For reasons of ignorance only, the Sex Pistols are regularly assumed to have been the first UK punk band. But they were not. That honor (?) goes to the Damned who pierced the airwaves with their song, New Rose, in October of 1976. While it is certainly true that the excellent Sex Pistols were kicking up some dust at the same time as The Damned -- and even receiving top billing over The Damned at shows around London -- the Sex Pistols couldn't seem to make it into a studio to record. So while the Sex Pistols were blowing through record deals faster than a baby goes through diapers, the Damned got signed and actually made it into a studio. What a freakin' novel idea Mr. McClaren!
On September 20, 1976, guitarist Brian James, bassist Captain Sensible, singer David Vanian and drummer Rat Scabies (not his real name me thinks), walked into Pathway Studios in London to work with the brilliant producer and always hip to new music, Nick Lowe. (for those of you who are into connections, that is the brilliant producer and always hip to new music Dave Edmunds playing guitar in that video). The product of that day's labor is our SoTW, New Rose, an original composition by the band's young guitarist, Brian James. New Rose is not just historically significant, it is also great. New Rose is relentlessly driven by the propulsive drums of Rat Scabies (drummers haven't gotten nearly enough kudos here at Flip-Side) and marked by the damn catchy barre chord riff laid down by James and his highly compressed, distorted 1961 Gibson SG through what we will assume is a Marshall amp. Those of us at the Flip-Side's Rocky Mountain offices can't get enough of that killer drum and guitar break at 1:41 and that little yelp Vanian gives out at the end of it. Nothing before (but many things after) sounded like this on the UK radio. The Damned had taken that first giant step for punk-kind in the UK, influencing bands like the Buzzcocks and the Undertones.
So on this September morning, 33 years and 8 days after this was recorded, we celebrate The Damned's New Rose as our SoTW. Click here to enjoy.