TOP 100 OF PUNK 1976-1982
The best period after the mid-60s garage & beat boom ...
(selected in 1995, soon I'll complete the notes)
1. The Undertones : Teenage kicks (45 Good Vibrations '78)
This is John Peel’s (of Radio One BBC fame) fave song. It’s very rare a debute single’s made so great that it’s close to perfection. Subtility and strength hand in hand. Every Sex Pistols and Clash fan will hate me for this, but hey, taste is taste and because my taste is one of a kind and theirs not, is such a pity for them and you’ll be lucky. The Sire reissue 45 contains 3 bonus tracks : "Get over you", "Really really" and "She can". The girls from Thee Headcoatees recorded the best cover version. A Belgian girl band called Triskell always play this song live. Since the Childish girls ain't around anymore, it's the task of the 3 Triskell babes to keep this song unforgotten. Recently I saw Mensen (Norwegian girls) play this at a gig.
2. Buzzcocks: Sixteen again (LP United Artists '78)
This song is the perfect example to say Buzzcocks were not only a singles band. This is the ultimate Buzzcocks song. Pete’s unrivalled (in the world of punkrock) songwriter qualities never showed it better. The repetitive structures echo throughout the fresh melody. P.S. : their debute album features the song "Sixteen" and it’s got nothing to do with this song. Between 1977 and 1979 they were invited for BBC 1's Peels sessions no less than six times. This song was recorded for both the fourth and the fifth session, late 1978.
3. The Damned: Love song (45 Chiswick '79)
I consider The Damned and Buzzcocks the best first wave punkrock bands. After their 1978 split and 1979 reunion they released this single: a fast, hard, but rather accessible punker which even became a UK hit. Also "Machine gun etiquette" has become a punk classic containing songs such as "Smash it up" and "Just can’t be happy today". This is not an easy one!
4. Stiff Little Fingers: Alternative Ulster (45 Rough Trade '78)
The second Ulster punk band (first was Rudi with Brian Young) and the best known. They wished for a different situation in their country. Now almost three decades later the situation remains the same. Again a proof that music doesn’t change a thing, no matter how hard you try. Nevertheless this song is 100% pure and honest energy from a great band and also their "Inflammable Material" album will always be considered by avid fans as a punk rock landmark. Strange however is the opportunism: Jake and his buddies "evolved" from a desperate hard rock band to a "top" punk act.
5. The Damned: New rose (45 Stiff '76)
With front man Dave Vanian, a former gravedigger, The Damned were the first in everything. The first British punk band that released a single (even before the Sex Pistols), also the first punk album and the first punk band with an American tour. So the first Britsh punk single turned out to be almost the best ever. If you are looking for the original 45, you'd better be careful. There are so many counterfeit 45s: they don't have the spoken intro "is she really going out with him". But don't worry if you can't find it: just buy the punk classic album "Damned damned damned", a real must in each record collection.
6. Flux Of Pink Indians: Tube disaster (45 Crass '81)
As Crass protégées they were rated as one of the most important bands of the anarcho-punk scene. They started as The Epileptic Fits and as The Epileptics they recorded "Tube disaster" for a tiny label in 1979. After the split half of the band founded Flux and the rest is history. Oh, later on they started a recommended recorded label: One Little Indian. To me "Tube disaster" is a song I still like to play at parties and the crowd loves it!
7. The Adverts: Bored teenagers (45 Anchor '77)
No song could describe the British youth’s total annihilation and nihilism better than this Adverts classic punk song. The first punk queen was not Siouxsie Sioux or Catwoman, but Gaye Black, fresh from nun school. With heavy mascara eyes, pale face, black clothes and a heavy bass guitar uncomfortably in her hands she was many a young punk’s wet dream’s protagonist. She was timid and introvert and maybe that’s why she went back to oblivion after a few years.
8. Dead Boys: Sonic reducer (45 Sire '77)
Right after arrival in New York this Ohio group recorded this debut single. It’s an almost unapproachable example of American 1977 punkrock. This proves again that almost nothing can be as powerful as the very first recordings. Stiv Bator became a cult hero which he disliked a lot. Even in Paris he wasn’t safe hence his freaky death: he got killed by a taxi while crossing the street.
9. The Sex Pistols: God save the queen (45 Virgin '77)
1977 was the British Queen Elisabeth’s Jubilee. She was Queen when these 4 guys weren’t even born yet. It’s amazing what this foursome’s impact was on music. Or should I say Malcom McLaren’s? Anyway, this song was number two in the charts, but banned from the national radio. This had the opposite effect. The blank spot on #2 was known to anyone and the single sold lotsa copies. BBC did everything to keep the song from being the chart topper. From sheer ignorance the British authorities made the Sex Pistols bigger than even McLaren could have dreamed of. This is classic punk rock music by some bored British youngsters.
10.The Adverts: Gary Gilmore's eyes (45 Anchor '77)
In death row Gary Gilmore wanted to donate his eyes to science. What will happen if someone would look through them. That’s the story behind this masterpiece. American 60’s punk has its quintessential sampler "Nuggets", British 70’s punk has its "Burning ambitions", two fabulous double albums. This song must have been a fave to all who love honest punk rock from 1977.
11.Buzzcocks: Ever fallen in love with someone you shouldn't 've fallen in love with (45 United Artists '78)
The Buzzcocks’ impact on (British) music may be considered as big as the Stooges, Ramones and Velvet Underground. Before you even know, you’re singing along. This fantastic single from their second album was awfully covered by a stupid band who had a smash hit. Why do you think music press labeled them The Beatles of punk?
12.Dead Kennedys: Holiday in Cambodia (45 Cherry Red '80)
That this is the best American punk rock song is beyond question. No one could equal these hardcore pioneers, not even Henry Rollins’ Black Flag. Being the politically most active punk band they had many followers, but Biafra’s unflagging energy in battling Tipper Gore’s censorship squad, helped too. With this he’s got much support from colleagues such as Joey Ramone and Frank Zappa. Lagarto from Spain and his Pleasure Fuckers have recorded a very fine version too, partially sung in Spanish.
13.The Sex Pistols: Anarchy in the UK (45 EMI '76)
Almost every punk compilation has got this one. The very first Sex Pistols single and England would never be the same again. Thousands of new bands arose and a new rock ‘n’ roll philisophy was (re-)born and it was called Do It Yourself. You know the rest.
14.Wire: 1 2 X U (45 Harvest '77)
One of the very best punk songs by a band that had little to do with the punk movement in itself despite their inclusion on the quintessential "The Roxy London WC2". They were a brilliant band, too brilliant maybe; too sophisticated for the working class punks. "12XU" is a great explosion of punk violence and still remains one of the best songs of that great year.
15.The Clash: White riot (45 CBS '77)
Jones and Strummer have written some unforgettable songs, and this is their best without any doubt. Whoever thinks there’s a better Clash song, is an idiot. "White riot" is thee ultimate Clash song. To many this is thee quintessential punk rock song.
16.The Turn-Ups: Sound of silence (LP Cracked '80)
Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel sang this folk tune when the Byrds and Bob Dylan were "hip". I wasn’t even born yet. If you dislike the sound of silence, you certainly like the ultra loud punk terror by The Turn-Ups.
17.Swell Maps: Read about Seymour (45 Rather '78)
Recorded in punk heyday ‘76, but wasn’t released until ‘78. The band started with brothers Nikki and Epic. Strangely, their other songs are experimental noise and miss the punk simplicity of "Read about Seymour".
18.The Adverts: One chord wonders (45 Stiff '77)
To me they were the most underrated punkband from 1977. Their first album is full of one chord wonders, which is the perfect description of a punkrock song. Their first Stiff appearance was rerecorded so the LP-version is slightly different.
19.The Saints: I'm stranded (45 Fatal '76)
A real outsider, when looking at the history of punk rock. This Australian band recorded one of the very first punk rock songs and it was such a success in England they even relocated to that "little island" on the other side of the world. Hence their first album on the British Harvest label. It’s punk rock at its finest.
20.Angelic Upstarts: England (45 Zonophone '80)
Thanks to Sham 69’s Jimmy Pursey (producer of their first album) they were a special medium for the British working class. Although "England" is sort of a ballad, it’s one of the very best this British punkband ever has recorded. Why isn’t this the English anthem? "England oh England, a country so great ...". And similarly why isn’t the Kids’ (Belgian 70’s punk) song "Bloody Belgium" our national anthem instead of La Brabançonne?
