1977 may have been the big bang/year zero of Punk, but while the world crash, burned and turned dayglo, the UK singles and album charts stayed strictly beige, and a gallery of beards and Bri-Nylon, not bondage and black leather. It may have been anarchy and white riots in the city, but the real sound of the suburbs was glam girls with Farah flicks in disco dresses and bouffant chaps in cheesecloth and satin.
I’ve read far too many books on the UK Punk scene – three on the bounce so far this year, but none of then have the same snap, sparkle, spit and polish as Barry Cain’s 77 Sulphate Strip, which has gone straight in at number 1 in my ‘pile high club’ of rock reads.
Taking a year (1977) in the life of a Record Mirror’s initially reluctant’Punk’ reporter, 77 Sulphate Strip scrapbooks the combustion and contrast of Seditionaries Punk and ‘Sing Something Simple’ style Pop by prologuing each chapter with the best selling singles and albums for that month (there’s hardly a spikey top in sight) followed by reviews and interviews from Barry Cain’s original Record Mirror features on the Pistols, The Stranglers, The Heartbreakers, The Jam, The Damned and Demis Roussos while threading in offstage stories and anecdotes of scams, schemes, scary Dutch hells angels, dodgy raffles, girl chasing, globe trotting and living at home with mum and dad. I can’t recommend it enough. It is simply, one the finest pieces of music writing ever published.
I was too young for Punk in 1977 and could only afford Pop at pocket money prices – so why buy just one real deal single, when you can have a full albums worth of soft focus sound-alikes?
Like these taken from ‘The Best Of Top Of The Pops 77’
I Feel Love
Is The Queen A Moron? Sex Pistols on the GSTQ single