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Saturday, 22 October 2016

45RPM: #115 - New Rose - The Damned (1976)

New Rose / Help - The Damned
Stiff Records (BUY 6)
Produced by Nick Lowe
Released 22nd October 1976
UK Chart #81

The Damned
    Dave Vanian – singer
    Brian James – guitar
    Captain Sensible – bass guitar
    Rat Scabies – drums

Today was the day way back in 1976 when the very first UK Punk Rock Single saw the light of day.

It wasn't to be The Sex Pistols or The Clash but The Damned to whom the honour fell, and what a Debut Single it was! Two minutes and thirty nine seconds of full on, in your face rock and roll like you hadn't heard it before! The drums pounding like an out of control express train. Bass thundering like a stampede of horses on the high street. Guitar played at a speed that would slay the faint of heart. Vocals screeching out above the cacopohny of musical sound.

You could hear those opening words, "Is she really going out with him?", on a 1960s record by The Shangri-Las and you wouldn't bat an eyelid. Here the words of Dave Vanian are a call to a new kind of sound that begins with Rat Scabies bashing away on his kit like this  would be the only record the band would ever make and he had to give his all.

This little masterpiece penned by guitarist Brian James was recorded in a day, according Rat Scabies with another day for mixing by house producer for Stiff Records (and legend in his own right) Nick Lowe.

Captain Sensible said the he had wanted to put I Fall out as the first single. Sensible later said that "I Fall" would have been "even more gobsmacking because it's so snotty and fast".

Flip the record over and The Damned show that the music of The Beatles is not something to be confined to the 1960s or re-runs at Christmas time of Fab Four Movies. The original clocks in at two minutes and eighteen seconds. The Damned version, out to break the land speed record clocks in at a respectable one minute and forty two seconds! I sometimes wonder what Lennon and McCartney made of it all!

Whilst in 1976 a couple of other Punk singles would surface, the majority began appearing the following year in 1977. By then The Damned would also be the first UK Punk band to have released an album (Damned Damned Damned) and also a second single (Neat Neat Neat).

Many singles from that time are maybe forgotten in some quarters but you always remember the first one!

Happy 40th Birthday New Rose!
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