21.Crass: Big A little a (45 Crass '80)
What would the world be without Crass? It's hard to imagine. And certainly for every non-British as this proto-punk band (maybe the only real punk band ever!) even had a considerable impact on England's society and politics. Crass learned us to think for ourselves rather than just encourage bored teenagers to react against society. They were smart and thus dangerous, this song being a prime example: "Big A little A boucing B, the system might've got you but it won't get me..."
22.The Kids: Bloody Belgium (LP Phillips '78)
Twelve years old Dany was looking for a singer and guitar player to start a punk rock band. His brother Eddy was drummer. Ludo Mariman had already about this kid bass player and he was enthused. That's how The Kids got started in 1975. This is the new Belgian anthem. When Dany left The Kids after ten devoted years he was only 22 years old.
23.Ramones: Sheena is a punkrocker (45 Sire '76)
Who doesn't know this one? There's "Judy is a punk", "Suzy is a headbanger" and later even "Heidi is a headcase", but I think Sheena is most popular with the fans. Thanks Joey & DeeDee, we won't ever forget you.
24.The Users: I'm in love with today (45 Raw '77)
This has been reissued on a free four-track single with the splendid UK mag "Spiral scratch" together with the Killjoys, the Sick Things (two Raw label mates) and the Sex Pistols. This B-side is their best effort ever and it's typical '77 punk rock. The late 90's has seen a revival of so-called snotty punk based on the early UK-punk rock explosion from 76-77.
25.Angelic Upstarts: Lust for glory (45 Anagram '82)
Simple and good. The Upstarts are one of the few remaining 70’s punk bands from England. This is together with the A-side their best known song. In 1982 punk knew two different tensions: on one hand the working class mentality and on the other the ultra hard "Motörpunk" by bands such as GBH. Despite being (or becoming) too intelligent for many, the Upstarts fans remained. Sadly their concerts were often scenes of battlefields caused by right wing skinheads who wanted to fight with Mensi, a hardcore Anti Fascist Action follower. Same old story, lust for glory. Same old band, but where is the glory?
26.Ramones: Pinhead (45 Sire '76)
This is the famous "Gabba gabba hey" song you can hear on every Ramones concert. It's become their anthem and their most famous (next to "Rock 'n' roll highschool" perhaps). Thee Headcoatees recorded an entire album of punk song cover versions including this.
27.The Heartbreakers: Chinese rocks (45 Track '77)
This punkrock classic was recorded after co-author Richard Hell (ex-Neon Boys and ex-Television) founded his own band, The Voidoids. In the meantime this band had been the support act for the Sex Pistols’ American "Anarchy" tour. To many Johnny Thunders is together with Sid Vicious and Dee Dee Ramone the greatest punk hero. The only thing they really have in common is the needle.
28.Dead Kennedys: California über alles (45 Fast '79)
In 1979 Biafra was 4th on ten candidates for the San Francisco mayor elections. Maybe this "homage" to the Californian gouvernor Jerry Brown is his revenge. I found it strange that their debut single was released on a Scottish label.
29.Ramones: Teenage lobotomy (45 Sire '77)
Two minutes isn't enough to lobotomize a teenager. "Rocket to Russia" was their third album and probably their best. It's one of the fans' fave Ramones songs and often performed live.
30.Generation X: Your generation (45 Chrysalis '77)
As a first class punk rocker Billy Idol was heavily influenced by The Sex Pistols. But does that mean he had to follow Johnny Lydon to the States to become a rock and sex symbol? What "My generation" by the Who is to the me-generation of 1965, is "Your generation" to the anti-you-generation of 1977: an adolescent's fierce accusation against the previous generation, namely the Who's.
31.GBH: City baby attacked by rats (LP Clay '82)
Because there was a British metal band with that name (Grievous Bodily Harm) around, they were called Charged GBH in the beginning. Anyway, they were the toughest punk band (the fiercest was Crass, of course). The critics tried to define this kind of punk; one of the definitions being Motörpunk, although I can't really see the Motörhead connection.
32.X-Ray Spex: Identity (45 EMI International '78)
This was the first X-Ray Spex song I've ever heard and I was a fan instantly. Another great album track is "I am a poseur", a statement that unfortunately suited a lot of punk band members. Marion became Poly Styrene and changed identity and repeated this about a year later with Hare Krishna while the rest started Classix Nouveaux or went solo like the 16-year old Lora Logic.
