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Saturday, 26 November 2016

Let The Day Begin...Let The Day Start!: Day 331 - Generation X (#2)

 Perfect Hits 1975-1981 - Generation X
Released 1991

There are a number of links below, feel free to click on them to listen to more music from Generation X.

Singles featured on Perfect Hits 1975-1981
UK Chart #36

*Version on the album is from the John Peel Session 20th April 1977.

   1977 – Wild Youth b/w Wild Dub 
Did Not Chart

    1978 – Ready Steady Go b/w No No No 
UK No. 47

B-Side not on the album

    1978 – King Rocker b/w Gimme Some Truth 
UK No. 11

    1980 – Dancing with Myself b/w Ugly Rash
UK No. 62

12" included Loopy Dub and Ugly Dub on the B-Side both written by Billy Idol, Tony James and Terry Chimes.

B-Side not on the album

Dancing By Myself was the also the Debut Solo Single for Billy Idol in 1981 and a slightly longer version appeared on the Don't Stop EP both credited to Billy Idol and Gen X

When it was re-issued in 1982 it was simply credited to Billy Idol (though Tony James' writing credit was still present).

New Order (Save My Life) 
1977 at The Marquee 
Unreleased track that appeared on Perfect Hits 1975-1981

Perfect Hits 1975-1981 was the second "Best of" by Generation X released by their label Chrysalis

The first, The Best of Generation X, had been released in 1985 four years after the band had split and no doubt to cash in on the solo success of Billy Idol. It was actually quite a shoddily put together album and whoever was responsible forgot to add Your Generation (their first single and first minor hit). Four songs from the Debut Album, five from Valley of The Dolls, and and 3 from Kiss Me Deadly the final album plus Wild Youth single made up the album.

The label spared no expense with the artwork either using the album cover from the Debut Album as the main part of the front cover!

So when Perfect Hits 1975-1981 came along on CD it was with a certain amount of skeptism.

The Cover art is actually front cover of the 1965 book from which the band took their name.

As a whole I actually really like this Compilation, it's way much better than the 1985 one as whoever was responsible for putting it together did so with a much more careful ear and included some of the band's best songs (though clearly the absence of the great B-Side No No No might beg to differ!). But it does have a few issues.

Firstly the Title of the album Perfect Hits 1975-1981, it doesn't take a genius to know that Generation X did not actually exist in 1975! They formed in late 1976 after Idol, James and Towe had departed Chelsea leaving Gene October without a band! Secondly, the Perfect Hits is a bit of a shady representation of what is on offer because there are actually only four "hits" among the fifteen tracks!

For me one of the big draws to the album was the inclusion of New Order (Save My Life as it is sometimes known - see video above). This song hadn't been on any of the releases by the band before but was a song that dated back as early as 1977. The other unreleased track was a John Peel Session version of Day By Day that was recorded as part of their Debut Session for the BBC

There would be nothing from the shelved 1979 "third album", we would have to wait another 7 years for that to finally appear (it was released by German label Empty Records in 1998 as K.M.D. Sweet Revenge).

Once you get past some of the obvious flaws in the album and the absence of a track here and there that would have been better served by its inclusion you have a full on album of delights that includes a couple of masterful tracks from the Debut (Kiss Me Deadly, Youth Youth Youth, and One Hundred Punks Rule), both A & B Side of Wild Youth (Wild Dub being a really landmark track of theirs I reckon), one track from Valley of the Dolls (English Dream), the singles Your Generation, Ready Steady Go, King Rocker (and B-Side Gimmie Some Truth), and Dancing With Myself (though the other two tracks from the Gen X Kiss Me Deadly album - Untouchables and Triumph are both good but really are the weakest songs out of the 15 tracks I think) and the already mentioned unreleased tracks.

These types of compilations don't always please everyone but there's enough on this one, despite it's flaws, to warrant a recommendation for it from me.

Let The Day Begin...Let The Day Start!
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