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Sex Pistols, Clash and Motörhead covered Celtic folk style by Vyvyan from ‘The Young Ones’
01.30.2014
06:25 am

Topics:
Amusing
Music
Punk
Television

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Dangerous Minds has checked in on English actor/comedian/musician Adrian Edmondson before, to talk about The Idiot Bastard Band, his group with Bonzo Dog/Monty Python habitué Neil Innes, and his beloved BBC comedy The Young Ones, on which he played the insane and violent postcard-punker archetype Vyvyan Basterd. But we’ve only given passing mention to his fine band The Bad Shepherds, and that’s just absurd. The band’s specialty is Celtic folk covers of classic punk, though songs like Elvis Costello’s “Shipbuilding” and Kraftwerk’s “The Model” have found their way into the repertoire. They’ve released three albums worth of such interpretations, 2009’s Yan, Tyan, Tethera, Methera!, 2010’s By Hook Or By Crook and last year’s Mud, Blood & Beer.
 

 
Given Edmondson’s history in comedy, you could be forgiven for assuming this was a joke band, an inversion of the tired old novelty punk covers trip. But before you leap to conclude that, hear Edmondson out in these excerpts from an excellent recent interview with Outline Online

The whole mechanic of taking on cover songs is a huge mantle for you to take on; has there ever been a song that’s been too difficult, that’s wriggled away from you, that can’t be tamed?

Oh, hundreds of ‘em. Loads of ‘em. Yeah, we try loads of stuff and what we do probably represents about a quarter of what we try to do. It’s not that we don’t like the ones that don’t work, it’s just we haven’t found a way of doing it. We generally take the songs completely to pieces and then put them back together again without thinking about the original and try and find instrumentation for them. Primarily they fall down on lyrics because I’m a middle-aged man and they’ve got to suit my age, and most folk and most punk songs surprisingly do because they’re surprisingly adult in content, most of the punk canon, y’know. They were written by people who were really thinking; they’re not just solipsistic, selfish kind of ‘ooh, I’m in love, I’m not in love’ songs. They’re about social commentary and social protest and things like that and it’s very exciting. But some songs, for example, we’ve tried a few songs by The Damned and none of them worked because they’re all – and I don’t mean this to deride The Damned but they’re all just a bit childish when you take them to bits and you read the lyrics without thinking about what the music’s about. It just doesn’t work. It doesn’t go anywhere. We tried moving up the years as well thinking there must be a load of stuff in the 80s with Tears for Fears and OMD and stuff like that, so we scoured through those and tried to work on that and again, that kinda falls short, lyrically. It’s too childish. I mean, they’re brilliant, original things but they don’t fit the ethos of our band; they don’t become folk songs.

What is it about those genres that seem to lend themselves so well?


Because they’re forgotten songs and people all imagine that that sort of era is full of jumping up and down, shouting and spitting and it didn’t mean anything apart from anger in the performance. They’re disastrously wrong; they’re some of the most complex songs. The idea that all punk songs are three-chord wonders is completely erroneous. There are vastly complicated chord sequences and tuning in some of the songs we play.

 

The Sex Pistols’ “Anarchy In The U.K.”
 

The Clash’s “London Calling”

After the jump, Motörhead’s “Ace Of Spades” and more…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
The Incredible Mister Biggs: Train Robber, Sex Pistol, Ronnie Biggs dead at 84
12.18.2013
09:07 am

Topics:
Movies
Music
Punk
R.I.P.

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ronnie biggs
 
By the time of the U.K.‘s Great Train Robbery in 1963, train robbing had already passed more or less into quaintness. But quaintness did nothing to deter 15 men from stopping a train in Buckinghamshire and hauling in what would be equivalent to over $7 million USD today. Several of the robbers were sentenced to a rather harsh 30 years in prison, including Ronnie Biggs, who, though not the caper’s ringleader, achieved the gang’s greatest notoriety by escaping from prison less than a year and a half into his sentence, fleeing to France for appearance-altering plastic surgery, and eventually living openly as a fugitive in Brazil, who would not extradite him to the U.K.

Then, in 1978, at age 49, he became a punk singer.
 
biggs 7
 
Julien Temple’s preposterous and incoherent Sex Pistols film The Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle brought that band—by then halved to just drummer Paul Cook and guitarist Steve Jones—to Rio de Janeiro, where they met up with Biggs and with him recorded “No One Is Innocent” and “Belsen Was A Gas.” A ridiculous but very, very fun scene in the film shows the band, with Biggs as their new singer, performing “Innocent” with bass player/Nazi fugitive Martin Bormann—actually an actor. One conceit of the film had it that rather than dying in 1945, Bormann escaped to Brazil. And joined The Sex Pistols. Did I mention preposterous?
 

 
Biggs was no newbie to music, though—he’d already participated in the creation of a jazz album in 1974! The collaboration with Bruce Henry was titled Mailbag Blues, and the album finally saw release in 2004. Per Bruce Henry via whatmusic.com:

Mailbag Blues was written over a couple months’ period ... with Ronnie at our side telling us his story and us breaking it down into events that we most related to musically. The songs are structured as a soundtrack, each one telling us part of a story and leading on to the next. When we went into the studio to record, we had the whole album pretty well defined, but we left a lot of room for individual improvisation, as was the style in 1974.

The recording took place in a very small room, on a four track Ampex Tape Recorder. Everybody played together, and we only used playback on one or two tracks for additional percussion. We were so young and eager back then, and we took ourselves so seriously, that we wouldn’t let Ronnie sing, which is too bad because he had a terrible voice but the Sex Pistols did all right with it didn’t they?

 
mailbag blues
 

“London ‘63” from Mailbag Blues

Later, in 1991, German pin-up punks Die Toten Hosen tapped Biggs to sing “Carnival In Rio (Punk Was),” the lone original song on their covers/tribute album Learning English - Lesson One. For the b-side of the song’s single, he reprised his turn on “No One Is Innocent” and also covered The Equals’ classic “Police On My Back.”
 

 

Die Toten Hosen with Ronnie Biggs, “Police On My Back”

After years of ill health, including multiple strokes, Biggs surrendered to British authorities in 2001. He was promptly arrested, and confined to complete his original sentence. He was released, due to further deteriorating health, in 2009, and was able to contribute to the book The Great Train Robbery 50th Anniversary:1963-2013. His years of illness finally claimed his life today.

Rest in peace, Mister Biggs. Nobody can say you didn’t live an amazingly colorful life.
 

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Morrissey hates The Sex Pistols
07.02.2013
08:39 am

Topics:
History
Punk

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It has been said that everyone who bought a copy of The Velvet Underground & Nico went on to start a band. The same has been said about the attendees of the legendary Sex Pistols gig at the Manchester Lesser Free Trade Hall on June 4, 1976, which included future members of Joy Division/New Order, The Fall, A Certain Ratio, Simply Red, Buzzcocks/Magazine, Tony Wilson and producer Martin Hannett.

One punter who was not impressed, a then 17-year-old Steve Morrissey, who let his feelings be known in a letter to the editor of the NME. What an insufferable, supercilious brat he must’ve been! Turning his nose up at The Sex Pistols???

There’s an entire book about this concert and the seismic cultural repercussions it caused in it its wake, I Swear I Was There: The Gig That Changed The World by David Nolan and a TV doc with eyewitness accounts of this infamous gig:
 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
‘Ramones are Rubbish’: Morrissey’s thoughts on the Ramones, 1976

Morrissey’s snide record reviews: Moz dumps on Cyndi Lauper, The Psychedelic Furs and XTC, 1984

Via Boing Boing /Letters of Note

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
John Lydon’s handwritten rant to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, 1996
05.08.2013
07:25 am

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Amusing
Music

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John Lydon’s handwritten response to the U.S. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame regarding the induction of the Sex Pistols in 1996:

Next to the SEX-PISTOLS rock and roll and that hall of fame is a piss stain. Your museum. Urine in wine. Were not coming. Were not your monkey and so what? Fame at $25,000 if we paid for a table, or $15000 to squeak up in the gallery, goes to a non-profit organisation selling us a load of old famous. Congradulations. If you voted for us, hope you noted your reasons. Your anonymous as judges, but your still music industry people. Were not coming. Your not paying attention. Outside the shit-stem is a real SEX PISTOL

Via The World’s Best Ever and Letters of Note

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
The shop-keeper who unleashed a revolution: Documentary on Punk’s Artful Dodger Malcolm McLaren
04.30.2013
04:40 pm

Topics:
Advertising
Art
Music
Pop Culture
Punk
Unorthodox

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Malcolm McLaren unleashed the greatest revolution of the last quarter of the 20th century. This was in part because McLaren was really a shop-keeper, a haberdasher, a boutique owner who knew his market and, most importantly, knew how to sell product to the masses.

Unfortunately, when it came to music, the talent was more than just product, and McLaren regularly mis-used and manipulated the musical talent (New York Dolls, Sex Pistols, Adam and The Ants/Bow-Wow-Wow) for his own personal gain. It was the behavior of a man who couldn’t and didn’t trust anyone—perhaps because (as he claimed) he had been abandoned by his mother—an act of betrayal he never forgave. There is the story of how years later, McLaren was have said to have traveled on a London Underground train, only to find his mother in the same carriage. The pair sat opposite each other, with neither acknowledging the other’s presence, and each alighting at their separate stops.

McLaren was bewitching, relentless and always on the make. But for all his scams and incredible machinations, little is really known about the man himself. He re-wrote his biography so many times it is almost impossible to know what is the truth. He also carefully edited out those who had helped his success, and fabricated wonderful, picaresque tales of misadventure—-for example, the time he failed to have Nancy Spungen kidnapped, in a bid to remove her insidious influence over Sid Vicious.

In essence, Malcolm’s greatest talent was his own self-promotion—his unique role as a cultural PR man, who changed history. If there is anything to be learned from his particular type of genius, it is to make headlines out of even the worst situation. On his deathbed, Mclaren’s last words were said to have been: “Free Leonard Peltier.” As he had done in his life, McLaren had once again grabbed hold of someone else’s notoriety.
 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds

Superb documentary on Malcolm McLaren from 1984


 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Rock Snob Comedy: The Amish Sex Pistols!
04.03.2013
07:53 am

Topics:
Television

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Kevin Eldon has one of the most familiar faces on British television today, working on virtually ALL of the A-list comedy programs of the past decade and beyond (I’m Alan Partridge, Jam, Black Books, Spaced, Attention Scum, Brass Eye, Big Train, Nighty Night, Smack the Pony, Green Wing, Look Around You, Nathan Barley, Saxondale, The IT Crowd), but he’s never had his own show until now, titled It’s Kevin, and it’s really fucking good.

Also featuring Matt Berry and Peter Serafinowicz, never mind the modern tecnology, here’s the Amish Sex Pistols:
 

 
The infamous clip of the Sex Pistols swearing at TV host Bill Grundy on the Today program in 1976, below, so you can see how note for note perfect this inspired sketch truly is. Bravo!
 

 
Thank you kindly Mr. Steven Daly of New York City!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Los Punkers: Hilariously bad Spanish Sex Pistols cover versions, 1978
02.15.2013
12:57 pm

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Amusing
Music
Punk

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Rather than actually pay Virgin a licensing fee, el cheapo Spanish record label, Dial Discos hired “Los Punk Rockers” (rumored to be Spanish prog-rock band Asfalto) to cover the entirety of Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols. The point was to basically confuse music fans in post-Franco Spain into thinking that this was the real thing.

