This lost gem from 1976 is a little piece of punk history – the first single to be released by a West Coast punk band. A double A-side of Hot Wire My Heart and Baby You’re So Repulsive (surely a contender for best punk song title), it was the debut single by a San Francisco band called Crime.
What a classic this is! It’s one of those songs that lifts your spirits the moment you hear those opening chords. American Girl’s got one foot in the past (the jangly guitar of The Byrds) and one foot in the present (the driving rhythms of the New Wave). On top of that, it’s just a stone-cold classic.
Gordon Lightfoot, who died yesterday at the age of 84, was a legend in his home country of Canada. He might not have the same global fame but he was revered there as much – if not more – than contemporaries like Neil Young and Joni Mitchell.
On a sunny day in 1976 I joined 150,000 other people in Knebworth Park to see The Rolling Stones. The line-up that day included Todd Rundgren’s Utopia, 10CC, Hot Tuna and, immediately before the headliners, Lynyrd Skynyrd.
The more I delve into the vaults of vintage soul, the more previously unheard gems I unearth. I guess that goes without saying. Like this classic example, a tune that’s better than many of the similar soul singles that packed the charts in the Sixties and Seventies.
I love Suicide. They were punks before punk and their debut album is the template for nearly all the electronica to emerge since its release in 1977. This is their first release – the version of Rocket U.S.A. that appeared on the Live At Max’s compilation the year before. And this is the article I wrote for The Quietus when Alan Vega died in 2016: