Thursday, July 20, 2017

Just Laugh It Off

Whether you got off on Be Bop Deluxe's live album, Live! In the Air Age,  released in July of 1977, depended on whether you thought the studio sheen was a benefit or hinderance to your enjoyment of their music. Recorded on the Modern Music tour, it was originally released as a two record set, one black vinyl, the other white vinyl.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Go and Do It!

On July 19, D-I-Y evangelists The Desperate Bicycles released their second self-released single, "The Medium Was Tedium", a song that seemed to be a response to the question the English punk rockers must have been asked the most: how did they make a record. The answer is in the refrain: "It was easy/It was cheap/Go and do it"! 

The drummer on the track was 14 years old.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Winter Is Here

On July 18, 1977 The Ramones followed up "Sheena is a Punk Rocker", a UK #22 hit,  with a new single, "Swallow My Pride" b/w "Pinhead". The new single would peak at #36, a number they'd fail to reach again until 1980 with "Baby, I Love You". Even the biggest Ramones fans might not know "Swallow My Pride" had ever been a single. "Pinhead", with its "Gabba Gabba Hey" chorus, is far better remembered forty years later.

Monday, July 17, 2017

The New Wave

On July 17, 1977 The Sunday Times published an article entitled "Good Clean Punk" about The Clash and their fans:

For most people, "punk rock" still means four-letter words, safety-pin jewelry, and a rude song about the Queen. After the Sex Pistols' infamous language on TV, concerts were cancelled, contracts were torn up, and righteous outrage swept the land. Punk, it seemed, was sunk. But eight months is an eon in pop; the record companies, hungry for a genuine youth phenomenon, have swallowed their misgivings and re-opened their cheque books. Punk, deodorised and re-packaged as the "New Wave", is here to stay - at least for half an hour.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

A Rotten Radio Show

On July 16. 1977 Capitol Radio broadcast a half hour show of music Johnny Rotten picked out. The show was called "A Punk and his Music" Among the songs on the playlist : Tim Buckley's "Sweet Surrender", David Bowie's "Rebel  Rebel", Neil Young's "Revolution Blues",  Gary Glitter's "Doing Alright With The  Boys", Kevin Coyne's "Eastbourne Ladies", Captain Beefheart's "It's The Blimp and a surprising amount of reggae including Aswad's "Jah Wonderful" , Dr Alimantado's "Don't Determine My Right", and Culture;'s "I'm Not Ashamed".

Hear the first part of the show here:

Rotten may have surprised listeners by denouncing the punk scene on the show:

A lot of it's rubbish, I mean real rubbish. Pathetic. And just giving it all a terrible bad name. A lot of bands are just ruining it. They're either getting too much into the star trip or they're going the exact opposite way. Neither way is really honest. If you know what you're doing you can completely ignore the whole damn thing.  

Part Two here:

Friday, July 14, 2017

Prog Lives

Yes : Wondrous Stories


In July of 1977, The Sex Pistols, The Stranglers, Jonathan Richman and The Saints may have entered the U.K. singles charts, but album sales still very much belonged to prog rock veterans. That month, both Yes and Styx released some of their most successful albums, neither of which gave even the slightest inclination that punk had entered their musical vocabulary. And why should it? Both bands had developed their sounds through years of practice, practice, practice. Every member of Yes was a prodigy and, God, did they make that clear over the years. Going For the One had some nice melodies like the catchy title cut and "Wondrous Stories", but it also had a naked man's ass on the cover and I'm betting there were thousands of American teens who wouldn't take anything like that to the cash register.

Styx : Come Sail Away


Chicago's Styx released The Grand Illusion on July 7 . Their breakthrough album sold three million copies thanks to the top ten hit "Come Sail Away" and "Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man)" which contains the masturbatory lines "You've got it all in the palm of your hand/But your hand's wet with sweat and your head needs a rest " .

Thursday, July 13, 2017


On June 13, 1977 lightening strikes left the city of New York without power for 25 hours.  According to the New York Times because of the power failure, LaGuardia and Kennedy airports were closed down for about eight hours, automobile tunnels were closed because of lack of ventilation, and 4,000 people had to be evacuated from the subway system. ConEd called the shutdown an "act of God", enraging Mayor Abe Beame, who charged that the utility was guilty of "gross negligence."

Beame said "We've seen our citizens subjected to violence, vandalism, theft, and discomfort. The Blackout has threatened our safety and has seriously impacted our economy. We've been needlessly subjected to a night of terror in many communities that have been wantonly looted and burned. The costs when finally tallied will be enormous. "

Meanwhile at the Bottom Line, NRBQ played an all acoustic set, using flashlights taped to their microphone stands.