The Punks, London 1979 by Janette Beckman
WHERE WERE YOU IN 1979?
VLR readers let us know what this epic year meant to them.
"’Five Star Rock ‘n’ Roll Petrol.’ Mods, punks and skinheads. I had ‘Too Much,Too Young’ and it was ‘Time For Action.’ Mates with a ‘King Rocker’ who I knew like the ‘Back of My Hand.’ ‘My Sharona’ was a ‘Duchess’ and all I wanted was to be ‘Happy Nowadays.’"
“I was 17 in 1979. I used to listen to ‘Machine Gun Etiquette’ by The Damned, ‘Inflammable Material’ by SLF, ‘Germ Free Adolescents by’ X-Ray Spex, The Rezillos, Penetration, The Ruts, The Lurkers, etc. Used to fall asleep listening to John Peel. There was always something quite good on Top Of The Pops!”
“The popularity of the single meant I could afford a new slice of youth culture every week. Punk continued with SLF, the Subs and the Upstarts. The charts had great singles from The Jam, Blondie, Squeeze and Ian Dury and the mod/ska scene was up and running too.”
“I was a spotty 14 year old daydreaming in class. Punk became new wave. Album ofthe year was ‘London Calling'. Single was ‘Boys Don't Cry'. And great new bands―Dead Kennedys, Joy Division, SLF and Skids. And 'Dancing Barefoot' and 'Eton Rifles' had me bouncing in my bedroom.”
“March 1979. Thursday night. TOTP. The usual crap. Wallop. Skids. ‘Into The Valley'. My life changed forever. I became a fan of Skids and music from that moment on. ‘Into the Valley’ ‘Masquerade', ‘When You're Young',‘Strange Town’, ‘Are 'Friends' Electric?’, ‘I Only Wanna Be With You'. THE BEST YEAR EVER.”
“1979! The greatest year for me. I discovered punk rock. John Peel’s show and his festive fifty was a great way to discover all these new bands. Despite some claims of punk's dead, nonsense! You could turn on TOTP and see Sham, Skids, Sid, Dickies, Upstarts, Damned, Ruts etc. All the movements around: Punk. Skins. New wave. Two-tone. Mod. Reggae. Metal. Even hippies still around.”
"1979 was really the year that 'rockabilly' became a teen cult. The music had been trickling out via Sun International reissues since the late 60's but was really the domain of older music collectors and those who frequented specialist and generally London rockin' clubs like the Royalty in Southgate. The young kids getting into rockabilly at those clubs were the subject of Matchbox's 'Rockabilly Rebel' but it was that song that let the general population of teenagers in on act. The explosion of interest in the genre worldwide after that 1979 single which was a hit all over the globe set up the environment for bands like The Stray Cats and the Polecats to score hits in the 1980's and the wider reissue of rockabilly rarities that has continued to this day.”
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