30 December, 2010


RADIO STARS - 'Nervous Wreck'/'Horrible Breath' (Chiswick NS 23) Oct 1977

I wrote about the first Radio Stars single here and during my research on their follow up 'Nervous Wreck' found that some muppet had copied my scans and posted them on YouTube, without a credit I may add. This fucking infuriates me somewhat.

Back to this record then. 'Nervous Wreck' was a small hit and broke into the Top 40 in early 1978. It's a Chas 'n' Dave type tune with a tinkling joanna and some naff female backing vocals. Not my cuppa T.
Far more interesting is the flip 'Horrible Breath' credited to 'Feld'. This was the glitterest of all pixies, Marc Bolan. (real name Mark Feld)  He recorded this song with the title as 'You Scare Me To Death'...

Andy Ellison, the frontman of Radio Stars was lead singer with 60s mod group John's Children who briefly had Bolan as a member so I guess they kept in touch. When Marc Bolan's hits dried up he fronted his own TV Show during 1977 and invited the Radio Stars on it to perform a couple of songs. 

RADIO STARS - Horrible Breath

Radio Stars with Marc Bolan pictured on his TV Show during September 1977. Days after this pic was taken Marc was killed in a car crash. Image taken from the Radio Stars official website.

27 December, 2010


SIOUXSIE AND THE BANSHEES - 'Mittageisen'/'Love In A Void' (Polydor 2059 151) Sept 1979

This double A-sided single from Siouxsie and the Banshees got a UK release based on the high amount of import sales of the original German release. It's also the place to find the punk rocker 'Love In A Void', one of the first Banshees songs ever written (back in 1977) but never cut in the studio until April 1979. 

'Mittageisen' or 'Metal Postcard' as it's also known was a homage to anti Nazi photomontage artist of the Twenties/Thirties, John Heartfield. The chorus is taken from one of Goerring's speeches during the Second World War.


the sleeve of The Banshees single uses this anti Nazi montage


26 December, 2010


THE PLEASERS - 'A Girl I Know'/'Don't Go Breaking My Heart' (Arista 217) Nov 1978

I'll wrap up my Pleasers retrospective with their fourth and final single.  
'A Girl I Know' is terrible and by now I don't think Arista Records knew what to do with the group. The song sounds like one of those cringeworthy French or German Eurovision Song Contest efforts. Quite why they thought this would have been a hit is anyone's guess. All it did was end The Pleasers career as far as I'm concerned.

Even the artwork for the sleeve is embarrassing, in which they seem to be promoting a skinny red tie instead of a worthwhile group of moptops. Thankfully, the B-Side saves the day here. 'Don't Go Breaking My Heart' shows that The Pleasers could still write catchy sub three minute powerpop tunes that were radio friendly. I'm not saying that this song could have been a hit or anything but it would have been a better way to go than the dreadful 'A Girl I Know'...

The Pleasers were dropped by Arista after this flop and it appears that they disbanded with an unreleased album in the vaults.. This eventually did see the light of day recently with a Japanese only release. I've not heard it so can't comment.   
The Pleasers have their own website and have uploaded some great promo pics. I've used a couple of them on my blog.

THE PLEASERS - Don't Go Breaking My Heart

25 December, 2010


THE PLEASERS - 'You Don't Know'/'Billy' (Arista 209) 1978

The third Pleasers release saw them very much in a powerpop mode especially with 'You Don't Know'. The 60s influence was still in evidence with the harmonies and jangly guitar but this nugget, again produced by Tommy Boyce, had a late 70s contemporary sound.
I'm not sure that the record met with any success saleswise and after three successive flops The Pleasers needed a hit.

'Billy' has a rock and roll vibe but is not my cuppa tea.

THE PLEASERS - You Don't Know

24 December, 2010


THE PLEASERS - 'The Kids Are Alright'/'Stay With Me' (Arista 180) 1978

Erstwhile songwriter/producer Tommy Boyce was actively involved with The Pleasers during 1978 and this double sided 45 was the fruits of their liaison. The strange thing for me was that the beaty ballad 'Stay With Me' wasn't even mentioned on the record sleeve (front or back) and even more weirder was that they or the record company chose a Who cover as their next single.

'The Kids Are Alright' is a decent enough attempt and has a polished production but I much prefer the ignored flip 'Stay With Me'....


my copy of Record Mirror from January 1978 showing The Pleasers suited and booted on the front cover

23 December, 2010


THE PLEASERS -'A Thames Beat EP' (Arista 152) Nov 1977

Going against the punk/new wave grain of 1977 were The Pleasers from London who embraced the sound of '64 era merseybeat and in particular The Beatles, on this way cool three song EP.

Reading an article about them in an old Record Mirror from January '78 they were billed as the next 'big thing', along with The Rich Kids and XTC. Fame and fortune did not happen for The Pleasers but they did leave behind some sparkling 45s with that all important 60s beat. I'll be reviewing those over the coming days.

According to an interview with group members Steve McNerney and Bo Benham in Zigzag #80 they had been trying since December 1976 to attract the right guitarist and drummer to help provide the beat sound that they craved. It took them almost a year to find Nick Powell and Dave Rotchelle.

The Pleasers soon dropped the Tremeloes, Searchers, Who, Beatles covers at their gigs and concentrated on their own material of outstanding beat music. They wrote great songs with superb harmonies, jangling guitars with that perfected and wholly authentic 60s backbeat.
It must have been hard to believe that it was 1977 when these chaps were performing their pleasing beat. Remember this was light years ahead of any so called revival.

They had the songs, they had the gear and they had the moptops. They were The Pleasers.

THE PLEASERS - I'm In Love   

21 December, 2010


I'm very fussy when it comes to other people's blogs that review and/or talk about long forgotten music and in particular vinyl records. I very rarely recommend any in particular or list them on my site in my 'EXPO67 Blog List'... you gotta have something worthwhile and interesting to get on that list and have regular posts..(any blog that doesn't have an update in 6 weeks is binned for instance)

Anyway, here's a list of 20 blogs that come recommended by someone else. Some sites are GREAT and I'm a regular visitor to them such as 'So Many Records, So Little Time', 'Garagehangover' and 'Derek's Daily 45'... Others on the list are new to me and I'll almost certainly check them out over the Christmas break.

20 December, 2010


THE ADVERTS - 'One Chord Wonders'/'Quick Step' (Stiff Records 13) April 1977

'One Chord Wonders' was the debut single by The Adverts, who in panda-eyed bassist Gaye Advert had a genuine punk sex symbol in their ranks.... The song itself has that essential 'back to basics' approach and was totally refreshing for 1977. It never got near the charts of course but got the group some publicity and a slot on the Stiff UK National Tour supporting The Damned etc.

THE ADVERTS - One Chord Wonders

19 December, 2010


 SHAM 69 - 'Angels With Dirty Faces'/'The Cockney Kids Are Innocent' (Polydor 2059 023) April 1978

SHAM 69 were formed by leader Jimmy Pursey during 1976 in Hersham, South London. The name came from some graffiti sprayed on a local wall; It originally proclaimed "Hersham 69" but the "Her" had long since worn away.

Unlike some of the other art-school politco rockers, Pursey and Sham 69 were strictly working class and unfortunately got a skinhead and hooligan following that ultimately caused the demise of the group.
'Angels With Dirty Faces' was a anthemic punk tune that hit the Top 20 in England. The flip, 'The Cockney Kids Are Innocent' is a faster paced onslaught coming in at under two minutes and was a favourite of their live set.

SHAM 69 - The Cockney Kids Are Innocent

SHAM 69 circa 1978 - now this is what a punk image is all about. Short cropped hair with a moody look. None on those shitty cartoon bondage pants and coloured spiked hair that came with the second wave of punk after 1980. Those fools missed the point.

SHAM 69 pictured with some cockney kids from the local council estate. These kids look like they've been thieving fags down the shops to me but presumably they're innocent.

16 December, 2010


THE VIBRATORS - 'Baby Baby'/'Into The Future' (Epic 5302) May 1977

Having a great punkoid band name that would probably offend sex starved execs and squares alike didn't matter that much in the snobbish world of 70s punk rock. The Vibrators were derided in the scene for being bandwagon jumpers having been signed earlier to Mickie Most's record label RAK. Group members still had long hair which was also uncool.

No one cares about that anymore thankfully. 'Baby Baby' is such a well produced anthem of sorts coming across like something Mott The Hoople would have come up with in '77 had they still been around....

For your underground punk rock enjoyment try the revved up snarl of 'Into The Future' on the flip.

THE VIBRATORS - Into The Future


14 December, 2010


THE ONLY ONES - 'Another Girl, Another Planet'/'Special View' (CBS 6228) April 1978

Somehow, The Only Ones never rose above cult status in England and the achingly brilliant new wave blast of 'Another Girl, Another Planet' didn't even dent the Charts. Quite why this was allowed to happen is anyone's guess, but at the time guitarist John Perry blamed it on lack of promotion by CBS.

'Another Girl' has one of the all time great intros with it's sinister bass rhythms and piercing lead guitar frills building this highly influential three minute aural drama.. The song deals with drugs, love and death....sublime.
Some group members had a 60s pedigree. Bassist Alan Mair was a member of  The Beatstalkers and drummer Mike Kellie banged the skins for Spooky Tooth.

THE ONLY ONES - Another Girl, Another Planet

picture from Zigzag #94

Peter Perrett - picture from Zigzag #94

12 December, 2010


THE BUZZCOCKS - 'Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn't've)'/'Just Lust' (United Artists UP 36455) Sept 1978

Back when I was a kid growing up in the late 70s there wasn't much music on the radio for me to get excited about until I heard bands like The Sex Pistols, The Damned, The Adverts and The Clash etc. Hell, I didn't even know what punk was all about because it never got much publicity in the music press, on the television and definately not the radio. Well not until the Pistols appeared on some live local TV show and started to say 'fuck' and 'shit'. Almost overnight England became exciting again after 10 years of prog boredom.

One of my lasting memories was seeing The Buzzcocks on TOTP playing this song and I've loved it ever since. 'Ever Fallen In Love' got to number 12 in the charts, not that this meant much to me. I only knew that it's popularity meant more plays on the radio and appearances on TV music shows. Back then we had no video recorders or MTV or repeats so if you missed it you were fucked and couldn't talk about it at school next day.

The flip 'Just Lust' is a typical 70s punk song with an uptempo rythmn and stupid lyrics. It has a pretty decent guitar break but it's really just an average song. Not in the same league as the top side.

THE BUZZCOCKS - Ever Fallen In Love


09 December, 2010


This letter from Kevin White, a Worthing inhabitant, appeared in Record Mirror 14th January 1978.

In his diatribe Mr White (probably a prog rock fan) calls The Sex Pistols 'filthy degenerates' and 'lazy louts'. He goes on to label them 'pathetic creatures' and 'evil personified'....

05 December, 2010


THE BUZZCOCKS - 'Promises' / 'Lipstick' (United Artists UP 36471) Nov 1978

One of the original punk bands forming in the Summer of 1976 when Devoto and Shelley decided to form their own group after witnessing a Sex Pistols gig.
'Promises' was The Buzzcocks sixth single and reached a decent number 20 in the UK charts. The flip 'Lipstick' is also good with a subtle 'Shot By Both Sides' (Magazine) guitar riff buried in the mix.

The pic and lyrics below are taken from one of my old Smash Hits magazines from November 1978. Probably rarer than the single which is easy to find.


04 December, 2010

THE CLASH - 1977

THE CLASH - 'White Riot' / '1977' (CBS 5058) Mar 1977

Here's where it all started for London band The Clash with their very first single release. This version of 'White Riot' is a different take from the album version and it reached a respectable number 38 in the UK chart.
It's an aggressive attack of buzzsaw guitars, offbeat bass and slurred vocals.

The flip '1977' is a short burst of punk rock with a Kinks riff and was a non LP track. It contains the lyric,

"No Elvis, Beatles or the Rolling Stones....1977"

Surely a suggestion that for a brief period in England at least, the old guard were on the way out.

THE CLASH - 1977

02 December, 2010


THE UNDERTONES - 'You've Got My Number (Why Don't You Use It)' / 'Let's Talk About Girls' (Sire SIR 4024) May 1979

I don't think The Undertones realized how GREAT their early records were. Most casual listeners will have heard the greatness of 'Teenage Kicks' but this, their 4th single is a bit special as well.

I remember buying this 45 from a clothes shop in Sunderland, probably sometime in 1980. I had saved up enough pocket money for a new pair of jeans but came out of the shop with no jeans and instead a couple of punk singles I found for sale at the back of the shop. I don't think my mother was that impressed when I got home. It must have been a bit like Jack from 'Beanstalk' fame bringing home a handful of magic beans instead of a loaf of bread and some vegetables.
I suppose you can't wear punk records and I still had a hole in the arse of the only pair of jeans I owned.

Still what a fucking record I'd bought by The Undertones. 'You've Got My Number' has a 60s garage guitar riff throughout. Of course I didn't know this in 1980 cos I hadn't discovered 60s garage yet. Also the flip 'Let's Talk About Girls' is a cover version of the Chocolate Watch Band classic. I thought this sounded ultra cool as well.

It wasn't until a few years later, after buying Nuggets I realised that The Undertones had covered an obscure punker. I assume they had discovered this song from the Nuggets re-issue on Sire Records from the late 70s. Afterall they were on the same record label.

THE UNDERTONES - You've Got My Number

I've got some Smash Hits magazines from the late 70s and early 80s. During this period they wrote about punk and new wave groups. This issue from June 1980 boasted The Undertones on the front cover

01 December, 2010


THE UNDERTONES - 'Jimmy Jimmy'/'Mars Bars' (Sire SIR 4015) April 1979

Yet another brilliant tune from Londonderry's Undertones. This was their third single release and built upon the momentum gained from 'Teenage Kicks' and 'Get Over You'. The song hit the top 20 and earned a TOTP appearance in May 1979.

'Jimmy Jimmy' is the sad tale of a young boy killed in Northern Ireland. But having reflected upon the meaning of the song have a smile at the picture cover showing a young Feargal Sharkey holding up a cup dressed in his school uniform. Great stuff indeed.

The flip 'Mars Bars' is about every young boys favourite chocolate bar.


Undertones 'Jimmy Jimmy' advert from Zigzag No 94 - May 1979