shelley (both ex-Buzzcocks) and appeared on Magazine’s debut album Real Life in 1978 and was released as a single in the same year, reaching #41 on the UK charts.
The name of the song comes from a political argument between Howard Devoto and his girlfriend, in which his girlfriend said to him, “Oh, you’ll end up shot by both sides.”
Shot by Both Sides is also the title of the English translation of Meisei Goto’s paranoid Japanese novel, Hasamiuchi (original 1973, translation 2008). Translator Tom Gill chose the title because he was a Magazine fan.
The song’s iconic guitar riff is also used in the Buzzcocks song “Lipstick”.
16. Love and a Molotov Cocktail – The Flys
“Love and a Molotov Cocktail” is considered as “the first undisputed classic 45 of 1978″.
The Flys career began by regularly opening for the English punk band the Buzzcocks.
Although they were rooted in the 1970s British punk scene and influenced by The Damned and the Buzzcocks their music did not always fall into that mold. Pop punk, referred to as ‘poppy punk’ and ‘half-punk, half pop’ is closer to the style of their actual playing.
Love and a Molotov Cocktail EP/1978
17. Rich Kids – Rich Kids
“Rich Kids” is the song taken from Rich Kids’ only studio album, Ghosts of Princes in Towers.
The Rich Kids were formed by Glen Matlock (vocals/bass guitar) after he left the Sex Pistols, and fronted by Midge Ure (vocals /guitars /keyboards). Rusty Egan (drums) and Steve New (vocals/guitars), briefly second guitarist for the Sex Pistols and later PiL, completed the line-up] An early line-up in 1977 was formed by New and Egan on their same instruments and Matlock on lead vocals and bass, and The Clash’s Mick Jones on guitar. Midge Ure saw a little interest early 1977 in the group and continued with his Slik transformed to punkier PVC2 members, which split up in September 1977. Ure left his Slik/PVC2 bandmates and immediately moved to London and joined The Rich Kids, and Jones dropped out and continued with The Clash.
The Rich Kids were amongst the foremost British exponents of the power pop style, blending influences from 1960s acts such as The Small Faces and The Who with more recent punk rock sounds.
Ghost of Princes in Towers/1978
18. Suspect Device – Stiff Little Fingers
“Suspect Device” is taken from Inflammable Material, Stiff Little Fingers’ 1979 debut album.
Inflammable Material was the first album on an independent record label—in this case Rough Trade—to enter the UK Top Twenty.
Stiff Little Fingers, formed in 1977, are from Belfast, Northern Ireland, named after one of the Vibrators song.
It was while they were doing a gig at the Glenmachan Hotel that they met up with Gordon Ogilvie, who was a Marxist journalist with the Daily Express newspaper, invited along for the evening by Colin McClelland, another journalist, with whom Jake had been corresponding.
McClelland then arranged to get the band some recording time at a local radio station, and in the studio normally used to record jingles, they recorded “Suspect Device”. The single was packaged in the form of a cassette, with a cover depicting a cassette bomb, apparently causing great hilarity in the group, when one record company phoned them and asked for another copy, as they’d thrown the first one in a bucket of water for fear that it was a real bomb.
A copy of the single was sent to John Peel. He played it repeatedly leading to a distribution deal through Rough Trade. The single was released on the band’s own Rigid Digits label and sold over 30,000 copies.
Inflammable Material/February 1979
19. Do Anything You Wanna Do (live) – Eddie and the Hot Rods
This single made the British Top 10 (number 9 in August 1977) and also proved popular with the then predominant punk audience.
Eddie and the Hot Rods are a pub rock band from Essex founded in 1975. By 1976, they played a set at London’s famous Marquee Club—their opening act was a young band named Sex Pistols playing their first London gig, which descended into chaos with the Pistols smashing the Hot Rods’ gear; During a residency at the club in the summer of 1976 they duelled for alternate weeks with AC/DC, to see who could cram more bodies into the Marquee during one of the hottest summers on record. In 1977, the Hot Rods toured the United States with the Ramones and Talking Heads.
