The Damned – Strawberries (The ’59) #149

The ’59 2018 #149: 180529

The Damned – Strawberries (1982)

Strawberries is the fifth studio album by the Damned. It was released in October 1982 on the Bronze record label.

Limited editions included a strawberry-scented lyric insert. The album reached No. 15 in the Official UK Album chart.

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The Clash (The ’59) #118

The ’59 2018 #118: 180428

The Clash (1977)

This year, Jem of Jemtunes, born in 1959, turns 59. So ‘The ’59’ celebrates 59 years of cracking tunes with a few albums from each year – 1959 through 2018. Currently we’re at year 19 – 1977.

The Clash is the debut studio album by English punk rock band the Clash. It was released on 8 April 1977, through CBS Records.

Most of the album was conceived on the 18th floor of a council high rise on London’s Harrow Road, in a flat that was rented by Mick Jones’s grandmother, who frequently went to see their live gigs. The album was recorded over three-weekend sessions at CBS Studio 3 in February 1977. It cost just £4000 to produce.

Never mind the bollocks here’s the Sex Pistols (The ’59) #117

The ’59 2018 #117: 180427

Never mind the bollocks here’s the Sex Pistols (1977)

This year, Jem of Jemtunes, born in 1959, turns 59. So ‘The ’59’ celebrates 59 years of cracking tunes with a few albums from each year – 1959 through 2018. Currently we’re at year 19 – 1977.

Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols is the only studio album from the Sex Pistols, released on 28 October 1977 by Virgin Records.

At the time of its release, the band was already extremely controversial, having sworn on live TV, been fired from two record labels, and been banned from playing live in most parts of England. The album’s title added to that controversy, with some people finding the word “bollocks” offensive. Many record stores refused to carry the album and some record charts refused to list the album, showing just a blank space instead.

Which all of course simply added to its popularity and took the album to the No.1 slot on the UK album charts within three days of its release.

Ramones (The ’59) #110

The ’59 2018 #110: 180420

Ramones (1976)

This year, Jem of Jemtunes, born in 1959, turns 59. So ‘The ’59’ celebrates 59 years of cracking tunes with a few albums from each year – 1959 through 2018. Currently we’re at year 18 – 1976.

Ramones is the debut studio album by American punk rock band the Ramones, released on April 23, 1976 by Sire Records.

Hit Parader editor Lisa Robinson saw the band at a gig in New York and subsequently wrote about them, at the same time contacting Danny Fields to suggest that he manage them. Fields agreed and convinced Craig Leon to produce Ramones, and the band recorded a demo for prospective record labels. Leon persuaded Sire president Seymour Stein to listen to the band perform, and he later offered the band a recording contract. The Ramones began recording in January 1976, needing only seven days and $6,400 to record the album. They used similar sound-output techniques to those of the Beatles and used advanced production methods by Leon.

Doing things on the cheap continued with the album cover. Sire Records paid only $125 for the front photo, which has since become one of the most imitated album covers.

After its release, the band promoted the album with two singles which failed to chart. They also began a US tour (but with two UK dates). But the debut only peaked at No. 111 on the US Billboard 200 and was unsuccessful commercially, though it received glowing reviews from reputed critics. Many later deemed it a highly influential record, and it has since received many accolades, such as the top spot on Spin magazine’s list of the “50 Most Essential Punk Records”.

Patti Smith – Horses (The ’59) #104

The ’59 2018 #104: 180414

Patti Smith – Horses (1975)

This year, Jem of Jemtunes, born in 1959, turns 59. So ‘The ’59’ celebrates 59 years of cracking tunes with a few albums from each year – 1959 through 2018. Currently we’re at year 17 – 1975

Horses was the debut studio album from Patti Smith, released on December 13, 1975, on Arista Records. Smith, a fixture of the then-burgeoning New York punk rock music scene, began recording the album with her band in 1975 after being signed to Arista Records, with John Cale enlisted to produce it. With its fusion of simplistic rock and roll structures and Smith’s freeform, Beat poetry-infused lyrics, Horses was met with widespread critical acclaim upon its initial release.