The Shit-Fi blog nominated Los Exitos de Sex Pistols for “the most shit-fi album of all time,” adding that it “simply does not get any stupider, stranger, more poorly played, funnier, or nigh-psychotic (and possibly psychedelic) than this record”

Los Exitos de Sex Pistols was obviously recorded in a flash, before the next trend could take hold. The musicians more-or-less learned the songs from Never Mind the Bollocks, but the singer must not have spoken much English, because his approximations of Johnny Rotten are complete nonsense. (Here are “Holidays in the Sun” and “Pretty Vacant”) Even when singing the song title, as in the chorus of “Seventeen,” he seems to be making words up: “I’m a lazy seven.”

He does have the snottiness down pat, though. The vocals are clearly the best part of the record, simply because they’re so hilariously terrible. The guitar sound is thin and fuzzy, quite unlike the multi-tracked wall of guitars on NMTB—actually, it’s a lot closer to what one associates today with DIY punk of the late 70s than the Pistols’ sound. Few punk sleeves are as iconic as that of NMTB, but this album’s sleeve does fit the music well. It’s dumb. The woman on the sleeve appears to be some random person a photographer pulled off the street and dressed in moderately “punk” duds.

Enjoy!
 

 
Via Vampire Blues and h/t WFMU

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Johnny Rotten plays his own records on Capital Radio, 1977
12.11.2012
02:15 pm

Topics:
Heroes
History
Punk

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image
 
Recorded at a moment in time when the young Mr. Rotten was routinely getting his head kicked in by skinheads and hassled by the police, this is probably my single favorite bit of punk rock audio ephemera (actually, it’s a tie with the infamous Slits college radio interview, but that’s another blog post…).

What am I talking about? A guest appearance by Johnny Rotten on the Capital Radio program of deep-voiced DJ Tommy Vance. Rotten/Lydon was invited to play records from his own collection and talk about them. He comes across as whip-smart, honest and refreshingly free from much—if any—social programming and religious brainwashing. He discusses the Sex Pistols, Malcolm McClaren (he calls him the fifth member of the band), being educated in a Catholic school he despised and his passionate love of music. There’s no put-on here or any hint of the deliberate obnoxiousness of later years.

Where did you go to school?

[sighs] This poxy Roman Catholic thing. All they done was teach me religion. Didn’t give a damn about your education though. That’s not important is it? Just as long as you go out being a priest.

Which you haven’t become.

Well no. That kind of forcing ideas on you like when you don’t want to know is bound to get the opposite reaction. They don’t let you work it out for yourselves. They tell you you should like it. And that’s why I hate schools. You’re not given a choice. It’s not free.

It’s an inevitable question, and a corny question, but can you think of any better system of educating people?

No I can’t [laugh], I just know that one’s not right. I wouldn’t dare, it’s out of my depth, I have nothing to do with that side of things. I haven’t been to university and studied all the right attitudes, so I don’t know. No I haven’t.

[fades in Doctor Alimantado - ‘Born For A Purpose ‘]

This is it, ‘Born For A Purpose’, right? Now this record, just after I got my brains kicked out, I went home and I played it and there’s a verse which goes, ‘If you have no reason for living, don’t determine my life’. Because the same thing happened to him. He got run over because he was a dread. Very true.

The music he plays is a revelation.  Can, some rare soul, Tim Buckley, Peter Hammill (he accuses Bowie of copping the Van Der Graaf Generator front man’s moves), Captain Beefheart (he plays “The Blimp”!), Nico, John Cale and of course, lots of reggae. When Rotten plays the dub b-side by Culture (the track with the lopping bass, barking dogs, crying babies and blaring car horns) you can hear the blueprint for the PiL sound that would come along just a few months later.

It must be said that for a 20-year-old he’s got astonishingly good taste in music and for that time period? Please! This really is an incredible thing to listen to. For the musical education alone, it’s great, but listening to the thoughts of this controversial, brilliant young man at the height of powers is a sublime pleasure.

It even contains the radio commercials from the broadcast. This has been making the rounds for years, but this version is clean and in real stereo, the best I’ve ever heard.

A transcript of the interview and a track listing can be found here.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
‘The Punk Rock Movie’: The Clash, The Pistols, The Banshees and more in Don Letts’ classic film
09.14.2012
05:03 pm

Topics:
Movies
Music
Pop Culture
Punk

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thepunkrockmovie_donletts
 
Filmmaker and musician, Don Letts was working as a DJ at the Roxy club in London in 1977 when he filmed most of the punk bands that appeared there with his Super 8 camera. Letts captured a glorious moment of musical history and its ensuing social, political and cultural revolution.

Letts decided he was going to make a film with his footage, and had sold his belongings to ensure he had enough film stock to record the bands that appeared night-after-night over a 3 month period. Eventually, he collated all of the footage into The Punk Rock Movie, which contained performances by the Sex Pistols, The Clash, Wayne County & the Electric Chairs, Generation X, Slaughter and the Dogs, The Slits, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Eater, Subway Sect, X-Ray Spex, Alternative TV and Johnny Thunders and The Heartbreakers. There was also backstage footage of certain bands, and Sid Vicious’ first appearance with the Sex Pistols, at The Screen On The Green cinema, April 3rd, 1977.
 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Sex Pistols and The Ramones as Hanna-Barbera cartoons
11.28.2011
08:37 am

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Art
Music

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Artist Dave Perillo says, “This what I thought a Hanna-Barbera cartoon about the Sex Pistols would’ve looked like if they made one in the 70’s…”

Below, Dave’s Hanna-Barbera Ramones illustration titled “Hey Ho…let’s go…”
 

 
(via Boing Boing)

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Sex Pistols vs Madonna
09.26.2011
12:14 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Music
Pop Culture
Punk

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image
 
Rather grateful to ace musician Fleabag Jones (aka Woody Mcmilan) for reminding me how well this mash-up between the Sex Pistols and Madonna works.

Called “Ray of Gob” (“Ray of Light” / “Pretty Vacant” / “God Save The Queen”), it was created by Mark Vidier, the Watford based DJ who has produced a whole jukebox of bootleg mash-ups via his Go home Productions.

“Ray of Gob” is rather special as it was the one which “broke the camel’s back” and allowed Mark to give up the day-job in February 2003. Still sounds as good today.
 

 
With thanks to Woody Mcmillan
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Punk: The Sex Pistols First TV Documentary from 1976
09.22.2011
02:41 pm

Topics:
Heroes
History
Music
Pop Culture
Punk
Television

Tags:

image
 
British journalist and TV presenter, Janet Street-Porter has always had a finger on the pulse, been ahead of the curve, you know, has always been able to avoid a cliche. Her career as a TV journalist in the 1970s put most of her contemporaries to shame, as she brilliantly explored subjects and cultural trends the mainstream decidedly ignored. The week Chicago were at number one in the UK’s Top 40, with the vomit-inducing “If You Leave Me Now”, dear Janet was out making the first TV documentary on The Sex Pistols, The Clash and Punk Rock.

Broadcast on 22 November 1976 as part of The London Weekend Show, Janet’s film “Punk” featured interviews The Sex Pistols (still with Glen Matlock), a band called Clash (before they added a ‘The’) and Siouxsie Sioux. The Pistols also perform “Pretty Vacant”, “Submission”, “Anarchy in the UK” and “No Fun”.

There’s some drop-out, and the video tape is a bit mashed at the start, but otherwise, this is an important moment in pop culture history.
 

 
Previously on DM

Post-Pistols, pre PiL: John Lydon interview, 1978


How ‘Network 7’ televised a Revolution


 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Life First, Money Second: John Lydon interview from 1990
09.21.2011
03:49 pm

Topics:
Heroes
Music
Punk
Television

Tags:

image
 
John Lydon must get fed up being asked the same olde questions year-after-year by interviewers who should know better. Just see how many interviews over the past thirty years have kicked-off with rumors of a Sex Pistols reunion, as if Lydon has done nothing since the summer of 1977, and then ask whether he’s still Punk and why isn’t PiL any good?

