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!

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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

Bikini Kill – Revolution style girl now (Epic 2017 #022)

The Epic 2017 Project #022: 170122

Bikini Kill – Revolution Style Girl Now (1991)

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Bikini Kill was an American punk rock band formed in Olympia, Washington, in October 1990. The group consisted of singer and songwriter Kathleen Hanna, guitarist Billy Karren, bassist Kathi Wilcox, and drummer Tobi Vail. The band is widely considered to be the pioneer of the riot grrrl movement, and was known for its radical feminist lyrics and fiery performances. Their music is characteristically abrasive and hardcore-influenced. After two full-length albums, several EPs and two compilations, they disbanded in 1997.

The Vibrators – Troops of Tomorrow (Leaping Ahead #297)

Leaping Ahead Project 2016 #297: 161023

[Song from a band beginning with V]

Taken from the 1978 album ‘V2’ this was released as a single but failed to get into the top 40, the top 100 or the top anything for that matter.

The Vibrators, despite three initial (in my opinion) subliminal albums – ‘Pure Mania’ (1977), ‘V2’ (1978) and ‘Batteries Included’ (1980) – have sadly entered the annuls of history as another ‘one hit wonder band; ‘Automatic Lover’ earned the band a Top of the Pops appearance and got into the top 10. But the far better follow-up ‘Judy says she’s gonna knock you in the head tonight’ only made it to No.70. ‘Troops of Tomorrow’ though didn’t even chart despite considerable airplay at the time, most notably on the John Peel show.

The Vibrators continued to trade with a string of albums well into the 1990’s, none of which got anywhere. And they still tour today albeit with only one original member – drummer John ‘Eddie’ Edwards. Something of a sad testament to the fondly remembered early years.

The Rezillos – Destination Venus (Leaping Ahead #256)

Leaping Ahead Project 2016 #256: 160912

[a punk song]

Formed in Edinburgh in 1976 and emerging at the same time as other bands in the punk rock movement, the Rezillos did not share the nihilism or social commentary of their contemporaries, but instead took a more light-hearted approach to their songs, preferring to describe themselves at the time as “a New Wave beat group”. Their songs are heavily influenced by 1950s rock and roll, 1960s English beat music and garage rock, early 1970s glam rock, and recurring lyrical themes of science fiction and B movies, influences that mirrored those of US bands the Cramps, the B-52s, and X who were starting out at the same time. The Rezillos’ biggest hit was the UK Top 20 single “Top of the Pops” in 1978, ‘Destination Venus’ was also released in 1978 but only made it to No.43 in the UK charts.

Sex Pistols – Pretty Vacant (Leaping Ahead #254)

Leaping Ahead Project 2016 #254: 160910

[Song from a band beginning with S]

Released on 1 July 1977 as the band’s third single, ‘Pretty Vacant’ later featured on “Never mind the Bollocks” – the band’s only album, released that same year. It reached number 6 on the UK Singles Chart and marked the band’s first appearance on BBC’s ‘Top of the Pops’. According to bassist Glen Matlock, the song’s main riff was inspired by hearing “S.O.S.” by ABBA.