It’s since been viewed by critics as one of the greatest and most influential albums in the history of the American punk rock movement. Horses has also been cited as a key influence on a number of succeeding punk, post-punk, and alternative rock acts, including Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Smiths, R.E.M. and PJ Harvey.

The Vibrators – Pure Mania (Epic #347)

The Epic 2017 Project #347: 171213

The Vibrators – Pure Mania (1977)

Pure Mania was the debut album by the  Vibrators. It was released in 1977 on Epic Records and reached No. 49 in the UK Albums Chart. The song “Baby Baby” was released as a single.

Trouser Press writer Ira Robbins described the album as a “treasure trove of memorable ditties”. Allmusic’s Mark Deming said the album “isn’t purist’s punk, but it’s pure rock & roll, and there’s nothing wrong with that.”In his consumer guide for The Village Voice, critic Robert Christgau described the album as “good new-fashioned rock and roll at its wildest”

And track 5 on side 2 gave the band ‘Stiff Little Fingers’ their name!

Sex Pistols – Never mind the bollocks (Epic #275)

The Epic 2017 Project #275: 171002

The Sex Pistols – Never Mind the Bollocks (1977)

Never Mind the Bollocks Here’s the Sex Pistols was their only studio album. It was released just shy of 40 years ago on 28 October 1977 by Virgin Records.

At the time of its release, the band was already extremely controversial, having sworn on live TV, been fired from two record labels, and been banned from playing live in most parts of England. The album’s title added to that controversy, with some people finding the word “bollocks” offensive. Many record stores refused to carry the album and some record charts refused to list the album, showing just a blank space instead.

It was probably the best thing that could have happened as, fuelled by the mounting controversy,  advance album sales ensured that the album debuted at No.1 on the UK album charts a week after its release.

Just after its release though London police visited the city’s Virgin record store branches and told them they faced prosecution for indecency as stipulated by the 1899 Indecent Advertisements Act if they continued to display posters of the album cover in their windows. The displays were either toned down or removed. However, on 9 November 1977 the London Evening Standard carried the front page headline “Police Move in on Punk Disc Shops”, and reported how a Virgin Records shop manager in Nottingham was arrested for displaying the record after being warned to cover up the word “bollocks’. Chris Seale, the shop’s manager, “it would appear, willingly set himself up as a target, possibly at Branson’s behest”,  as he had apparently been visited by the police on four separate occasions and resumed displaying copies of the record in the store windows after they had left on each occasion.

After Seale’s arrest, Branson announced that he would cover the manager’s legal costs and hired Queen’s Counsel John Mortimer as defence. Meanwhile, advertisements for Never Mind the Bollocks appearing in music papers attempted to politicise the issue, showing newspaper headlines about Sex Pistols controversies that were underlined with the message “THE ALBUM WILL LAST. THE SLEEVE MAY NOT.”

The obscenity case was heard at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court on 24 November. Mortimer presented the case as a matter of police discrimination. During his cross-examination of the arresting officer, he asked why the newspapers The Guardian and Evening Standard (which had referred to the album’s name) had not been charged under the same act. When the overseeing magistrate inquired about his line of questioning, Mortimer stated that a double-standard was apparently at play, and that “bollocks” was only considered obscene when it appeared on the cover of a Sex Pistols album. The prosecutor conducted his cross-examination “as if the album itself, and not its lurid visage, was on trial for indecency”. Mortimer produced expert witnesses who were able to successfully demonstrate that the word “bollocks” was not obscene, and was actually a legitimate Old English term formerly used to refer to a priest, and which, in the context of the title, meant “nonsense”. The chairman of the hearing was forced to conclude:

Much as my colleagues and I wholeheartedly deplore the vulgar exploitation of the worst instincts of human nature for the purchases of commercial profits by both you and your company, we must reluctantly find you not guilty of each of the four charges