Tuesday, 15 November 2011

It's like punk happened

I made this list for a comment a couple of months ago but as I've seen it brought up in some places since, especially given the announcement BBC4 are continuing on to 1977, it may be worth bringing it to a proper audience. Although conventional British pop history has it that punk was born in 1976 and revolutionised the whole country the following year, it's a music press fallacy to some extent. There were no punk singles until late October 1976 and certainly it was something largely being chased up by a faction within the music press - the Sex Pistols were on the NME cover dated 2/10/76 but only as an adjunct to then-supposed fellow travellers Dr Feelgood, while in the first half of 1977 there were as many covers featuring Dolly Parton and Genesis as there were the Clash and Damned, while the five covers from July of that month, according to Wikipedia, mix 'Murder at a punk festival' and 'Anti-Punk violence' with Frankie Miller, Steve Harley and Nick Lowe. And when they did go for it they put the MC5 on the cover twice in seven weeks despite that band having been inactive for nearly five years.

In our little prime-time enclave certainly initially there was little appetite yet for getting pissed and destroying. The record buying public continued on their way unhindered - David Soul, Leo Sayer and Brotherhood Of Man all appear in the year's ten best selling singles - and given not so long before then punks were being seen as a credible threat to the national way of life it's not like TOTP was going to bend to their will, especially with the Clash refusing to appear, the Damned briefly fizzling out (Music For Pleasure got bad reviews and they split up for a year or so), the Buzzcocks either considered too independent (Spiral Scratch) or too banned (Orgasm Addict) and the BBC in general still unsure about which way this was all heading. 1978 and 1979 was very different in booking terms, but we'll get there in time.

As such, here's a cut out and keep guide to all the punk-affiliated TOTP appearances in 1977:

19/5/77 The Jam - In The City
26/5/77 The Stranglers - Go Buddy Go (the other half of the double A side that featured the banned Peaches)
14/7/77 The Saints - This Perfect Day; Sex Pistols - Pretty Vacant (video)
21/7/77 The Jam - All Around The World
4/8/77 Television - Prove It (don't wait up for this, as far as we know it's been wiped)
25/8/77 The Adverts - Gary Gilmore's Eyes
1/9/77 Elvis Costello - (The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes
15/9/77 Generation X - Your Generation,
22/9/77 The Stranglers - No More Heroes
27/10/77 Tom Robinson Band - 2-4-6-8 Motorway; Sex Pistols - Holiday In The SUn (under the credits)
10/11/77 Elvis Costello - Watching The Detectives
3/11/77 The Jam - The Modern World
8/12/77 The Banned - Little Girl (already onto the cash-ins, here members of prog third-raters Gryphon chancing it)


Mondo said...

I'll swap you this, a few from when Hallmark's budget TOTP albums had to buckle to the punk pound.

Bondage hits at budget prices - here and here

Hyperlink Code

Arthur Nibble said...

“1978 and 1979 was very different in booking terms, but we'll get there in time” – really hope so, but let’s not count our chickens just yet!

I could never understand the BBC - on the one hand they were quite happy to play "Peaches" (with 'Shit' and 'Bummer' amongst its lyrics) in full form on daytime Radio 1, yet they clipped the TOTP chart rundown play of "Something Better Change" immediately before the line 'Stick my fingers right up your nose' and segued into The Dooleys!

Neil Barker said...

Are you sure they played "Peaches" uncensored during the day? The radio edit replaces "oh shit" with "oh no" and "bummer" with "summer" (again).

ullapoolharbour said...

Aren't the Boomtown Rats 1977 classified as "punk-affiliated", if Elvis Costello and Tom Robinson are? I'm pretty sure I remember "Mary of the fourth form" being on.

Arthur Nibble said...

I'm pretty certain at least a couple of times the uncensored version of "Peaches" slipped through the net. Not quite as bad as the 16-f's Rage Against The machine incident!

As for 'Mary of the Fourth Form', I seem to recall that was on one TOTP edition despite being in the same position as the previous week, somewhere about number 16. Mind you, that was probably in 1980. The Rats' classic "She's So Modern" contains the line 'she's so 1970's' but the song become dated very quickly becuase it was released very close to the end of the decade!

Simon said...

They were on quite a bit, in fact - Looking After Number 1 25/8, 8/9 (latter wiped) and 22/9, Mary Of The 4th Form 17/11 and 1/12. I decided they kind of slipped through the gaps of what went around punk circles (and then included The Banned as an example of how quickly the cashing in arrived); similarly Jonathan Richman, who's danced to twice by Legs & Co.

Anonymous said...

That was the great thing about punk, it hardly touched the mainstream at all. Even into the eighties counterculture, I can only think of half a dozen times that the Smiths were on TV, and much of that was on channel 4...

Neil Barker said...

No Eddie & The Rods either?

The Smiths made 10 TOTP studio appearances by the way.

Neil Barker said...

Obviously I meant Eddie & The Hot Rods, though they were just Rods for one single (their biggest hit!) of course. More pub-rock veering into new wave though I suppose.

Simon said...

Again, questionable where in punk they actually stood, especially as the Pistols' first NME press came by smashing up their gear during a support slot. For the record: I Might Be Lying 21/4, Do Anything You Wanna Do 11/8 and 25/8.

Anonymous said...

10? I can only remember a few:

This Charming Man
What Difference Does it Make?
Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now
William, It was Really Nothing
They showed the video to Panic, albeit edited. Then after that I can remember Shoplifters of the World Unite and Sheila Take a Bow.

It could be that they made repeat appearances on the above though, bumping it up to 10...

Simon said...

Ten studio appearances:

This Charming Man 24/11/83
What Difference Does It Make? 26/1/84
What Difference Does It Make? 9/2/84
Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now 31/5/84
Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now 13/6/84
William It Was Really Nothing 30/8/84
How Soon Is Now 14/2/85 (I didn't know about this either - here it is)
The Boy With The Thorn In His Side 10/10/85
Shoplifters Of The World Unite 5/2/87
Sheila Take A Bow 23/4/87

Technically eleven if you count Marr, Rourke, Joyce and Sandie Shaw's Hand In Glove (26/4/84)

Neil Barker said...

I would say the Boomtown Rats were more 'punk' than Tom Robinson but that's just my opinion I suppose. I was a big Rats fan when I was 5 so to me they were punk! By the way, I take it you have noticed the mistakes in your punk list from August to October, unless it was deliberate :-)

Simon said...

Um, yes. Suffice to say people will now have to guess what that mistake was.

Anonymous said...

How Soon is Now should have been a massive hit - top 5 certainly...

Grk! said...

I wouldn't call the first Gryphon album third-rate. Crumhorns! Also, their Dave Oberlé guested on Wire's 'Pink Flag' LP.

I remember that Hallmark TOTP album with "Gary Gilmore's Eyes" on it lurking around our house back in '79.