Understandable, therefore, that Lydon is often contemptuous of those who pose such dumb questions.

That said, I sometimes think Lydon’s aggressive behavior stems from a genuine shyness, as he displays a set of tics and mannerisms consistent form his first appearance on Bill Grundy’s infamous swearfest. You’ll recognize them - the mumbling, the staring, the dismissal of questions with the word “Next” - all used to deflect the more personal probing. Oo-er.

We can see examples of both here in this short interview with Jonathan Ross, from his chatshow The Last Resort in 1990.

It begins with Lydon antsy as Ross reels off cue card questions about The Sex Pistols. Lydon is dismissive, which is interesting in light of the Pistols reunion later in the decade.

When questioned about the rumors of a reunion for £6million, Lydon says he wishes such offers would be given to him direct. Even so, he wouldn’t reform the Sex Pistols at any price.

“I would never repeat myself. And I think everybody knows that about me. You may not like me, but at least I am damned honest.”

He is harsh on Sid Vicious, defending his comments as honesty.

“When you start messing with heroin, you’re kissing goodbye to your life, and good riddance too.”

Fair commnent, but I tend to agree with Oscar Wilde that sometimes honesty is not the best policy, and the truth is never simple.

As for Malcolm McLaren he is dissmissed as “an imitation alcoholic”.

He lightens up about his brief acting career in the Harvey Keitel film Order of Death, going on to tell how he was offered “the ratty little git” in Drugstore Cowboy, a part he would have taken but couldn’t because of commitments. Shame for it would have been interesting casting.

The end cuts off just as Lydon gives a 4-word summing up:

“Life first. Money second.”

A nice thought, which reminded me of Picasso’s line about wealth: how it was always best to be rich enough to live poor. O, that we should be so lucky.
 

 
Bonus clip of Lydon interviewed by Margenta Devine from Network 7, from 1987, where the same questions about Sex Pistols, Punk and what he’s been up to all come to the fore. Lydon sticks to his honesty and having fun routine.
 

 
Bonus interview with Lydon from ‘Network 7’ in 1987, after the jump…
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Never Mind the Bhangra Here’s Opium Jukebox
07.25.2011
03:44 pm

Topics:
Music

Tags:

image
 
Formed by Martin Atkins (ex-Public Image Ltd drummer, and member of Killing Joke, Ministry and PIgface), Opium Jukebox are a Bhangra tribute band, who released some rather stonking cover albums of the Sex Pistols (Never Mind the Bhangra Here’s Opium Jukebox), The Rolling Stones (Sticky Bhangra), Black Sabbath (Bhangra Bloody Bhangra), and a rather fab industrial compilation of various artistes including Nirvana, Soft Cell and Gary Numan, Music to Download Pornography By.

Well worth getting acquainted with, so here’s a small selection of their covers:
 

“Anarchy in the UK” - Opium Jukebox
 

“God Save the Queen” - Opium Jukebox
 

“Paint it Black” - Opium Jukebox
 

“Iron Man” - Opium Jukebox
 
With thanks to Marcel Lechump
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
The Best of ‘So It Goes’: Clash, Sex Pistols, Iggy, The Fall, Joy Division and more
07.01.2011
10:09 am

Topics:
History
Music
Punk

Tags:


 
This Channel 4 UK program from the mid-80s compiles some incredible performances culled from Tony Wilson’s late 70s Granada TV series, So It Goes. Includes the Sex Pistols, The Clash, Buzzcocks, Iggy Pop (with horsetail sticking out of his ass and saying “fucking” on 70s TV), The Fall, The Jam, Elvis Costello, Blondie, Penetration, Wreckless Eric, Ian Dury, Tom Robinson, Magazine, John Cooper Clarke, XTC, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Sham 69 and ending with the classic clip of Joy Division performing “Shadow Play.” Many of the groups represented here were making their TV debuts on So It Goes, a regional tea-time program.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
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