Tuesday, September 18, 2007

In 1977

This week the seventy-seventh episode of Contrast Podcast takes us back to 1977. Ah, what a year! You see, dearest Friends, 1977 was my Year Zero.


I saw Star Wars for the first time in 1977 and my eight-year-old imagination was completely enraptured. Thirty years on, the film still gives me thrills and chills, which I'm hopefully imparting to my very own children. Why, just the other day Little Man and I watched Empire Strikes Back together and now we have a splendid little game where I wheeze like an asthmatic scuba diver and proclaim in a Vaderian rumble "I AM YOUR FATHER!!" Little Man squeals in delight, retracts his arm into his sleeve, and runs around gleefully shouting "AAAAH! You cut off my hand!!" Yes, the delight continues.

The second Year Zero dawned when I first heard 1977's Never Mind The Bollocks as a callow, Billy-Joel-fed teen. It was a lightning bolt; then and there I knew nothing would ever be the same.

And so, now have a listen to 1977 through the eyes and ears of the Contrast Podcast contributors:

(00:00) The Pockets - Doin’ the do
Tim from The face of today
(03:08) The Clash - 1977
FiL from Pogoagogo
(07:07) Jackson Browne - Nothing but time
Marcy from Lost in your inbox
(10:54) Elvis Costello - Watching the detectives
Lyle from Mentok the Mind-taker
(16:40) The Fall - Last orders
Chris from Phosphorous.net
(19:30) Fleetwood Mac - Never going back again
Anna from Music I-Quiz
(22:58) The Saint Orchestra - The Return of The Saint
Shaun from Cold Citrus
(26:28) T.Rex - Dandy in the underworld
Natalie from Mini-obs
(31:46) The Heartbreakers - One track mind
ZB from So the wind won’t blow it all away
(34:35) David Bowie - Heroes
The Duke of Straw from The Late Greats
(38:28) Led Zeppelin - Rock and roll
James from Jamesisadork
(42:26) Peter Gabriel - Solsbury Hill
Linda from Speed of dark
(47:53) AC/DC - Whole lotta Rosie
Dweller from Child without an iPod
(54:18) Ian Dury - Blockheads
Crash from Pretending life is like a song
(58:28) The Vibrators - You broke my heart
Mark from Cinema du Lyon

I'm thrilled to see that no-one deployed The Eagles' Hotel California, which is at the very top of FiL's least favourite songs EVAH list. I was also pleased to see a good dollop of punk - Vibrators, Heartbreakers, Fall, hooray! Given my preferences, I'd have loved to see MORE, but that's just being selfish. That said, over here it's MY blog and I want MORE PUNK!! So, herewith a few more choonz to pogo to, all of which were under consideration for this week, and all of which were born in, around, or of that magical year, 1977:

The Cortinas - Fascist Dictator (buy here or e-here or on eBay if you want the original 7")
Bristol band who wore their R&B influences on their leather sleeves. Picked their name cos it sounded cheap & nasty, just like the car.

Siouxsie & the Banshees - Mittageisen (buy here)
The lovely Siouxsie slid into punk as part of the Bromley Contingent, a group of fans who followed round after The Pistols. First Banshees gig was an impromptu filler slot at the notorious 100 Club Punk festival in December 1976, with none other than Sid Vicious on drums. They played a rambling version of The Lord's Prayer. Hallowed be their name...

The Damned - Neat Neat Neat (buy here)
Second single from these original editions, who are still going strong. They've been referred to as "The Beatles of punk" due to their longevity and influence. And if they end up like the Rolling Stones we'll never know, since gothy lead singer Dave Vanian has always brought an element of the undead to their performances (boom-boom, no, please hold your applause).

X-Ray Spex - Oh Bondage, Up Yours [Live] (buy here or e-here)
Fronted by the snotty, spotty, lippy, and formidable Polly Styrene, this lot made a righteous din and used sax to great effect. Here you have them loud & live at The Roxy, which for a brief, shining moment was one of the epicentres of London punk.

The Sex Pistols - God Save The Queen [Live] (again, try eBay if you're keen)
Surely you don't need me to explain who these lads are... Here for your consideration is a vinyl rip from a bootleg recording of a couple of 1977 Swedish concerts. The sound quality is crap, but listen for the feeling more than the sound fidelity. You'll get the point.

Richard Hell & The Voidoids - Love Comes In Spurts (buy here )
Ah, we cannot forget the Yankee cousins. Indeed, punk arguably started in the Yoo Ess ov Aaay, c.f. New York Dolls, The Ramones, et. al. Indeed, Malcom McLaren, the crafty impresario behind The Pistols, claims the Kentucky-born Hell gave him (and therefore his wife, Vivienne Westwood) the idea for all that safety-pin-and-torn-clothing gubbins. The Pistols say McLaren is full of shit.

Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers - Born to Lose (buy here or e-here)
Huzzah for ZB!!! He has most excellent taste!! Noo Yoiker Thunders started out as bassist for the incomparable New York Dolls before plowing his own punk furrow. Richard Hell was also a Heartbreaker for a while. Thunders made his guitar scream, hung out with The Ramones, and necked all sorts of illicit substances. In 1991 he was found dead under a coffee table in his New Orleans hotel room, contorted "like a pretzel." Rumours of foul play still abound.

Oh, and you MUST have a wee viddy of how it all was:

Those nice Sex Pistols:

Oh Siouxsie! Sigh...

Ms Styrene & her X-Ray Spex:

Next week, more numerical japery as Tim asks us to contribute songs that would have originally been released on 78 RPM records. We're talking real old school. How can you contribute? Well, find out over here.