6 February 2024    |    Music, Shop news

Punk Music Essentials!

Not any Punk Music Essentials... Justin's!

One of our lovely customers, Justin, set-out to come up with his Top 10 punk albums. But then, in (possibly) true punk fashion, he added:

“Firstly I don’t think that there are going to be just ten – why should I conform to the straitjacket of the ‘Top Ten’ and thereby leave out some that should be included. Does punk mean that all the tracks on the album should be punk in style or does the fact that the band is regarded as punk make all the tracks punk? What I mean is that some of the tracks turn out to be perfectly good rock n’ roll songs rather than punk, and bands like The Clash show this really well. Am I going to put them in any order? Is the first one going to be the best punk album or is it going to set the benchmark? In any case, you know what is going to be first.”

So what do we have? Scroll down to discover… Notes and comments are his. Thanks Justin!

Sex Pistols - Never mind the bollocks here’s the Sex Pistols

(Virgin Records V2086)

It was meant to be shocking when it came out and just as expected the establishment was shocked but now that has worn off somewhat and we can concentrate on the music and the message. Things are much freer now and hopefully some folks are much less uptight. Some bands were great at singles but although albums may have been produced, the singles were what made their mark on the world.

UK Subs - C.I.D (single)

(City Records NIK5A)

Firstly, if you haven’t already, turn up the volume before the stylus hits the vinyl and then you’ll get the full impact of this song. If it doesn’t do it for you then try more volume.

Alternative TV - The image has cracked

(Deptford Fun City Records DLPO1)

The first track on the album is different but worth a listen and still we have the same problems, and then the band gets down to really playing, helped along on one track by Jools Holland.

Stiff Little Fingers - Suspect Device (single)

(Rigid Digits SRD – 1)

Solid raw energy from 1978.

New York Dolls - New York Dolls

(Mercury Records 00602557256697)

Good things were also happening on the other side of the Atlantic and the idea of sending up everything worked really well – ‘Jet Boy’ has the right idea.  Mothers at the Filmore East was Zappa’s send up of celebrity.

Sham 69 - If the kids are united (single)

(Polydor 2059-050)

If there were only one anthem on this list, then it would have to be this one.  Enjoy the guitars.

Vibrators - V2

(Epic 82495)

The opening of side 1 with the V1 buzz bomb is a good lead in to ‘Pure Mania’ but it is worth waiting for the last track on the album ‘Troops of Tomorrow’. This is the second Vibrators album and the comparison with the first album is worth making as it shows how things have moved on for the band.

Leyton Buzzards - 19 and Mad (single)

(Small Wonder Records small seven)

I had to include something from Small Wonder as they were such a name in the early punk years.  The Leyton Buzzards did move on and make it into the charts – do you remember ‘Saturday night (beneath the plastic palm trees)’?

The Stranglers - Rattus Norvegicus

(United Artists UAG 30045)

There are so many good tracks on this album that it might be hard to pick until you hear the bass intro on ‘Peaches’, not bettered until PiL came on the scene.  In those days it wasn’t one to play for your mother.

Jilted John - Jilted John (single)

(EMI INT 567)

I don’t think that I’m going to say that this is punk but it’s a good laugh and it’s from 1978.

Wire - Pink Flag

(Harvest SHSP 4076)

How many tracks can you get on an LP – there are twenty-one on this one – but it does mean that they are fairly brief.  As a band, their music develops really quickly and it is almost a problem seeing the second album ‘Chairs Missing’ as coming from the same team but is more New Wave than punk.

Lene Lovich - Bird Song (single)

(Stiff Records BUY 53)

Wake up to this one turned up loud – a great way to start the day.  There is very little like this.

Ruts - Grin and Bear it

(Virgin Records OVED 57)

Babylon’s burning made the charts but I’m not sure how many realised that there was more than one song unless, of course, you listened to John Peel.

Plastic Bertrand - Ca plane pour moi (single)

(Phonogram Sire 6078 616)

I’ve no idea what he’s singing about but that has never mattered to anyone and it can’t be too bad or they would never use it to sell Coco Pops.  A good thrash.

X-ray Spex - Germfree Adolescents

(Sanctuary Records Real Gone Music RGM 0752)

I didn’t have this album when it first came out but I’ve got it now – it has the great single ‘The day the world turned dayglo’ and if you like sax on your punk music then this is the one for you.  There was a BBC documentary about Poly Styrene that told her story but it isn’t really very cheery viewing.

Punishment of Luxury - Puppet Life (single)

(Small Wonder Records Small 8)

If you like this then there is an album as well.

Buzzcocks - Another Music in a Different Kitchen

(United Artists UAG 30159)

I had no doubts about acquiring this one – it’s all energy and once you’ve played both sides you either start again or put on their next album ‘Love Bites’.

Subway Sect - Ambition (single)

(Rough Trade RT 007)

The vocals are a bit of an acquired taste, like Marmite.

999 - 999

(United Artists UAG 30199)

There is no doubt of what you are listening to when you play 999 – vocals with edge – just try ‘Emergency’.

Dead Kennedys - Holiday in Cambodia (single)

(Cherry Red Records Cherry 13)

There is nothing like this song – it has been recorded in lots of versions and I like this one best.

Siouxsie and the Banshees - The Scream

(Polydor Deluxe POLD 5009)

Unmistakeable both instrumentally and with that powerful vocal line driving through everything.

The Clash - Should I stay or should I go (single)

(CBS 2646)

Penetration - Moving Targets

(Virgin Records V2109)

This was produced on luminous glow in the dark vinyl as well as black and the lucky ones got a playable record – the alternative was to take it back and swop it for the ordinary black version.  Strangely (?) I like the cover versions on here of ‘Nostalgia’ (Buzzcocks) and ‘Free Money’ (Patti Smith) and the latter I play in preference to the original on ‘Horses’.  Pauline Murray is good vocal line to bring it all together.

Alberto Y Lost Trios Paranoias - Heads down no nonsense mindless boogie (single)

(Logo Records GO 323)

Don’t take this too seriously and again there is an album as well.

Ultravox! - Ultravox! (single)

(Island Records ILPS 9449)

Ultravox! did exist before Midge Ure and John Foxx voice and writing made them what they were with Billy Currie making the sound so distinctive on violin.  I should have gone to see them when I had the chance.

I could have added the Lurkers who weren’t as good as the Damned and the Vaultage ’78 compilation from Brighton…



If you strongly feel that a few essentials are missing out, get in touch and we will continue to add to this!