The Sound Of The Suburbs


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

Way Down

Hey Ho Let’s Go – click on the pic for more info

GLC Councilor Comments On Punk.

Is The Queen A Moron? Sex Pistols on the GSTQ single

Not me in the picture BTW

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13 Responses to “The Sound Of The Suburbs”

  1. For a chap of a certain age a glam girl with a Farah flick still sets off a slight frisson. I was listening to ABBA’s ‘Arrival’ in 1977. Knowing Me, Knowing You.

  2. Planet Mondo Says:

    And there were plenty about in 77, Barbara Bach, Baccara, Jaclyn Smith, Lindsay Wagner

    I don’t think I bought much that year – apart from ‘Black Is Black’ for 10p from someone at school. I was still in compilation mode Goofy Greats, Star Trackin 76 and Elvis 40 Greatest being perma plays

    I may be loading up a 1977 Jukebox this Friday if I can find the tunes.

  3. The King Of Cool Says:

    I was born at the end of 1970. My parents listened to disco and the like during the 70’s. I never really heard any punk until I was older.

  4. Nice work fella.

    THe I Feel Love sounded ok at the intro (if a little slow) but when those vocals kicked in… strewth! If this was a ‘soundy likey’ of the Bronski Beat version i’d say it wasn’t a bad job, as the vocals sound more like ‘ol spud ‘ed Sommerville.

    The Elvis one is classic, and anyone covering him just can’t help overdoing the ‘uh-huh, uh-huhs’.

    P

  5. Devil Dick Says:

    Not me in the picture BTW

    too bad, i was hoping that was a young “tiger boy”….

  6. Planet Mondo Says:

    TKOC – Punk didn’t arrive in Southend til 79, the first punk single I bougt was ‘Something Else’ – Sex Pistols – but had a fun size collection of Disco tunes myself before this point.

    P – Be warned, I may post the TOTP version of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ and ‘Wuthering Heights’ soon

    DD – I knew I should have kept hush about that 😉

  7. PM. Off subject but I’ve been listening to your coldwar mix it’s very entertaining if at odds with the sunny weather? One question you got elctronic voices dubbed over it how did you do this si some software or do you some complicated hoem studio do dah. i wanted to do something similar for a film i’m making any tips
    keep up the good work.
    I spent jubilee in swindon at my aunts and I got a mug and 25 p from school!

  8. soory for the lack of punctuation etc in my post

  9. Planet Mondo Says:

    Do you mean the electronic voice on the intro? I’ve just mailed you the link for the app (it’s a freebie) by a lucky coincidence all the other electro sounds and voices, happened to be on the tracks chosen.

    The only other samples used are

    The footsteps and phone Pre Manzanera, the city noises pre Baltic Fleet which were free SFX found on the net

    Then party noise pre Grace Jones- taken from the opening of the Roxy Music debut album.

    The footsteps and laugh (before Fad Gadget I think) – come from the end of ‘These Hands’ by The Damned

    I can’t get enough of Martin Parr – have you got this – it’s Genius

  10. I’ve got the postcard from the Barbican exhibition a few years ago and the odd book, he is good.
    My brothers got one of his hebden bridge prints i think.
    ps for the program.

  11. entrailicus Says:

    I have some of those TOTP albums kicking around somewhere, hopefully warped out of playability by now. Please come over and vote on the ’76 Festive 50…

  12. The King Of Cool Says:

    Punk was never that popular in my area when I was a kid. By the time I was buying my own music, it was the days of MTV. I was buying the stars of the mid-80’s.

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