20. Damaged Goods – Gang of Four
This song is taken from Entertainment!, Gang of Four’s debut album released in September 1979. The music on the album shows clearly the influence of punk, yet also incorporates funk and less-obvious influences of reggae and dub, similar to other bands at the time such as Public Image Ltd., Pere Ubu, and The Pop Group.
Not only ranked at Number 490 in Rolling Stone’s The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, Entertainment! has attracted praise from rock musicians. Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers stated that the first time he heard the record, “It completely changed the way I looked at rock music and sent me on my trip as a bass player.”
This quartet from Leeds, England, is widely considered one of the leading bands of the late 1970s/early 1980s pot-punk movement. David Fricke in Rolling Stone said “Gang of Four are probably the best politically motivated band in rock & roll.”
21. Love Song – The Damned
“Love Song” first released as a single in April 1979 and later by The Damned and later included in Machine Gun Etiquette, their third album which published in November 1979.”Love Song”, combined with radio airplay and a catchy song, was The Damned’s first hit, peaking at UK #20 and leading to the band’s debut on Top of the Pops.
Machine Gun Etiquette is widely considered to be one of the band’s finest recordings and many consider it their absolute best.
The Damned are formed in London in 1976. They were the first punk rock band from the United Kingdom to release a single (“New Rose”), an album (Damned Damned Damned), to have a record on the UK music charts, and to tour the United States. The Damned later evolved into one of the forerunners of the gothic genre.
Machine Gun Etiquette/November 1979
22. Money (That’s What I Want) – The Flying Lizards
The Flying Lizards were an English experimental rock band, who were formed in 1976 in England. They are best remembered as New wave one-hit wonders, thanks to their deliberately eccentric cover of Barrett Strong’s “Money”, which became a surprise UK and US chart success in 1979
Formed by and led by record producer David Cunningham, the group was a loose collective of avant-garde and free improvising musicians.
The Flying Lizards/1979
23. The Sounds of the Suburbs – The Members
“The Sound of the Suburbs” (1979) is The Members’ best known recording.
The Members are originated in Camberley, England, in 1976. In 1978/79 The Members played the London pub and club circuit, and became a feature in the music press. It signed to Virgin Records in 1978, for which it recorded “The Sound of the Suburbs”, produced by Steve Lillywhite.
At the Chelsea Nightclub/1979
24. Babylon’s Burning – The Ruts
“Babylon’s Burning” was The Ruts debut single and became a UK Top 10 hit, reaching number 7 in the UK Singles Chart in June 1979, and prompting an appearance on BBC Television’s Top of the Pops.
“Babylon’s Burning” later included in The Crack, the debut album.
The cover picture of The Crack shows the members of the group (from left to right Malcolm Owen, Paul Fox, Dave Ruffy and Segs—who is perusing a copy of Exchange & Mart) seated on a large sofa, around them are some of their contemporaries such as Rat Scabies and Captain Sensible of The Damned (top right corner), Jimmy Pursey of Sham 69 (bottom right), while Peter Cook and Dudley Moore are standing behind Malcolm, John Peel appears to be doing something to a schoolgirl (in uniform) with a bar of chocolate on the left hand side, Jimi Hendrix looks on from the right, the wives and girlfriends of the band members appear in various poses, as does the band’s roadie Mannah (seen from the back) who assisted in writing the song “S.U.S” which deals with the vagrancy act, widely used by London’s Metropolitan Police Service in the late 1970s. The astronomer Patrick Moore looks on somewhat disapprovingly from the left.
25. Echo Beach – Martha and the Muffins
“Echo Beach” was released as a single from Martha and the Muffins’ first album Metro Music in 1980 and won the Juno Award for Single of the Year. “Echo Beach” was the band’s only significant international hit, although they had several other hits in Canada. It reached #10 on the UK Singles Chart and #6 on the Australian Singles Chart (Kent Music Report).
Echo Beach, as mentioned in the song, does not refer to a real beach but is rather a symbolic notion of somewhere the narrator would rather be, somewhere ‘far away in time’. In reality, the song was created while Mark Gane (guitarist) was working checking wallpaper for printing faults. He found the work rather dull and his mind drifted to times he would like to live over again. One such time was an evening spent at Sunnyside Beach on the shoreline of Lake Ontario in Toronto in summer.