33.Sick Things: Bondage boy (45 Raw '77)
It was recorded for Raw Records, that’s for sure. That’s the only thing I know about this awesome punkrock band. Labelmates were Killjoys (with pre-Dexys Midnight Runners Kevin Rowland) and The Unwanted. I just found this on a freebie with the Spiral Scratch magazine from England. Must be played right after X-Ray Spex’ "Oh bondage up yours".
34.Newtown Neurotics: Kick out the tories (45 CNT '82)
If the Neurotics would have known it would take another 15 years to kick out the Tories they'd probably have used a bomb instead of this punk song. They soon dropped "Newtown" and their music immediately lacked backbone since then.
35.Buzzcocks: Orgasm addict (45 United Artists '77)
What a title! I'm still waiting for the band under the moniker of The Orgams Addicts. This first single without Howard Devoto confirms the value of this quintessential Manchester punk band. This song was written together with Devoto. This band started the day after they witnessed a 1976 Sex Pistols concert. The previous name was Jets Of Air.
36.X-Ray Spex: Germ free adolescent (45 EMI International '78)
Nowadays it's even harder to find a germ free adolescent. Pre-Hare Krishna Poly Styrene thought she was one. This punk ballad contrasts with their other punk singles like "The day the world turned dayglo", "Identity" and "Oh bondage up yours". This was also recorded for their second Peel session on November 13 1978.
37.UK Decay: For my country (45 Fresh '80)
This was a very promising punk band, but they soon descended to dark gothic sounds. I think it's the first release by the ex-Resistors. In Thatcherian England hundreds of bands emerged to fight the Tory terror. UK Decay could've been big. This song was on a Peel session on 29-4-1980.
38.The Exploited: Troops of tomorrow (45 Secret '82)
Balancing on the mark between Oi and Motörpunk like GBH they acquired a fanatic, loyal following. The small Wattie and his multi-coloured Mohican hairdo is the only constant in the ever changing line-up. Their second album undoubtedly is their best with highlights such as "USA" and above all "Sid Vicious was innocent", but even better is this Vibrators cover, which is half as speedy as the rest and that's why it lasts so long. Nevertheless this was a clear message from the contemporary youth. Strange (but then again not) that The Exploited and Crass could not get along at all.
39.The Undertones: Get over you (45 Sire '78)
A worthy successor of "Teenage kicks", "Get over you" is typical Undertones pop punk. Feargal Sharkey had some chart-topping hit singles in the 80s while the O'Neill brothers tried to break through as That Petrol Emotion. I've seen them once on a festival and I realised I missed the old Undertones. I gotta get over it.
40.Blitz: Someone gonna die (45 No Future '81)
In '81 and '82 a handful of 45s and 1 album got this skin punk band a fanatic following. Almost every fan however turned their heads when the second album "Second empire justice" was released. Blitz had turned into a doomy goth band. "Someone gonna die" is fast honest punk rock produced by so many English punk bands from that era. It's the first release of the great No Future label.
41.The Stranglers: No more heroes (45 United Artists '77)
The first radio show I had in '85 when still a teenager, was called "No more heroes" on local (=Antwerp) radio station Radio Centraal. A part of this song was the show's intro. Dave Greenfield's idol was The Doors' Ray Manzarek, but for not "betraying" their punk ideas, this fact was ignored. These old guys (considering the average punk rockers age) were closer to the Doors and other end-60s bands than to The Clash or The Sex Pistols. Being "punk" there were some incidents at their early gigs. Punks need no more heroes.
42.The Sex Pistols: Pretty vacant (45 Virgin '77)
Their third 45 and the third best too. Although I like Sid Vicious as a punk hero, I particularly like the first line-up including Glen. Punk's nature of self-destruction hasn't been more prolific when the Sex Pistols broke up and Sid Vicious died of an alleged drug OD one year later. I never could expect the original line-up would get together again, almost two decades later. What a great rock 'n' roll swindle.
43.The Fall: Bingo masters breakout (45 Step Forward '78)
Smith’s monotonous nasal sounds as main ingredient for this chaotic punk song. I always hated this arrogant jerk, but I can’t ignore this incredible debute single. The 20 albums (or more) following this single, may be ignored if you are only interested in punk rock.
44.Dead Boys: Ain't nothin' to do (45 Sire '77)
Killed by an accident in Paris, Bators had become unwillingly a (punk) hero; maybe that's the reason behind the posthumous tribute singles box set. He even had a role in "Polyester", a John Waters movie. To some this is an invisible album track from their magnificent debut album, but it's also a terrific 45 B-side. Tough luck: this is the second best Dead Boys song and it sounds even meaner on the Necrophilia release because that album contains the raw mixes of their debut album.
45.The Misfits: Teenagers from Mars (45 Plan 9 '79)
Horror punk heroes from the US with their debut 45 "Horror hotel" with the B-side as lesser known, but oh so great classic Misfits tune. Their first two 45s are worth hundreds of dollars. So famous now that they've become the Kiss of American punk.
46.The Outcasts: Just another teenage rebel (45 Good Vibrations '78)
Also a certain D. Smith played guitar with this band the drummer of which was killed in a traffic accident, but that's after the band's demise. The song deals with that typical "Your generation" statement. Together with Rudi and Stiff Little Fingers they were Ulster's punk pioneers and an answer to London's punk scene.
47.Chron Gen: You'll never change me (LP Secret '81)
Perhaps the most melodic band ever on Secret, a UK punk label responsible for Exploited, Business, 4-Skins and Gonads releases. They made a firm statement with this song. Probably they have changed afterwards and started working from 9 to 5. Their "Living nextdoor to Alice" is hilarious.
48.Dead Kennedys: Chemical warfare (LP Cherry Red '80)
The American punk scene never would be the same after this fierce debut album which inconceivably was released first in England. This is a landmark in the American musical history. Chemical Warfare is an ultra fast, tough, snappy (and thus typical) Dead Kennedys song. Don't get fooled at the end: after a short break there are a few seconds of sheer frenzy left.
49.Vice Squad: Last rockers (45 Riot City '81)
Late punk rock gem, late, but a beauty sung by a leather clad girl. Beki Bondage was the early 80's punk rock queen. Perhaps this song's too well performed, lacking chaos and anarchy to be loved by each and every punk rock fan; nevertheless I've always loved this song (and Beki too!)
50.Crass: Reality whitewash (LP Crass '82)
Maybe they were the only genuine punk band. Not only they sang about anarchism, they lived by those ideals as well. They didn’t want to become punk heroes like Billy Idol, Johnny Lydon or Joe Strummer. Their chaotic anarchopunk (with violins here, realised by Paul Ellis!), the cheap records and independence (in recording to pressing and the sleeves) are the main reason for the many faithful followers. Without the boycots all their albums would have had the golden status. True to their promise (watch the descendent catalogue numbers of their albums) they stopped in the Orwell year 1984. Their singer Steve Ignorant became Conflict’s in the late eighties. "Christ the album" is quintessential Crass. It should be in every record collection of anyone who calls himself a punk rock lover.
51.Plastic Bertrand: Bambino (45 RKM '78)
If you say Plastic Bertrand, you automatically respond "Ca plane pour moi" which is quite obvious since that song sold millions of copies world wide. Talking an Italian child tune as follow-up seems bizarre, but you need to know that "Bambino" was a big hit in France and Belgium in the late 50's. Dalida scored big in 1957 in Belgium and France just like Renato Carosone did in Italy in that same year. Originally it was entitled "Guaglione" sung by Aurelio Fierro on the Italian Music Festival of Napoli in 1956. Plastic Bertrand's punky approach is as unexpected as it is charming.
52.The Mad: I hate music (45 Disgusting '79)
Oh yes, I feel lucky. Lots of people said in '79 "I hate music". The end-70's in the States were a disaster. I would have gone mad too. Julien played with The Cramps for a few months and you can see her with the Cramps in the I.R.S. movie "Urgh a music war". Screaming Mad George became a respected Hollywood horror make up artist. No wonder they were close to the Cramps. But The Mad play punk rock.
53.X-Ray Spex: Oh bondage up yours (45 Virgin '77)
No rope tricks here, just Poly in her plastic dress jumping up and down and revealing her tore up panties: she's the punk girl every adult hates. First class punk rock with a sax sounds a bit weird perhaps but this is genuine punk rock from the first days of punk violence. And if you don't like it, well... up yours!
54.The Unwanted: Fraulin (LP DeLorean '77)
They recorded for the Raw label several great songs including a terrific "These boots ...". This demo recording from 1977 remained unreleased until 1985. "Secret past" is a fine document on one of Britain's best yet forgotten punk rock bands. Some people have heard about this band because of its inclusion on "The Roxy London WC2".
