Johnny & The Self-Abusers had the perfect punk trajectory, releasing one single in their eight-month career. Then they became Simple Minds.

Here’s another barely remembered and barely played single from my dusty shelf of 45s. It’s a pretty typical example of lower-league punk. (more…)

I never get tired of this song. It’s probably my favourite by Elvis Costello – certainly up there with Oliver’s Army and Accoidents Will Happen. A miniature film noir in song, it’s brimming with tension, musically and lyrically. And Nick Lowe’s production gives it the element that all the best songs exhibit. Space. (more…)

999 – Emergency

25th May 2022 · 1970s, 1978, Music, Punk

Back in 1977, one of the hardest-working bands on the live circuit was 999. They also had some of the best tunes. And Emergency was the best of the lot. (more…)

Here’s another one from my dusty singles collection, most of them released between 1977 and 1980. It sounds startlingly similar to Styrofoam, by The Tyla Gang, which was one of the first singles on Stiff Records. It’s also got a similar jerky vibe to Richard Hell & The Voidoids. (more…)

John Cooper Clarke was the poet laureate of punk. Along with Linton Kwesi Johnson he was everywhere, filling in at gigs as a kind of cross between an MC and a support band. (more…)

It was hard to know what to make of XTC; they were certainly unlike any other band of the punk era – and still sound unique today. (more…)

This is surely one of the most memorable singles to emerge from the punk era. Everyone remembers its rallying cry, and Poly Styrene’s immortal intro: “Some people think little girls should be seen and not heard. But I think… OH BONDAGE! UP YOURS!!” (more…)

By far the best song on the Max’s Kansas City live album from 1976, this was the sole contribution of Harry Toledo. It sounded strange then – it still sounds ahead of its ahead of its time today! (more…)

There was nothing particularly punky about the Tom Robinson Band. But front man Tom’s fiery left-wing politics, his status as a gay man who proclaimed his sexuality in song, and his campaigning work to help found Rock Against Racism made him a welcome fellow addition to the circuit. (more…)