In 2005, “Echo Beach” was named the 35th greatest Canadian song of all time on the CBC Radio One series 50 Tracks: The Canadian Version.
26. The Saints are Coming – Skids
“The Saints Are Coming” was the third single by Skids, featured on their 1978 debut album, Scared to Dance. The song became an international #1 hit when it was covered in 2006 by Green Day and U2.
This art-punk/punk rock and new wave quartet were founded in 1977 in Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland. They played their first gig on 19 August 1977, at the Bellville Hotel in Pilmuir Street, Dunfermline. Within six months they had issued the Charles EP on the No Bad record label, created by Sandy Muir, a Dunfermline music shop owner and then manager. The record brought them to the attention of national BBC Radio 1 DJ, John Peel. This led to a local support slot for The Clash.
In recent years “The Saints Are Coming” has become an increasingly popular choice of anthem for fans of Southampton FC (aka. The Saints). The track is played to introduce the team onto the pitch and to start the commentary on local radio.
Scared to Dance/1979
27. Where’s Captain Kirk – Spizzenergi
“Where’s Captain Kirk?” is the single by English punk/new wave band Spizzenergi led by Spizz (real name Kenneth Spiers). They became the first number one band in the newly formed UK Indie Chart in January 1980. They are also notable as the first band to sign to Rough Trade Records. More than two decades after its release, “Where’s Captain Kirk” was included in Mojo magazine’s list of the best punk rock singles of all time.
John Peel described “Where’s Captain Kirk?” as… “the best Star Trek associated song”.
Spizz did the artwork for the single cover himself using his own felt pens.
28. Going Underground – The Jam
“Going Underground” is the first British number-one chart single by The Jam, released in March 1980. It went straight in at number one, a rare feat at the time, and spent three weeks at the top. It was the first of three instant chart-toppers for the group.
“Going Underground” was not released on any of the band’s six studio albums initially, although it has appeared on many compilation/re-releases since then.
In March 2005, Q magazine placed “Going Underground” at number 73 in its list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Tracks, and in October 2006 placed it at number 98 in their list of the 100 Greatest Songs Ever.
The song includes several indictments of the British policy on arms, and challenges its relative emphasis compared with social provision. It also points a telling finger at the “public” (ie electorate).
You want more money of course I don’t mind / To buy nuclear textbooks for Atomic crimes
This line is a reference to the UK’s commitment to nuclear weapons, implying (through the use of “I don’t mind”) a level of acceptance on the part of the general populace to the study (“textbooks”) of annihilation – whereas,
You’ll see kidney machines replaced by rockets and guns
highlights governmental choice to channel investment into weaponry at the expense of life-saving health care.
29. Happy House – Siouxsie and the Banshees
“Happy House” is the first single from Siouxsie and the Banshees’ third album Kaleidoscope. The song was written by Banshees members Siouxsie Sioux and Steven Severin.
“Happy House” and the Kaleidoscope album marked a change in musical direction for Siouxsie and the Banshees due to the arrival of two new musicians: drummer Budgie, previously from The Slits, and guitarist John McGeoch, previously from Magazine.
Budgie uses here a reggae vibe on drums and McGeoch plays both atmospheric and edgy guitars. Siouxsie stated that the band almost invented a new sound with this single : it was “Banshees – phase two”.
When asked if “Happy House” is a cynical song, Siouxsie replied that it is “sarcastic. In a way, like television, all the medias, it is like adverts, the perfect family where as it is more common that husbands beat their wives. There are mental families really. The projection is everyone smiling, blond hair, sunshine, eating butter without fat and everyone perfect”.
The single became the band’s second top twenty hit, peaking at number seventeen in the UK singles chart.
30. Being Boiled – The Human League
“Being Boiled” is the first single from Human League’s Travelogue album released in May 1980 and is notable as one of the first pieces of electronic pop music produced in the UK.
Although failing to chart, “Being Boiled” is influential amongst other new wave and post-punk artists.
31. C30, C60, C90, Go – Bow Wow Wow
“C30, C60, C90, Go” is a cassingle released in 1980 but EMI, Bow Wow Wow’s label at the time, refused to promote it because it allegedly promoted home taping, as Side B was blank.
Bow Wow Wow created by Malcolm McLaren to promote his and business partner Vivienne Westwood’s New Romantic fashion lines.
McLaren persuaded guitarist Matthew Ashman, bassist Leigh Gorman and percussionist David Barbarossa (also known as Dave Barbe), of the then lineup of Adam and the Ants to leave founder of the band Adam Ant and form a new group.
After a six-month long audition process for a lead singer, the band hired Annabella Lwin. Musician David Fishel, originally from Liverpool, an acquaintance of McLaren’s, discovered 14-year-old Lwin while she was working a Saturday job at her local dry cleaning shop. She was singing along to a Stevie Wonder song on the radio. The group’s sound was a mix of her “girlish squeal,” Balinese chants, surf instrumentals, pop melodies, and Barbarossa’s Burundi ritual music influenced tom tom drum beats.
Famously, coinciding with Annabella Lwin’s posing for album coverwork, her mother alleged exploitation of a minor for immoral purposes, and instigated a Scotland Yard investigation. As a result the band was only allowed to leave the UK after McLaren promised not to promote Lwin as a “sex kitten”. This included an agreement to not use a nude photograph depicting Lwin as the woman in Manet’s The Luncheon on the Grass (Le déjeuner sur l’herbe), though the picture (see above) was used as the cover of an RCA EP in 1982. (The photo was originally to be used for 1981’s See Jungle! See Jungle! Go Join Your Gang, Yeah. City All Over! Go Ape Crazy, and the cover was used as planned in some European countries—such as the Netherlands—though not in the UK or the US.) Lwin was almost made to quit the band by the controversy over the publication of the photo, particularly as she was only 14 when the photo was taken.
32. Is Vic There? – Department S
“Is Vic There” is the debut single of British new wave band, Department S.
Department S were formed in 1980, took their stage name from the 1960s TV series Department S. They evolved from a previous punk/ska combo, Guns For Hire, and featured former Madness drummer John Hasler.
They made their live debut at the Rock Garden, London, on 24 September 1980. Demon Records subsequently released “Is Vic There?”, in December 1980. It was produced by former Mott the Hoople members Buffin and Overend Watts, but its initial success led to the better-equipped RCA Records re-issuing the single in March 1981.
33. Warhead – U.K. Subs
“Warhead” is taken from U.K. Subs’ album Brand New Age, released in 1980. It reached #18 in UK album chart.
The U.K. Subs, founded in London, are among the earliest in the first wave of British punk.
Formed in 1976, the mainstay of the band has been vocalist Charlie Harper, originally a singer in Britain’s R&B scene. They were also one of the first street punk bands.
The U.K. Subs were part of the original punk movement in England with the initial name of the Subversives.
Their style combined the energy of punk and the rock and roll edge of the then thriving pub rock scene.
Brand New Age/1980
34. I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles – Cockney Rejects
“I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles” is a popular song originally debuted in 1918 and was first published in 1919.
The song is now better known in the UK as the club anthem of London-based football club, West Ham United.
“I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles” was first introduced to the club by former manager Charlie Paynter in the late twenties. A player, Billy J. “Bubbles” Murray who played for the local Park School had an almost uncanny resemblance to the boy in the famous “Bubbles” painting by Millais used in a Pears soap commercial of the time. Headmaster Cornelius Beal began singing the tune “I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles” with amended lyrics when Park players played well.
Some West Ham fans sing alternate lyrics. The second line’s “nearly reach the sky” is changed to “they reach the sky”, “Then like my dreams” is also changed to “And like my dreams”. In addition the fans begin a chant of “United, United!” to cap it off. There is a tradition amongst West Ham United fans whereby they blow bubbles at matches to accompany the singing of the song.
These touchline songs were a form of predecessor to the terrace chants that have since become a trademark of the game. It was adopted by West Ham’s supporters in the late 1920s and is now one of the most recognisable club anthems in English football along with “You’ll Never Walk Alone”.
Cockney Rejects covered the song in 1980 as a tribute to West Ham. The song is also distinctly heard in the movie Green Street Hooligans, starring Elijah Wood, and at the end of episode 3.6 of Ashes to Ashes which took place in 1983 and featured the death of a West Ham supporter.
35. Love Song – Simple Minds
“Love Song” is taken from Simple Minds’ fourth studio album, Sons and Fascination.
“Love Song”, became a Top 20 hit in 1981 in Canada and Australia. It reached #46 on the Canadian RPM National Top 50 Albums Chart on 6 February 1982 and remained on the chart for four weeks.
The album was the first recordings the band made for Virgin Records and their first with producer Steve Hillage, who was a guitarist in the hippy progressive rock band Gong. One thing Hillage and Simple Minds had in common was a love of krautrock music.
Sons and Fascination/1981
36. Friday Night, Saturday Morning – The Specials
“Friday Night Saturday Morning” is the b-side song of The Specials’ “Ghost Town”, referring to The Locarno, a nightclub in Coventry, West Midlands, England.
Coventry is also the city where The Specials (sometimes called The Special AKA) are from and founded in 1977. This 2 Tone ska revival sextet were formed in 1977. Their music combines a “danceable ska and rocksteady beat with punk’s energy and attitude”, and had a “more focused and informed political and social stance” than other ska groups.
37. Swords of a Thousand Men – Tenpole Tudor
“Swords of a Thousand Men” was one of the three singles out of Eddie, Old Bob, Dick and Gary. It’s the most successful of Tenpole Tudor’s singles, achieving #6 and remaining on the charts for 12 weeks.
Eddie, Old Bob, Dick and Gary was the debut album of Tenpole Tudor. A moderately successful seller, peaking at #44 in the UK.
Tenpole Tudor formed in UK in 1974 and fronted by Edward Tudor-Pole. He came to prominence by appearing in the 1978 film, The Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle. He was originally billed as a replacement for Sex Pistols singer Johnny Rotten—performing the songs “Who Killed Bambi?”, “The Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle” and a cover version of “Rock Around The Clock” for the film and subsequent soundtrack—however, manager Malcolm McLaren and the remaining Sex Pistols instead decided to abandon the group and go their own ways.
Eddie, Old Bob, Dick and Gary/1981
38. Senses Working Over Time – XTC
“Senses Working Overtime” is a single by XTC released in 1982 and then included in their 5th studio album, English Settlement. “Senses Working Overtime” is at once the apogee of their early-eighties British popularity as well as their last gasp of mainstream success in their homeland. While it hit the Top Ten and helped English Settlement reach #5 on the album charts, it would also be their last Top 40 entry for a decade.
English Settlement reached No. 5 on the UK Album Chart and No. 48 on the Billboard 200 album chart.
Arguably XTC’s defining album, English Settlement is a significant milestone of the band’s ability as musicians and songwriters. Some prevalent lyrical themes include the preservation of buildings, world peace, youthful rebellion, and the frustrations of love.
English Settlement/February 1982
Most of the infos/footnotes above are gathered from Wikipedia.
Download the whole playlist here.
– Apr 20 | Exhibition: Danie Satrio (managing director of Hai magazine)
– Apr 27 | Exhibition: Ardy Chambers (young Makassar music/fashion mogul)
– May 04 | Exhibition: Anto Arief (troubadour, radio announcer and producer of Substereo, lecturer)
And more shows and exhibitions by Kemir, Ricky Surya Virgana, Andre Opa, Phil Mimbimi, Coki Singgih, Adi Cumi, Tony Tandun, etc in May.
See y’all again next Wednesday!
Boozed, Broozed, and Broken-boned,
*subject to change
The Block Rockin’ Beats
Curator: Rudolf Dethu
Every Wednesday, 8 – 10 PM
The Beat Radio Plus – Bali, 98.5 FM
120 minutes of cock-melting tunes.
Zero horse shit.
Rad-ass rebel without a pause.
Shut up and slamdance!