55.The Pagans: What's this shit called love (45 Drome '78)
The State of Ohio produced several excellent punk rock bands (and other peculiarities too). Second best (after Dead Boys) are these Pagans featuring Nick Knox's cousin Ike, both ex-Cramps members. Many people seem to know the single's B-side which is great too, but I still prefer the kick-ass A-side.
56.The Kids: Do you wanna know (45 Mercury '79)
A fabulous punky B-side of a very average single. It's 2 years after their 2 legendary punk albums and they've turned into a typical Belgian FM rock band. This song however is one the very best Ludo Mariman ever has written. Their live version on "If The Kids..." is one of the finest moments in Belgian punk rock. The mid-90's resulted into a renewed world wide interest in Belgian punk rock bands. The Japanese band Teengenerate covered 3 Kids songs for Wild Wild Records including the best foreign cover of a Belgian song.
57.The Lurkers: Shadow (45 Beggars Banquet '77)
It ain't no pretty place at Pogo's. John Wayne Gacy aka Pogo The Clown was mentally ill. He was one of America's most notorious serial killers, keen on adolescent boys. This early American punk rock band could give a very precise description of Gacy's place as if they once could escape out of his hands.
58.The Misfits: Halloween (45 Plan 9 '80)
The Misfits’ fascination with psychotronic horror movies and early punk bands (Ramones, Dead Boys,...) made them an extremely popular cult band whose singles are changing hands for a lot of money. This Halloween track is fabulous and is one of the best Misfits’ songs I’ve heard so far. Unfortunately I don’t have all this Plan 9 single (their own label!) and I refuse to buy the CD sampler. 1983 was the end of this very interesting punk rock band, but later they reformed to cash in on their popularity.
59.Plastic Bertrand: Ca plane pour moi (45 RKM '78)
Lou Depryck from Lou & The Hollywood Bananas wrote this world punk hit. Thanks to their million seller the label could last and keep on releasing singles independantly. Plastic Bertrand was Hubble Bubble's drummer using his own name Roger Jouret. The Damned's Captain Sensible even had a British hit with the translated Elton Motello version, which was covered by Chron Gen too. The original song has been covered in 1997 by one of my fave girl bands, Thee Headcoatees as a prelude to their great "Punk girls" album.
60.The Pop Rivets: Skip off school (LP Hypocrite '79)
This is the first band that has recorded output featuring Billy Childish. It's the start of a legendary career. Billy is my hero next to Lux and Ivy. He must have recorded over 200 albums by now and it seems he won't ever stop. He skipped off school at early age I'm told. Who cares! The start of Medway punk.
61.Ramones: Blitzkrieg bop (45 Sire '76)
One of their earliest recordings and still one of their best (and probably most covered). Now that Joey & DeeDee are gone people start to recognize the ramones' genius. Even a band called The Ramonetures played this as if The Ventures were into Ramones ."Hey Ho, let's go" never sounded so cool.
62.The Kids: This is rock 'n' roll (LP Phillips '78)
And they were right. It's the same rock 'n' roll attitude that changed America in '55 that changed the UK and Europe in '77. These Belgians (with 12 year old bass player and 16 years old brother on the drums they were Kids indeed. Singer Ludo still lives around my corner and looks even meaner than 25 years ago. Also check out the tremendous Japanese cover by Teengenerate who recorded 3 Kids songs for one EP on a French label..
63.Sham 69: If the kids are united (45 Polydor '78)
And this song is always the last song the Kids play at their sold-out gigs all over Europe. Sham 69 (named after a graffiti on a wall "Hersham '69") are the first and best known "working class" punk band. Jimmy Pursey became a punk hero, but not like Lydon, Strummer or Idol. If the kids are united, they will never be divided. It sounded promising, but at the end of '78 the end of punk was near.
64.Crass: Do they owe us a living (45 Crass '77)
The very first 45 by this unconventional punk band.; in fact the only real punk band fro the first days. From their anarcho-farm they did everything on their own: DIY worked! Only the distribution was organized by others, but after Small Wonder released their first album "Feeding of the 5000" without the blasphemous "Reality Asylum", Crass managed to go on until the year of Orwell 1984 as they promised in the beginning. Visionairs? I once had an interesting chat with bass player Pete Wright at a workshop in Belgium in 1984 and he really knew what he was talking about; no hollow statements you constantly could hear. They were the real voice of England's punk.
65.The Undertones: Male model (LP Sire '79)
From their debut album and their best non-45 track. As most of their songs written by the future That Petrol Emotion brothers O'Neill (& Bradley). Singer Feargal Sharkey had a very distinctive voice, but had nothing to do with the compositions. Later he became a famous solo artist with songs as "You little thief" and as The Assembly with "Never never".
66.Dead Kennedys: Too drunk to fuck (45 Cherry Red '81)
No wonder a lot of distribution companies refused to sell a record with such a title. And maybe we should be grateful. Jello Biafra started his own label Alternative Tentacles and also began his war against censorship (together with people like Zappa). Several cover versions include one called "Too fucked to drink" by The Sidekicks.
67.UK Subs: Stranglehold (45 Gem '79)
Charlie Harper was already 'an old fart' when he started this high-energy London-based punk band. Their albums are alphabetical: first albums were "Another kind of tension", "Brand new age", "Crash course", ... and now they reached the letter P. This first 45 is a typical example of their sound and has become a punk classic.
68.Peter & The Test Tube Babies: Banned from the pub (45 No Future '81)
Ever been banned from a pub just because you looked differently or were wearing "wrong" clothes? There isn't much known about this band. This song was also released on the compilation "Punk and disorderly", one of the best samplers of early '80s British punk.
69.The Lurkers: Freakshow (45 Beggars Banquet '77)
Above all they were a singles band who were the early start of a new but influential English record label: Beggars Banquet. "Shadow" and "Freakshow" were the first two 45s on that label. Its first 10 releases feature another 2 Lurkers singles including their best known "Ain't got a clue" . Oh, the producer is well known Steve Lillywhite.
70.The Cortinas: Fascist dictator (45 Step Forward '77)
Two of their 45s are classic '77 punk rock. The other being "Defiant pose", but this one is their best. These 5 youngters didn't last long, but still they are considered as one of the most important London punk bands.
71.The Subway Sect: Ambition (45 Rough Trade '78)
Singer Vic Godard, a Cole Porter fan (!), never could get a hold on the band. It dissolved after one 45 and an unreleased album. Also 2 John Peel sessions were recorded. A second 45 was released: "Ambition". It's pop punk in the best Buzzcocks tradition. In '85 The Jesus & Marcy Chain covered it on a B-side.
72.The Damned: Neat neat neat (45 Stiff '77)
Great follow up for "New rose". Vanian, Scabies and Sensible are the best known members of The Damned, but it was Brian James who wrote the band's best material for their first two albums. When he left , The Damned weren't the same anymore. He briefly joined Chelsea and then The Lords Of The New Church together with Stiv Bators. This song is the opener for their first album "Damned Damned Damned".
73.Ramones: Judy is a punk (LP Sire '76)
The Ramones have written so many songs about girls (remember Sheena, Suzy, Heidi, ...), but it's strange that Judy is a punk. The lyrics go "Jackie is a punk, Judy is a runt,...". A few years later the flip of the 45 release of "I wanna be sedated" contains "The return of Jackie and Judy". Anyway it's one of the most outstanding tracks on their second album "Leave home".
74.Buzzcocks: Fast cars (LP United Artists '78)
The opening track for their first album "Another music in a different kitchen". Howard Devoto already left to form Magazine before the first single was released, but his spirit is everpresent on the Buzzcocks' first album which lacks the power of their singles. But the exception is this "Fast cars" which would have been perfect for a 45 release.
75.The Sex Pistols: Holidays in the sun (45 Virgin '77)
The picture cover of the Sex Pistols' fourth single was a version of a summer holiday publication by a Belgian Travel Agency and a law suit against Virgin Records prohibited any further sale of the artwork. Still about 5000 copies were sold already. Together with Dead Kennedys' "Holiday in Cambodia" my fave holiday record.
76.Dead Kennedys: Nazi punks fuck off (45 Alternative Tentacles '81)
And two years earlier there was "Sid did it" by Nazis Against Fascism, a cash-in band formed by a former Vibrator. Jello Biafra released this 45 on his own Alternative Tentacles label through Subterranean Records. It's in a plastic sleeve with printed lyrics and contains a cloth showing a crossed swastika. The Bromley Contingent (early Sex Pistols fans) wore Swastikas to shock, but by the end of the 70s a part of the punk scene swore by the swastika. Biafra sings that nazi punks are the same as fascist cops and then it's amazing that a Belgian punk band were singing the same words already in 1977, namely The Kids with "Fascist cops".
77.Anti Pasti: No government (45 Rondelet '81)
Like rock'n'roll songs deal with girls and cars, punk rock songs had a tendency to be anti-establishment. "No government" is the perfect example of this attitude, more like a pose to most of the bands. It's like hippy and anti-Vietnam. I don't know if Anti-Pasti were political or just poseurs, but this 45 is a killer release.
78.Black Flag: Six pack (45 SST '81)
Henry Garfield left Washington DC based S.O.A. and became Black Flag's new singer as Henry Rollins. First album with Rollins was "Damaged", a classic American punk album, in fact the start of hardcore in 1981. Two songs have always been my fave Black Flag songs and they are both on "Damaged". One being "Rise above" and the other this "Six pack" which still remains their best known here in Belgium, the land of the 1000 beers.
79.The Plasmatics: Butcher baby (45 Vice Squad '79)
First released on Vice Squad and then also on Stiff Records Butcher Baby has always been their most recognizable song. Wendy O. Williams, topless and pink painted hairdo, sings and handles the chainsaw while a blue haired Mohican demolishes his guitar and cars are exploding on stage. Visually great and their first album is super: "New hope for the wretched" containing other delights such as "Tight black pants", "Dreamlover" and "Test tude babies". Wendy committed suicide in the late 90s.
80.Buzzcocks: I don't know what to do with my life (LP United Artists '80)
Buzzcocks were a singles band, but nevertheless they recorded some fine album tracks as well. Their third album "A different kind of tension" contains such outstanding tracks: "I believe", "You say you don't love me" and this one. Its lyrics are amongst the finest Pete Shelley ever wrote. They were labeled the Beatles of Punk. Too bad that Devoto left in their early days, for the Devoto-Shelley tandem equals the early Lennon-McCartney.
81.The Clash: Career opportunities (LP CBS '77)
Joe Strummer needed career opportunities and he became a rock star. What a career! From pub rock loser to punk rebellion to rock star. At least he returned to earth whilst he replaced Shane McGowan with The Pogues. Career Opportunities is from their first album and should've been granted a single release.
82.Ramones: Beat on the brat (LP Sire '76)
"... with a baseball bat. Oh yeah!" From their first album less than 30 minutes long. Together with "Blitzkrieg bop" one of the most covered Ramones songs; my favourite version is the one Thee Mighty Caesars did.
83.The Kids: No monarchy (45 Fontana '78)
A fave topic amongst British punk rockers was their queen. Also here in Belgium punks were against the monarchy. This 45 A-side also appeared on their second album "Naughty Kids" which included songs like "Jesus Christ didn't exist", "Razor blade for sale" and "Dead industry". The Kids are still performing and playing all these songs over and over again in front of an audience of yesteryear punks and their new breed of punk kids.
84.Slaughter & The Dogs: Runaway (45 This record Co. '79)
85.The Hard-Ons: School days (LP '82)
86.Conflict: Conflict (45 Crass '82)
87.Crass: Nagasaki nightmare (45 Crass '80)
88.Zounds: War (45 Crass '80)
89.Too Much: Photo photo (45 EMI Pathé '78)
90.Dead Kennedys: Terminal preppie (LP Alternative Tentacles '82)
91.Television Personalities: Part time punks (45 King's Road '78)
This recording featured only Dan and Russ.The other two decided not to show up for this recording. Listen very carefully to the lyrics; you may learn a lot, certainly those so-called weekend punkers. In 1981 their debut album "And don't the kids just love it" was released, a prime example of neo-psychedelica like only Syd Barrett could do, but this song ain't no fucking flower power.
92.The Partisans: Police story (45 No Future '81)
93.Johnny Moped: Incendiary device (45 Chiswick '77)
94.Slaughter & The Dogs: Boston babies (LP Decca '78)
95.The Exploited: Dead cities (45 Secret '81)
96.Sid Vicious: My way (45 Virgin '78)
97.Crass: Nineteen eighty bore (LP Crass '82)
98.Chaos UK: 4 minute warning (45 Riot City '81)
99.Motörhead: Ace of spades (45 Bronze '80)
This ain't no punk rock in se, but it is as violent, as primitive, as atypical for the hit parade lovers that it is a perfect inclusion in this list. Lemmy was more punk than Joe Strummer, Johnny Rotten or Billy Idol ever were.
100.The P.I.G.Z.: Bloody Belgium (45 JW's '78)