Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Sex Pistols on the Today Programme - 1st December 1976

On the 1st of December, 1976, the Sex Pistols, along with their entourage, known as the Bromley Contingent, appeared on the Today show on Thames Television as a last minute stand-in for Queen, who had cancelled. According to the Wikipedia page for the programme's host, Bill Grundy,
The interview began when Grundy proceeded to introduce and provoke the band, with tongue firmly in cheek. He joked that he was under the influence as he introduced them - "...they are as drunk as I am!" Initially, he received mocking but relatively innocuous responses from Glen Matlock. However, Steve Jones, when asked by Grundy what the band had done with the £40,000 given to them by their record company, said: "Fuckin' spent it", an obscenity which was overlooked by Grundy at the time. Following this, John Lydon, in response to a question about Mozart, muttered the word "shit" under his breath, but when asked, said that it was nothing but a "rude word" and asked Grundy to proceed with the interview. Grundy insisted that Lydon repeat what he had said, which Lydon did, with Grundy then mocking Lydon.
Next, Grundy jokingly made advances on Siouxsie Sioux, who appeared as part of the band's entourage, by saying "let's meet afterwards shall we?" An angry Steve Jones responded by calling Grundy a "dirty sod" and a "dirty old man." Grundy further goaded Jones to "say something outrageous", a challenge that Jones met by calling Grundy a "dirty bastard" and a "dirty fucker". Grundy mockingly responded "what a clever boy" and Jones retorted "what a fucking rotter." As the show ended and the credits rolled, Grundy mouthed "oh shit" as the band began dancing to the closing theme.
 Although Today was only shown in the London ITV region, it became a national story due to coverage and comment by the tabloid press. As a result, Grundy was suspended for two weeks and Today was cancelled two months later.

Queen would never have sworn on TV, now would they?

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Sex Pistols - Anarchy in the UK -- 26th November 1976

On the 26th of November 1976 the Sex Pistols released their debut single, Anarchy in the UK, on EMI.

Although there would be all sorts of picture sleeves later, it was originally released with a plain paper sleeve, as seen here.

At the time the band line-up was Johnny Rotten on vocals, Steve Jones on guitar, Glen Matlock on bass, and Paul Cook on drums, a line-up many think was their best, myself included.

Although the Pistols had been around since 1975, building a reputation for themselves through live appearances, it's fair to say that nobody was prepared for what happened when they finally committed themselves to vinyl. It's impossible to imagine Punk Rock without the Pistols, although it was probably going to happen anyway. It just would have been different.

The barbarians were at the gate, and nothing would ever be the same again.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Richard Hell - Another World EP -- 18th November 1976

On the 18th of November 1976 Richard Hell - later to be Richard Hell and the Voidoids - released the three-track 45rpm 7" Another World EP on Ork Records in the US.

This contained, on the A-side, (I Could Live With You In) Another World, which was a very unpunk-like six minutes long, and it's probably as well that this has more or less sunk without a trace.

More importantly, however, was what was on the flipside of the record. There were two tracks, (I Belong To The) Blank Generation and You Gotta Lose. The first of those, Blank Generation, was to go on to inspire the Sex Pistols' Pretty Vacant, amongst other things, and remains a firm favourite of this blog, after all those years. It was a song that spoke to us, and suggested that something interesting was going on. 

YouTube doesn't seem to have a copy of the third track, or at least not by Hell. There's is a version by Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers, from when Hell was with them, which I include here for the sake of completeness  but not for any other reason. If you do listen to it, don't come back complaining to me...

Stiff Records released this in the UK, more than once, as well.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Damned - New Rose -- 22nd October 1976

The title of the first UK punk single goes to The Damned's first single, New Rose, released on the 22nd of October 1976 by Stiff Records. Several of the band member had the kind of names that would become familiar to us all soon enough, names like Captain Sensible and Rat Scabies.

Finally, things were starting to hot up.

The Damned have an official website here, and there's always the good old Wikipedia page, as well. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

(I’m) Stranded - The Saints -- 28th September 1976

Meanwhile, in Australia, on the 28th of September 1976, The Saints released their debut single, (I’m) Stranded, on the Fatal label. Bob Geldof once said, "Rock music in the Seventies was changed by three bands — The Sex Pistols, The Ramones and The Saints". 

Sunday, August 14, 2011

King Tubby Meets the Rockers Uptown - Augustus Pablo -- 1976

I did warn you all that there might be some Reggae on this blog, and here's some already...

Jacob Miller and Augustus Pablo's 1975 album Who Say Jah No Dreadfeatured the song Baby I Love You So

All other things being equal, this largely unremarkable song would have been forgotten as soon as it was recorded if it hadn't been for Augustus Pablo deciding to do an alternative version of it, what was called in Jamaica as 'Version,' but better known to the rest of us as 'Dub.' This new 'version' of the song, released at some indeterminate point in 1976was called King Tubby Meets the Rockers Uptown, and may be the single most important dub record ever released. It's release in the English market meant that it had a huge impact on the music of the time, and dub effects would be heard in all sorts of places over the next few years.

You can buy Augustus Pablo musichere

So it Goes - Nick Lowe -- 14th August 1976

It struck me that this year, and particularly next year, mark the thirty-fifth anniversary of Punk Rock, and what came after. I turned seventeen towards the end of 1976, and am fifty-one now, and it's not overstating the case to say that the music of 1976 and 1977 changed my life. So, I decided to try to mirror the events of that time by posting YouTube videos of the songs that meant so much to me, as much as possible posted thirty-five years to the day after they were originally released.

This blog will not be confined to just Punk, though, or it would be a very short blog - even if I could decide on a practical definition of Punk, which I can't. There was Punk, New Wave, Power Pop, Ska, Post-Punk, and any number of other things that made up the soundscape of my life back then, and it'll probably all get a look in at some point.

There's any number of dates I could choose to start what is going to be a very personal view of Punk and its times. I could have started with the first single by The Ramones, Blitzkrieg Bop, released on the 9th of July 1976 -

You can buy Ramones musichere.

However, this is not actually the point I'm going to choose. Instead, my beginning is going to be with the release of Nick Lowe's So it Goes, not only his debut single, but the first single to be released on the recently-formed Stiff Records. My view of Punk Rock is predominantly from my side of the great Atlantic divide, although this is not to say the Americans won't get a look in, of course. But first listen to this:

You can buy Nick Lowe musichere.

And remember: