The seventies was the one decade when recorded music was most essential to youth culture, the one art form to offer an escape route from the terminal boredom that could crush your spirit and leave you feeling frustrated and trapped if you allowed it to. Not that there was too much else competing for your time, what with just three television channels closing down at midnight, and access to the culturally significant books and films of the day dependent on the questionable taste of your local book shop or cinema.     

   As the charity shop racks are still telling us, vinyl was the big thing. Record companies and artists were raking it in, album and single sales were at an all-time high, and there were countless record shops dotted up and down every High Street and shopping parade. Expensive Stereo systems and cheap, all in one hi-fi’s were a must in every living room and every teenager’s bedroom. The sixties generation were in their twenties and thirties, still young enough to be serious record buyers, while my Generation X were purposefully defining their own listening habits.

   Yet despite all that, the portrayal of the seventies as a permanent parade of lunatic flared fashion set in a mindless, boogie wonderland of ‘Dancing Queen’ and ‘Stayin’ Alive’ has been relentless. What’s more, the seventies as a whole has become frequent fodder for nostalgia TV, the image of the decade swamped by a selection of its blandest, most obvious symbols; flared jeans, long hair, platform boots, Chopper bikes, space hoppers and cheerfully offensive, racist and sexist sitcoms. Misrepresentation has been allowed to become undeniable fact. But that wasn’t my seventies.

   My seventies were all about footie up the park and kiss chase in the woods, miming in the bedroom and church hall discos, strikes and power cuts, O Levels and aborted A Levels, The Wheel of Fortune pub and The Peacock cellar bar, The Top Rank and The Night Owl, Colt 45 and Carlsberg Special Brew, Bristol Colston Hall and Wembley Empire Pool, Paddington and Waterloo, The Roxy and The Vortex, Yamaha FS1E’s and Vauxhall Viva’s, signing on and the nine to five, skins and Teds, tribalism and hooliganism, racism and sexism, the threat of violence and grievous bodily harm, Bournemouth and Blackpool, Top Of The Pops and The Old Grey Whistle Test, Taxi Driver and Apocalypse Now, bedsitland and high rise blocks, industrial estates and weed-filled wasteland waiting to be car parks.

   Trying to capture the essence of all that is tricky, not least because nostalgia loves to wave its golden wand over the past, which is why I’ve never attempted such a task before. Sure, I’ve compiled plenty of playlists detailing the numerous genres and genres of the decade. But this is the first time I’ve tied them all together to soundtrack the seventies in its entirety. And the only way I could think of to interpret such a massively influential period of my life, a period when I went from being a naïve ten year old to a twenty year old ex-punk, was to go at it song by song and pray that some kind of picture built up. Did it? I have no idea. Only you can be the judge of that!

   Whether it did or not, hearing these songs again, some of them for the first time in over forty years, has made me realise what an amazing thing it was to go through my adolescence and entire teenage with the songs of T. Rex, The Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Roxy Music, Sly Stone, The O’Jays, The Wailers, Cockney Rebel, The Ramones, Sex Pistols, The Clash, Kraftwerk, Iggy Pop, Wire, Public Image Ltd, The Slits and many more as the mixtape playing in my head. Well, this Soundtrack For The Seventies is that tape. The sound of my youth in 100 songs!


Chris Green

May 2024




1. LEE MARVIN ‘Wand’rin Star’ (Single A Side January 1970)

The soundtrack to my seventies wasn’t always about the top twenty chart nonsense I started off with, the cheap thrill of glam, the social protest of funk, the far reaching subculture of disco, the mystery of roots, the life changing revolution of punk, the possibilities of post punk or the dazzling futurism of electronica. Before any of that, before I had any interest in pop whatsoever, most of the songs I knew came from film musicals.

   As soon as I could sit still, my maternal grandmother Dora would drag me along to whatever musical was doing the rounds at our local Odeon or Gaumont. At the time she would have been in her fifties and still working in the packing department of Huntley & Palmers biscuit factory, so the likes of the Sound Of Music, Fiddler On The Roof, Oliver and Hello Dolly were her way of escaping the daily grind for a couple of hours on a Saturday afternoon.

   The last musical we saw together was Paint Your Wagon, a fairly gruesome sing song western featuring the undeniable charms of Lee Marvin and Clint Eastwood. It was memorable if only because it remains the most boring two and a half hours I have experienced in a cinema. And yet, together with ‘The Lonely Goatherd’, ‘If I were A Rich Man’, ‘Consider Yourself’ and all those other ubiquitous classics, ‘Wand’rin Star’ has stayed with me as a reminder of those happy times.


2. RAY STEVENS ‘Everything Is Beautiful’ (Single A Side March 1970)

At first glance, in a self-sufficient, latchkey kid way my childhood could be considered idyllic. Free to do whatever we wanted after school due to my father’s business commitments and my mother preferring her teaching career to caring for her own kids, from a ridiculously young age my brother Joe and I learnt to amuse and fend for ourselves. The one exception was Sunday, the day our parents dedicated to the worship of their Methodist God.

   Unlike the rest of the week, on Sundays we were imprisoned within the confines of our own home apart from the hour long visit to Sunday School in our Sunday best clothes where ‘Everything Is Beautiful’ was adopted by the right on, Jesus-loves-you. Methodist students doing their utmost to teach us about peace, love and understanding. Given that in 1970 I was a football crazy, ten year old boy with no interest whatsoever in church, Jesus or pop music, Ray Steven’s message went completely unheeded.

3. THE KINKS ‘Lola’ (Single A Side June 1970)

Referencing drag queens, transgender encounters and the questioning of one's own sexuality, ‘Lola’ was as catchy as hell and a step ahead of the pop curve, Ray Davies somehow making it work by accentuating the naturalness of a love that had only recently been decriminalised in the UK. At ten years old I didn’t have a clue about any of that stuff. Thankfully, my mate’s older brother did. In fact, he loved The Kinks so much he encouraged us to like them too by playing ‘Lola’ constantly. And guess what, his persistence paid off because even now I have a strange atypical love for critically derided, seventies, Kinks records like Muswell Hillbillies, Everybody’s In Show-Biz and Soap Opera.


4. MELANIE ‘Ruby Tuesday’ (Single A Side August 1970)

‘Ruby Tuesday’ was gloriously dreamy and the first Rolling Stones song l ever heard. Of course, in August 1970 I’d never heard of The Rolling Stones. But it didn’t matter because there was something about Melanie Saka’s ethereal voice and inspired whimsy that made the song lodge in my memory.     


5. DAVE & ANSEL COLLINS ‘Double Barrel’ (Single A Side August 1970)

There’s no doubt that pop reggae and hits by Dave and Ansel Collins, Desmond Dekker, Jimmy Cliff, Bob & Marcia, The Pioneers and Johnny Nash opened up my ears to the coming of Bob Marley, The Wailers and the heavier side of roots and dub. Thankfully free of the string arrangements used by reggae labels in the late sixties and early seventies to sweeten their singles for the white pop market, ‘Double Barrel’ reached the heady heights of number one and in so doing became the foundation on which my love of reggae was built.   


6. JAMES BROWN ‘Get Up (I Feel Like Being A) Sex Machine’ (Single A Side September 1970)

In 1970 I had no idea what sex or a sex machine was, but one thing I did know was that sonically James Brown’s ‘Get Up (I Feel Like Being A) Sex Machine’ sounded nothing like the smooth soul records my parents played to soundtrack their Saturday night dinner parties. OK, so these days the song which took Brown and his subordinates Bobby Byrd, Bootsy Collins and his brother Phelps ‘Catfish’ Collins mere hours to write has become universal shorthand for ‘funk’, but in my potted history of modern music culture, ‘Sex Machine’ continues to mark the moment when black music finally cut itself loose.


7. C.C.S. ‘Whole Lotta Love’ (Single A Side September 1970)

In September 1970, having successfully passed the eleven plus exam a year underage, I began life at a grammar school that required a forty minute coach ride just to get there. Instantly alienated from the similarly minded, football obsessed, secondary modern kids I’d grown up with, I fell under the influence of some older classmates and began to take an interest in pop culture for the first time. The most obvious signifier was my sudden fascination with Top of the Pops and C.C.S.’s apocalyptic, big band version of Led Zeppelin’s ‘Whole Lotta Love’, a song so good it would soon be adopted as the show’s emblematic theme tune.


8. T. REX ‘Ride A White Swan’ (Single A Side October 1970)

In 1969 Marc Bolan parted ways with bongo player Steve Peregrin Took, hired percussionist Mickey Finn, secured the services of noted producer Tony Visconti and began to transform the hippy dippy Tyrannosaurus Rex’s into T. Rex. The first of his new breed of songs to be released, ‘Ride A White Swan’ was a short, deceptively simple, neo-rockabilly groove that not only invented glam, it introduced it to a new generation desperately seeking a style of music to call their own. 


9. THE EQUALS ‘Black Skin Blue Eyed Boys’ (Single A Side November 1970)

A regular in the UK chart over the winter of 1970/71, Eddy Grant’s driving, uncompromising ‘Black Skin Blue Eyed Boys’ broke all the rules. The last of a string of hits for The Equals, a three black, two white member group from a Hornsey council estate, the song explicitly linked its racial theme with the anti-Vietnam war sentiment of the time. A million miles away from the cheerful, Caribbean tinged, pop fluff of their first hit ‘Baby Come Back’, ‘Black Skin Blue Eyed Boys’ proudly proclaimed ‘the world will be half-breed’. In 1970 that was revolutionary in itself! 


10. ASHTON, GARDNER & DYKE ‘Resurrection Shuffle’ (Single A Side November 1970)

In my first couple of terms at grammar school, apart from feeling lonely, useless and massively out of my depth, my interest in the bewitching power and untold promise of pop increased beyond reason before tipping into obsession. Foregoing my weekly copy of Shoot, the first record I brought from the revolving gold rack at my local Martins newsagent was the budget, Music For Pleasure label album, Hot Hits 4. Featuring twelve questionable cover versions of recent chart hits like ‘My Sweet Lord’, ‘Rose Garden’ and ‘Sweet Caroline’, Ashton, Gardner & Dykes rollicking ‘Resurrection Shuffle’ was the first song I felt was truly my own.       




11. THE ROLLING STONES ‘Brown Sugar’ (Single A Side April 1971)

The first Stones song I heard before I knew who they were must have been this number two chartbuster, one of Keith Richards greatest riffs hitched to Mick Jagger’s nastiest, most offensive and controversial lyrics about underage sex, drugs and slavery, a handwritten copy of which was passed around my class at school whereupon no-one, not even my right on feminist art teacher, raised so much as an eyebrow.  


12. JOHN KONGOS ‘He’s Gonna Step On You Again’ (Single A Side May 1971)

John Kongos brief reign over my pop consciousness came courtesy of the thundering ‘He’s Gonna Step On You Again’, a deliciously dark, number four, chart hit that was absolutely irresistible.


13. DELROY WILSON ‘Better Must Come’ (from Tighten Up Vol. 5 LP July 1971)

Including the mega selling smashes of Dave and Ansel Collins, Trojan Records released over thirty singles that managed to make it into the UK charts. Reggae albums however remained another matter until the label came up with the Tighten Up concept, a budget priced series containing twelve of those self-same hits per album. Luckily, the teenage girl from two doors down owned the lot, the records in her collection proving invaluable to a young boy eager to hear everything he could.        


14. T. REX ‘Get It On’ (Single A Side July 1971)

Subtle, stylish and the definition of glam, ‘Get It On’ stirred a strange fancy within me that transcended mere pop, something the other hits of the day singularly failed to do. Not only that, it changed everything I thought I knew about pop music, Marc Bolan’s talent for twisting a couple of basic chords into pop magic giving his audience of adolescent outsiders permission to start pushing the boundaries of all that was holy a year before the coming of Ziggy.


15. ROD STEWART ‘Reason To Believe’ (Single AA Side July 1971)

As unlikely as it now seems, Rod Stewart was a regular presence on my record player right up to the Britt and blonde Atlantic Crossing in 1975. His take on Tim Hardin’s ‘Reason To Believe’ still sparkles with everything that was once so great about him.


16. THE DOORS ‘Riders On The Storm’ (Single A Side August 1971)

By the time I got to hear The Doors Jim Morrison was already dead, his road of excess leading not to the palace of wisdom as he liked to believe but to a heart attack in the bath. In the summer of 1971 I was completely unaware of either him or his fate, but as innocent as I was, when ‘Riders on the Storm’ began to creep up the singles charts, I knew damn well that the undefinable otherness it possessed had absolutely nothing to do with novelty pop schlock like ‘Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep’ and ‘Me and You and a Dog Named Boo’. 


17. T. REX ‘Cosmic Dancer’ (Electric Warrior LP September 1971)

I started out in this world of pop alone in my bedroom with the curtains closed and the joss sticks burning, miming with my hardboard, silver-star guitar to anything I could lay my hands on. It was all a part of the make believe world I invented for myself to escape the lonely, drab reality of life in smalltown, provincial Berkshire. Whereas once I had dreamt of being a superstar footballer, now I could fantasise I was a pre-teen pop star of untold musical skill and talent.

   With my thirst for pop increasing week by week, and once again encouraged to do so by my teenage neighbour, I borrowed her black and gold copy of Electric Warrior. A step up from the Holiday Camp singalong’s I’d been miming to, Marc Bolan’s glam masterpiece was the first single artist album I ever heard. Featuring the incredible ‘Get It On’ and ‘Jeepster’, the record cast a spell that is as enchanting now as it was then. From the slinky thump of ‘Mambo Sun’ and ‘The Motivator’ to the Bolan origin story ‘Cosmic Dancer’, Electric Warrior introduced me to the magic of the album. And what magic it was!


18. LAURA NYRO & LABELLE ‘The Bells’ (from Gonna Take A Miracle LP November 1971)

My early seventies wasn’t all about the top twenty and Top of the Pops. My father’s eclectic record collection provided me with an element of variety and sophistication I’d never have heard otherwise, such as Laura Nyro’s spine tingling versions of  her own ‘favourite teenage heartbeat music’.


19. THE CHI-LITES ‘Have You Seen Her’ (Single A Side December 1971)

The ever-so-slightly creepy sound of early seventies adolescent heartbreak encapsulated in five minutes and eight seconds of schmaltzy gorgeousness and a fuzz guitar.


20. DAVID BOWIE ‘Oh! You Pretty Things’ (Hunky Dory LP December 1971)

Most people didn’t hear Hunky Dory in its entirety before Ziggy Stardust and I was no different. But I did hear ‘Oh! You Pretty Things’. Already familiar due to Herman’s Hermits heart throb Peter Noone’s number twelve hit earlier in the year, Bowie’s version prophesised a future I would only understand in later years, the ‘pretty things’ being the outsiders of my generation ready and willing to take over the world, or at least their own small part of it. Of course, this ‘youth revolution’ would culminate in Johnny Rotten, the Sex Pistols and punk five years later. In 1971, I was just happy to be singing along.




21. T. REX ‘Telegram Sam’ (Single A Side January 1972)

Marc Bolan at the height of his powers and the first single I ever bought.


22. GARY GLITTER ‘Rock And Roll Part 2’ (Single B Side March 1972)

Gary Glitter has been expunged from music history, rightly reviled as a serial paedophile, although as one of the finest glam anthems ever recorded, ‘Rock And Roll Part 2’ refuses to go away.


23. ELTON JOHN ‘Rocket Man’ (Single A Side April 1972)

Another unlikely figure from my early seventies was Elton John. In the 21st century most of his records have lost the sparkle they once had, but somehow ‘Rocket Man’ has stayed with me, Bernie Taupin’s lyrics a handy analogy for its maker’s mercurial trajectory from awkward, nerdy, bespectacled, music obsessed schoolboy to intergalactic pop diva.


24. THE ROLLING STONES ‘Tumbling Dice’ (Single A Side April 1972)

It sounds ridiculous in hindsight but before 1975’s must have Christmas present Rolled Gold (a best of compilation covering their 1963 debut ‘Come On’ through to 1969’s ‘Gimme Shelter’), I had still to hear most of The Stones sixties past. In the early years of the seventies, my love for The Stones was built solely on the lusty grandeur of their singles, ‘Tumbling Dice’ arguably the best of the bunch.

25. HAWKWIND ‘Silver Machine’ (Single A Side June 1972)

The first thing I noticed about ‘Silver Machine’ was that it didn’t sound like anything else. In my early learning years that happened a lot. Nonetheless, as a callow twelve year old youth I can clearly remember being both shocked and amazed at the rumbling, discordant racket trying to blow the speakers of my vintage, Heath Robinson, hand-me-down hi-fi to smithereens.


26. DAVID BOWIE ‘Starman’ (Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars LP June 1972)

A lot has been written about Ziggy Stardust, ‘Starman’ and Bowies Top of the Pops appearance on 6th July 1972, but there’s no denying it was a seminal moment of revelation for the movers and shakers of my generation.


27. THE SLICKERS ‘Johnny Too Bad’ (The Harder They Come Soundtrack LP July 1972)

Taking the various artists format from cheap and generic to valued and vital, The Harder They Come soundtrack included songs old and new by Jimmy Cliff, The Maytals, Desmond Dekker, The Melodians and The Slickers. Within a year the rise of roots and dub would make these songs sound like ancient history, but in the summer of 1972 they proved crucial to reggaes continuing popularity.


28. MOTT THE HOOPLE ‘All The Young Dudes’ (Single A Side July 1972)

Handclaps, hipster jive, hope and disillusion, ‘All The Young Dudes’ was glams very own national anthem for a generation who either didn’t know or didn’t care about the lies of the sixties or the sanctity of the fucking Beatles.


29. THIN LIZZY ‘Whiskey In The Jar’ (Single A Side November 1972)

Before Thin Lizzy’s version, the best known recording of ‘Whiskey In The Jar’ was that of the Dubliners on their 1967 album More Of The Hard Stuff. It was a record my old man had in his collection and a tune he liked to bash out on the piano on high days and holidays in honour of his Dublin born mother and my family’s Irish bloodline.

30. LOU REED ‘Satellite Of Love’ (Transformer LP November 1972)

What’s so funny about discovering an album like Lou Reed's Transformer before you’re old enough to understand exactly what it is you’re listening to is that it becomes all the more powerful as fantasy. Like a lot of other things, I didn’t know much about junkies, drag queens, hustlers or queers. Yet once I’d heard a song like the heavenly ‘Satellite Of Love’ or the classic ‘Walk On The Wild Side’, for a long time after I dreamt of sitting in a Lower East Side apartment and engaging in a ‘New York Telephone Conversation’ with Holly, Candy, Little Joe, the Sugar Plum Fairy or Uncle Lou himself!




31. ROXY MUSIC ‘Beauty Queen’ (For Your Pleasure LP March 1973)

It’s impossible now to understand how fantastical Roxy Music looked and sounded in 1973. The music of the day was greasy rock, a drab, denim clad business. And yet, even when compared to Marc Bolan’s teen anthems, Roxy were noticeably different. The first ‘proper’ album I bought, I knew that For Your Pleasure was telling me something vital and forbidden about the adult world. Not knowing what it was merely increased the mystery, so I continued to play it again and again, year after year, safe in the knowledge that I had found another lifelong musical love.


32. IGGY & THE STOOGES ‘Raw Power’ (Raw Power LP March 1973)

The Stooges desperate last stand, written and recorded in London under a sickly black cloud of betrayal, drugs and doom, Raw Power remains the meanest, most deranged and outrageous, balls-to-the-wall, tour de force there’s ever been.


33. DAVID BOWIE ‘Drive In Saturday’ (Aladdin Sane LP April 1973)

If Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders From Mars was pivotal, as the ultimate glam album Aladdin Sane was even more so. A record fuelled with an energy and anxiety that was pure seventies, while the dreamlike, overlooked beauty of ‘Drive In Saturday’ may not be the best song on it, it does possess a certain timeless quality that can summon up memories of my early teenage like no other.


34. MOTT THE HOOPLE ‘Honaloochie Boogie’ (Single A Side May 1973)

Mott The Hoople were flawed in so many ways yet Ian Hunter’s songs possessed a rare indefinable feeling that can still be found in the confident, glam ramalama of ‘Honaloochie Boogie’, their first self-penned hit.


35. SLY & THE FAMILY STONE ‘In Time’ (Fresh LP June 1973)

My inauguration into soul and funk albums that went deeper than the more obvious chart hits of Motown or The Chi-Lites arrived courtesy of a friend who unwittingly opened up a brand new musical universe for me to explore. The supremely funky, stripped down grooves of Fresh were my introduction to that world, ironically Sly Stone’s last great album before drugs and ego turned him into just another fucked up freak.


36. THE TEMPTATIONS ‘Law Of The Land’ (Single A Side August 1973)

The song that gave birth to disco has been debated long and hard. Some claim Harold Melvin’s ‘The Love I Lost’ was the catalyst, others The Hues Corporations ‘Rock The Boat’ or George McCrae’s ‘Rock Your Baby’. My money goes to Norman Whitfield and The Temptations ‘Law Of The Land’ which featured the necessary four-on-the-floor beat, a syncopated bassline, orchestral flourishes, handclaps and all the other essential ingredients long before anyone else.


37. NEW YORK DOLLS ‘Personality Crisis’ (New York Dolls LP August 1973)

Another in the long list of albums purchased off the back of an Old Grey Whistle Test appearance, the New York Dolls outrageous, drag queen aesthetic and chaotic rock’n’roll re-treads sounded wonderfully familiar to a thirteen year old Stones fan, therefore hugely appealing.


38. ROXY MUSIC ‘Mother Of Pearl’ (Stranded LP November 1973)

A highlight of Stranded, an album that marked the end of the Eno years and the start of the white, tuxedo wearing, castanet clicking era of Roxy theatrics, ‘Mother of Pearl’ was Bryan Ferry’s epic monologue on the soul deadening effect of living in the ‘looking glass world’ of celebrity narcissism. He refers to it as the best song he ever wrote. Who am I to disagree?


39. THE O’JAYS ‘Ship Ahoy’ (Ship Ahoy LP November 1973)

When you think of protest soul, you tend to think of Marvin Gaye, Curtis Mayfield or Sly Stone with no thought of The O’Jays. Odd then that despite being wrapped in a honeyed veneer, Ship Ahoy is just as questioning and confrontational as What’s Going On, There’s No Place Like America Today or There’s a Riot Goin’ On, the title track alone a chilling nine minute plus exploration of the slave trade. In the wrong hands it might have sounded like a grim sermon. In the hands of The O’Jays and Philadelphia International’s Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, never had a song so angry sounded so sweet.


40. THE WAILERS ‘Get Up, Stand Up’ (Burnin’ LP October 1973)

Released seven months after Catch A Fire, a record remixed with additional rock guitar and keyboards to attract a white audience, Burnin’ was tougher, militant and the authentic roots article. Featuring the definitive versions of such Bob Marley staples as ‘Get Up, Stand Up’, ‘I Shot The Sheriff’ and ‘Small Axe’, the album helped cement his reputation as something of a shaman who could take Jamaica’s messed up history and a jumble of such disparate concepts as Rastafari, herb and Trenchtown and rebuild them into an intricate, focused music touched by magic.



41. ALICE COOPER ‘Teenage Lament 74’ (Single A Side January 1974)

Alice Cooper was a big favourite in our house, the Killer, Schools Out and Billion Dollar Babies albums always blasting from the stereo. Alas, 1974’s Muscle Of Love promised much yet delivered little, the only exception being ‘Teenage Lament 74’ which, in a little under four minutes, somehow managed to encapsulate exactly what it felt like to be a teenager in the mid-seventies! 


42. ENO ‘Needle In The Camels Eye’ (Here Come The Warm Jets LP January 1974)

Prior to boring us half to death with his cleverness and the listening-to-paint-dry snooze of ambient music, Brian Eno flitted about in sequins and feathers doing his squiggly, synth noise thing with Roxy Music before going on to create the idiosyncratic Here Come the Warm Jets, a record that somehow managed to steer from the outlandish squall of ‘Needle In The Camels Eye’ to the relative quiet of ‘On Some Faraway Beach’ with remarkable ease.


43. MICK RONSON ‘Growing Up And I’m Fine’ (Slaughter On 10th Avenue LP April 1974)

Mick Ronson was a behind the scenes kind of bloke, great at arranging songs and a natural second fiddle on stage but disinterested in being in the limelight himself. Throw in the fact that he didn’t have the most distinctive voice and wasn’t a prolific songwriter and you have several very good reasons why Slaughter On 10th Avenue was considered a little underwhelming. And yet, even though I have barely listened to it since 1974, I’m still rather fond of it, especially Bowie’s ‘Growing Up And I’m Fine’ which sounds uncannily like a Hunky Dory outtake that never was.


44. SPARKS ‘Talent Is An Asset’ (Kimono My House LP May 1974)

Being a Bowie and Roxy Music devotee made Sparks impossible to resist. Crash landing on our shores as the purported bastard offspring of Doris Day, the curly haired, cherubic Russel and his sinister, Hitler look-a-like older brother Ron combined the baroque grandeur of Gilbert and Sullivan with the queasiness of Cabaret, a propulsive glam swagger and their own comedic wit and virtuoso derring do. The result was Kimono My House, an album packed full of forgotten, intricate, pop songs that deserve to be heard alongside the more acknowledged geniuses of the age.


45. DAVID BOWIE ‘Sweet Thing/Candidate/Sweet Thing (Reprise)’ (Diamond Dogs LP May 1974)

Considering the experimental nature of subsequent Bowie albums, it’s ironic that Diamond Dogs was considered such a radical departure from the definitive glam of Aladdin Sane and Ziggy Stardust when all he really did was take the theatrical approach of a song like ‘Rock n' Roll Suicide’ or ‘Lady Grinning Soul’ and run with it, none more so than on the eight minutes 47 seconds of ‘Sweet Thing/Candidate/Sweet Thing (Reprise)’. A haunting song cycle of Broadway-esque passages, dreamy piano and mourning saxophone, and at the close a dramatic minute or so of harsh industrial noise, it still sounds absolutely astonishing.

46. COCKNEY REBEL ‘Ritz’ (The Psychomodo LP June 1974)

Dismissing guitar heroics as a hippy anachronism, Steve Harley let a caustic violin and classical keyboards battle for glory while his embrace of literate composition, lush orchestration and the avant-garde ensured that Cockney Rebel could never be pigeonholed as mere glam posers. His arrogance and nascent narcissism may have pissed off the self-appointed rock cognoscenti but I loved him regardless. Desperately seeking anything to call my own, ‘Ritz’ and The Psychomodo’s other grandiose, often overreaching songs became instant yet long lasting favourites.


47. BRYAN FERRY ‘Smoke Gets In Your Eyes’ (Another Time, Another Place LP July 1974)

In the summer of 1974, Bryan Ferry’s languid, world weary engagement with Jerome Kern and Otto Harbach’s 1933 show tune ‘Smoke Gets In Your Eyes’ served as a soundtrack for the imaginary film in my head of Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited. A book I’d spent countless hours dissecting for an English O Level exam, it was and still is a literary love that shows no sign of abating any time soon.


48. STEVIE WONDER ‘You Haven’t Done Nothin’ (Fulfillingness First Finale LP July 1974)

Sandwiched between Innervisions and Songs In The Key Of Life, Fulfillingness First Finale is considered very much the poor relation, even though ‘You Haven’t Done Nothin’ is anything but. A politically charged attack on disgraced American President Richard Nixon, with its use of an early drum machine, prehistoric synthesisers and the Jackson 5, it’s as fine and experimental a song as Stevie Wonder released during his mid-seventies peak.


49. SHUGGIE OTIS ‘Aht Uh Mi Hed’ (Inspiration Information LP September 1974)

Not quite as unavailable in 1974 as those who missed out would have us believe, Shuggie Otis’s masterpiece was one of those records the coolest kid at school walked around with under his arm to show how cool he was. Luckily, I knew the coolest kid at my school rather well. Consequently, he had no problem running me off a C90 cassette copy (with Marvin Gaye Live! on the B side) so that I could marvel at Inspiration Information’s wonderfully drowsy, machine driven soul at my own leisure.


50. THE ROLLING STONES ‘It’s Only Rock’n’Roll’ (It’s Only Rock’n’Roll LP October 1974)

When I think of ‘It’s Only Rock’n’Roll’ I think of a bunch of bored out of their brains, fourteen year old lads who in a vain attempt to emulate their heroes dressed up in their mother’s fur coats, cut random chunks out of their hair, shared ten number six from the machine outside the newsagent, got pissed on two litre bottles of Woodpecker cider and learnt to run from the local Neanderthals wishing to do them harm.




51. BETTY WRIGHT ‘Shoorah Shoorah’ (Single A Side January 1975)

It’s rarely mentioned but 1975 was one of the worst years to be a teenager. For starters it was the first time I became fully aware of how grey and mean spirited the times really were. Ok, so my friends and I may have been flouncing around as ridiculous, smalltown, rock’n’roll gypsy boys in a look that was more David Essex than Keith Richards, but most lads our age were dressed in denim, double denim and even more denim. And the girls didn’t look much better.

   As if that wasn’t bad enough, most of the new music I was hearing sounded stale and far too besotted with its own perceived past. The only thing I could find to get excited about was the Saturday night, church hall disco where singles like Betty Wright’s fabulously funky ‘Shoorah Shoorah’ got all the girls dancing and all the boys wishing they could.


52. PETER HAMMILL ‘Nadir’s Big Chance’ (Nadir’s Big Chance LP February 1975)

53. NEU! ‘Hero’ (Neu! 75 LP April 1975)

The weekly New Musical Express was my bible throughout the seventies and beyond, the reviews section letting me know which albums I should be spending my cash on. While British rock culture had seemingly been hijacked by a bunch of lusty voiced, white blues vocalists like the gruesome Paul Rodgers in bollock bulging loon pants braying about their hard lovin’ ways in bogus American accents, the NME tended to feature more challenging artists who were a little harder to find. Uncompromising, surprisingly oppositional and bristling with an air of chaos I’d not heard before, Nadir’s Big Chance and Neu! 75 definitely fitted into that category.


54. THE TUBES ‘White Punks On Dope’ (The Tubes LP June 1975)

What was really depressing about 1975 was the sorry state of a mainstream music culture that continued to be dominated by clapped out sixties icons like Dylan, Neil Young, Pink Floyd, Joni Mitchell, Lennon and McCartney, even Led Zeppelin, who had nothing of value to say, certainly not to a fifteen year for whom music had become the single most important thing in his life.

   Without any kind of coherent underground to speak of, I kept hanging on in there, clinging onto the scattered output as best I could; a decent album review here, an OK group on The Old Grey Whistle Test there. The Tubes were a case in point. Arriving as if from nowhere with a name for sex, satire, biting social commentary, virtuoso art rock, roadies dressed as giant cigarettes and prosthetic penises, their debut couldn’t hope to match their reputation and it didn’t, White Punks On Dope’ their one claim to fame.


55. ROXY MUSIC ‘Love Is The Drug’ (Single A Side October 1975)

No matter how bad things got, and despite Bryan Ferry’s age, sophistication, wealth, status and fabulous life being as far away from that of an awkward and angry fifteen year old as it was possible to be, I knew I could rely on him. And so it proved, the sound of footsteps, a car door opening and an engine starting up providing an irresistible entree to ‘Love Is The Drug’, one of his most immediate songs.


56. THE SENSATIONAL ALEX HARVEY BAND ‘Gamblin’ Bar Room Blues’ (Single A Side November 1975)

The Sensational Alex Harvey Band were an esoteric bunch of misfits in the grand tradition of unapologetic British eccentrics. And yet, despite their boozy sing-a-long take on ‘Gamblin’ Bar Room Blues’ sounding remarkably like it came from some mid-nineties Nick Cave album, they remain buried in the flotsam and jetsam of seventies rock beneath others far less deserving.


57. THE MIGHTY DIAMONDS ‘Right Time’ (Single A Side November 1975)

When I started listening to roots reggae it felt like I’d received an invite to the greatest party in town, the feeling of exclusivity undeniable! My knowledge of Jah, Rastafari, Haile Selassie, Marcus Garvey, Kingston and Babylon was non-existent but that didn’t seem to matter. Hanging around Quicksilver Records in Reading’s Butts Centre every Saturday afternoon to hear the latest batch of imports over the shops deafeningly loud sound system, I found out for myself how roots was a music created for the physical experience, and that the power and directness of records like The Mighty Diamonds ‘Right Time’ was all-pervading.


57. HAROLD MELVIN & THE BLUE NOTES ‘Wake Up Everybody’ (Wake Up Everybody LP November 1975)

In the seventies girls didn’t like rock and my first serious girlfriend was no different, something she let me know when she pointed out how it was all macho bullshit and completely irrelevant to the likes of us. From that moment on I rid myself of any vague notion I may have had of following Bad Company, Nazareth, Montrose or Thin Lizzy down the treacherous dead end to hard rock ruin and instead followed her on the path of righteousness to Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes and the quite wondrous ‘Wake Up Everybody’.


59. THE FATBACK BAND ‘(Are You Ready) Do The Bus Stop’ (Single A Side November 1975)

60. BANBARRA ‘Shack Up’ (Single A Side December 1975)

In the bleak, bitingly cold midwinter of 1975/76, Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ ruled the airwaves. Walk down any street in any town and you could hear it following you around like a bad smell. Pretentious and insulting, even at fifteen I knew it was faux classical high-brow nonsense for the low brow plebeian masses. Number one for nine weeks from the end of November until the end of January, one of the few places to escape it was within the dark fug of The Night Owl in The Top Rank Suite on a Saturday night or the seedy disco clubs, hotels and cellar bars I’d started to frequent where earth shattering funk like The Fatback Band and Banbarra’s ‘Shack Up’ competed for your mind, body and soul.




61. DAVID BOWIE ‘Golden Years’ (Station To Station LP January 1976)

In many ways ‘Golden Years’ was a metaphor for my first serious relationship. On first listen a euphoric, triumphant, pop song boasting ‘nothing’s gonna touch you in these golden years’, from another angle darkly impenetrable and ultimately anything but a good time.


62. THE ROLLING STONES ‘Hot Stuff’ (Black And Blue LP April 1976)

What would turn out to be not only the party album of 1976 with a handful of great songs but also the last time I would bother with The Stones until the nostalgia years of my middle age thirty years later.


63. IAN HUNTER ‘Irene Wilde’ (All American Alien Boy LP May 1976)

1976 was an extraordinary year split asunder by the Sex Pistols. Jesus Johnny Rotten changed my life and not a moment too soon either given how the first six months of the year wasn't such a great time to be sixteen, my world as lethargic and humdrum as ever. When the energy sapping boredom became too much, I would retreat into the sanctity of my bedroom to play Ian Hunter’s new record and vow ‘to be somebody someday’ like the scorned teenager in ‘Irene Wilde’, while not truly believing I had it in me to be anything other than ordinary.


64. THE RAMONES ‘Judy Is A Punk’ (The Ramones LP June 1976)

By the time I got hold of The Ramones on import I’d already witnessed the life changing maelstrom of the Sex Pistols at The 100 Club. No wonder then that The Ramones sounded tame in comparison. Nonetheless, Joey, Johnny, Dee Dee and Tommy’s ultra-fast, three chord bubblegum still proved essential as a high octane blueprint for young punks like me who had no discernible musical ability but were determined to form a group and make their mark any way they could.

65. JUNIOR MURVIN ‘Police And Thieves’ (Single A Side July 1976)

During the long hot summer of 1976, ‘Police And Thieves’ could be heard blasting out of every open doorway and window. But more than anything it reminds me of strolling up a leafy Sulham Hill at 6am on a blindingly sunny Sunday morning to catch the Number 17 bus home after some rich kid’s party in a big house near Pangbourne, and being unable to get the damn tune out of my head having heard it pretty much on repeat all night.


66. THE MODERN LOVERS ‘Roadrunner’ (The Modern Lovers LP October 1976)

‘One, two, three, four, five, six’. Originally recorded in 1972, Jonathan Richman’s energetic condensing of the Velvet Underground’s ‘White Light/White Heat’ was everything anyone needed to know about the musical revolution to come and extremely easy to play when you only knew three chords.


67. EDDIE & THE HOT RODS ‘Teenage Depression’ (Single A Side October 1976)

Shaggy haired, flare wearing, pub rock chumps who, more through luck than judgement, in the autumn of 1976 released the best song to capture what it felt like to be sixteen years old. That is until a week later when I heard….


68. THE DAMNED ‘New Rose’ (Single A Side October 1976)

The Damned preferred dressing up in fancy dress costumes to the anarchic shock of the Pistols or the righteous anger of The Clash and suffered badly for it. Having said that, there’s no denying ‘New Rose’s status as punks first masterpiece. A pure, unadulterated blast of malevolent, primal mania, listening to it now it’s still possible to feel the excitement of that moment.


69. RICHARD HELL ‘(I Belong To The) Blank Generation’ (Another World EP November 1976)

He’s gone down in history as the bloke whose safety pinned shirts and shock of spiky hair invented the early punk look. And yet, Richard Hell is still only remembered for one song, albeit a brilliant, epochal song that helped define a generation.


70. SEX PISTOLS ‘Anarchy In The UK’ (Single A Side November 1976)

Johnny Rotten and the Pistols expanded my limited smalltown horizons exponentially both physically and mentally. But contrary to popular belief, even with the ensuing filth and fury of Bill Grundy and the Today Show, their remarkable debut sank almost without trace. I picked up my own copy from the Boots bargain bin just a couple of days after release for 30p. Three years later in harder times I would sell it for £50.




71. THE BUZZCOCKS ‘Boredom’ (Spiral Scratch EP January 1977)

Howard Devoto’s sardonic encapsulation of his personal circumstances and the cartoon like direction he felt punk was heading in were captured on this now iconic four track EP that cost just £500 to make. Proving that anyone could release a record without the financial assistance of an established label, it also served as the UK’s first independent single.


72. TELEVISION ‘Marquee Moon’ (Marquee Moon LP February 1977)

An astonishingly beautiful record justifiably regarded as one of the greatest and most influential of the punk era, despite being the polar opposite of everything the word ‘punk’ would end up meaning.


73. CULTURE ‘Two Sevens Clash’ (Two Sevens Clash LP March 1977)

During the summer of 1977, Two Sevens Clash was the reggae album on every punk’s turntable. Not necessarily the greatest roots record of all time but one that was remarkably tuneful and so full of propaganda it made The Clash’s debut seem wishy washy in comparison.


74. IGGY POP ‘Nightclubbing’ (The Idiot LP March 1977)

The eighteen months Iggy Pop and David Bowie spent together at Hauptstrasse 155 getting over their various addictions and differing states of paranoia would turn out to be the most productive period of their lives. While Bowie set to work on his infamous Berlin trilogy, the notoriously unproductive Iggy released two albums in 1977 alone, the first of which proved a far cry from the brutal assault of The Stooges.

   Deliberately stark, electronic and experimental, ‘Nightclubbing’ was typical of his new direction. Throbbing with the sleazy ambience of an underground Berlin night club, the persistent disco thud was slowed down just enough to create a fucked up dance hybrid for the hordes of drugged up zombies the recuperating couple would encounter when they ventured out after dark.


75. KRAFTWERK ‘Trans Europe Express’ (Trans Europe Express LP April 1977)

A huge influence on Bowie and Iggy, the outwardly icy and aloof Kraftwerk couldn’t resist name dropping the celebrity duo’s names into the title track of Trans Europe Express. It was a record that that not only invented electro funk via black Bronx kid Afrika Bambaataa and white hippy producer Arthur Baker, but also laid the foundations for synth pop, the new romantics and if that wasn’t enough, the recordings of an Italian pop genius called Giorgio Moroder!


76. SEX PISTOLS ‘God Save The Queen’ (Single A Side May 1977)

Essential punk record number one.


77. THE CLASH ‘Complete Control’ (Single A Side May 1977)

‘Complete Control’ almost matched ‘God Save The Queen’ as the supreme expression of what punk was all about. A self-mythologising tale about The Clash’s record label which somehow turned into Joe Strummer’s startling manifesto about integrity, defiance and the shifting scales of expectation, whereas the Pistols offered ‘No Future’, with their natural honesty and desire for the truth, The Clash offered a way out of the chaos.  


78. DAVID BOWIE ‘Heroes’ (Single A Side October 1977)

In January 1977 I was so deeply immersed in punk that after one duty bound play through, I put Low to one side and forgot all about it. Ten months later I was in a different head space that left me more open to Bowie re-entering my life and powerless to resist the wonder of ‘Heroes’ even if I’d wanted to.


79. ULTRAVOX! ‘Hiroshima Mon Amour’ (Ha! Ha! Ha! LP October 1977)

Pre punk before punk, post punk before punk had finished, sonically the original John Foxx version of Ultravox! were headed on a similar trajectory to 1977 vintage Bowie, even going so far as to employ the services of Low collaborator Brian Eno for their eponymous debut. Eight months later, while everyone else was concentrating on writing frantic, two minute, punk classics, Ha! Ha! Ha! gave us the dark, European electronica of ‘Hiroshima Mon Amour’. In 1977 it sounded impossibly romantic and futuristic. In the third decade of the 21st century it still sounds impossibly romantic and futuristic!


80. WIRE ‘Three Girl Rhumba’ (Pink Flag LP November 1977)

Older and more ambitious than the gobbing, safety pinned hordes, Wire compensated for their lack of musical know-how with an academic, art enriched approach to music making. Pink Flag contained 21 great ideas spread over 21 succinct songs, each one stretched until it could yield no more, a process that rarely took more than two minutes and often took considerably less, the influential ‘Three Girl Rhumba’ a mere one minute 23 seconds long. What’s even more amazing is that Wire never let their methodology stand in the way of a fabulous tune, the records marriage of beret wearing intellectualism and sinewy pop simplicity marking it out as unique amongst its more intellectually challenged peers.




81. MAGAZINE ‘Shot By Both Sides’ (Single A Side January 1978)

In 1978 Howard Devoto had it all, an artful highbrow bunch of skilled musicians and a thundering debut of a single heralding the dawn of the new post punk era.


82. BUZZCOCKS ‘What Do I Get?’ (Single A Side January 1978)

Meanwhile, under the guidance of former co-conspirator Pete Shelley, Devoto’s old outfit were busy perfecting their role as undisputed masters of inventive, heart-on-sleeve, melodious punk on their greatest ever single.


83. XTC ‘Statue Of Liberty’ (Single A Side January 1978)

While punk was quintessentially metropolitan, XTC were knocking around in the wilds of Wiltshire and playing dives like The Target pub in Reading every couple of weeks. The closest thing my tight knit bunch of misfits had to a group we could call our own, Andy Partridge and Colin Moulding were terminally unhip middle class lads who wrote scratchy, angular tunes like ‘Statue Of Liberty’. They were also the first to acknowledge that more than anyone it was the bored provincial kids like us who really needed the new punk thrill and a reason to believe, as opposed to the older Kings Road and Notting Hill hipsters already living their bohemian lives.


84. THE ONLY ONES ‘Another Girl, Another Planet’ (Single A Side April 1978)

Led by the mercurial, hopelessly addicted Peter Perrett, The Only Ones were never even close to punk, not in any way, shape or form. Even so, they certainly had the movement to thank for smashing down the door that allowed them to get a record deal in the first place and release this timeless, post punk, pop classic.


85. THROBBING GRISTLE ‘United’ (Single A Side May 1978)

Throbbing Gristle were my introduction to the crepuscular world of lo-fi, post punk esoterica and in their own way were just as important as the Sex Pistols. ‘United’ was their seven inch, electro pop paean to obsession that made me realise why their form of sonic terrorism might just be the logical next step for punk’s DIY ideal. After all, why bother with three chords when none at all would do?


86. THE CLASH ‘White Man In The Hammersmith Palais’ (Single A Side June 1978)

The finest Clash tune of them all and by some distance the most important legacy of Joe Strummer’s brilliantly searching mind.


87. SIOUXSIE & THE BANSHEES ‘Hong Kong Garden’ (Single A Side August 1978)

Mapping out a place for new music to travel to didn’t stop Siouxsie & The Banshees taking their long awaited debut single into the top ten. With an irresistible xylophone intro, some strange oriental guitar and Siouxsie’s ice queen cries, ‘Hong Kong Garden’ sounds just as radical and exhilarating today as it did then, although its probably best to ignore the questionable lyrics supposedly inspired by an incident involving some racist skinheads at Siouxsie’s local Chinese takeaway in Chistlehurst.


88. PUBLIC IMAGE LTD ‘Public Image’ (Single A Side October 1978)

For all of John Lydon’s post Pistols rejection of rock, ‘Public Image’ was a staggeringly brutal statement of intent, the glorious minimalism of Jah Wobble’s booming two note bassline and Keith Levene’s ringing guitar shadowing Lydon’s exorcism of Johnny Rotten, the Sex Pistols descent into hell, Malcolm McLaren, sad Sid Vicious and his audience. He wanted nothing more to do with the whole sorry mess and really who could blame him?


89. SUBWAY SECT ‘Ambition’ (Single A Side October 1978)

It’s a shame that nothing remains of the mark one line up of Subway Sect, the four teenage schoolmates from South West London who couldn’t afford instruments when they first got together so made do by recording themselves on cassette performing the works of 17th century French playwright Molière. Instead we have Subway Sect mark two and sole original member Vic Godard’s swirling, curiously poppy ‘Ambition’ and its extraordinary opening line ‘You can take it or leave it as far as we’re concerned because we’re not concerned with you’.

90. THE FALL ‘Various Times’ (Single B Side November 1978)

The last of his kind from a time before music culture became gentrified like everything else, Mark E. Smith was never afraid to ridicule and expose the bullshit we insist on surrounding ourselves with, focusing not on the big topics or the grand conspiracies but on the day to day irritations. 'Various Times' was the B side of The Fall’s second single ‘It’s The New Thing’ and the place where my love for them really began. Encapsulating most of what would make him great, it will always remind me of his genius.




91. THE CURE ’10.15 Saturday Night’ (Three Imaginary Boys LP May 1979)

1979 was a vintage year for alienation. Stuck in my damp, dark, Christchurch Road, basement bedsit with only my own paranoia for company, I found some comfort in Robert Smith’s smalltown tales of woe, the minimal icy veneer of ’10.15 Saturday Night’ feeling starkly reflective of the times. Never before had a song written about a dripping tap sounded so welcoming.


92. TUBEWAY ARMY ‘Down In The Park’ (Replicas LP June 1979)

So what if Gary Numan was Bowie for thickos and his suburban sci-fi pose a load of nonsense. If someone as unattractive as him, with a voice as daft as his and a one fingered, play-by-numbers approach to songwriting could make such a brilliant noise and reinvent himself as the nation’s favourite pop cyber god, then anyone could.


93. CABARET VOLTAIRE ‘Nag Nag Nag’ (Single A Side June 1979)

Unlike the boy Numan, for all their grim, thought provoking manifestos and visuals, early Throbbing Gristle albums were wholly unlistenable. On the other hand, their equally influential northern counterparts Cabaret Voltaire were infinitely more appealing. ‘Nag Nag Nag’, with its homebuilt Practical Electronics magazine drum machine, fizzing white noise, radio messages and reproachful vocals, still sounded as bleak as bleak could be, but at least you could hum along to it if you so wished!


94. JOY DIVISION ‘Shadowplay’ (Unknown Pleasures LP June 1979)

Unknowable and profoundly mysterious, Unknown Pleasures was an album I struggled to understand. Considering how it sounded like it had arrived through a portal from another time and place that was understandable. And yet, it remains fundamentally inscrutable even now. As my old mate John Robb wrote: ‘Unknown Pleasures once sounded like the future. Its genius is that four decades later it still sounds like the future.’


95. PUBLIC IMAGE LTD ‘Death Disco’ (Single A Side June 1979)

Less a song, more an exorcism, John Lydon’s disturbingly profound, darkly comic lament about his dying mother was so far removed from punk, pop, rock or anything else that in one fell swoop it rid him of the demands of the new punk tribe for whom Sham 69 and the UK Subs were apparently enough.


96. BAUHAUS ‘Bela Lugosi’s Dead’ (Single A Side August 1979)

Totally unlike anything else Bauhaus would record during their five year existence, ‘Bela Lugosi’s Dead’s skittering, dub inflected, nine minute plus treatise on virginal brides, black capes, tombs, bats, bell towers and a B movie Count Dracula who died in 1956 proved to be goth ground zero, not that anyone, least of all Bauhaus, knew it at the time.


97. THE SLITS ‘Love Und Romance’ (Cut LP September 1979)

Playful and savage, confrontational and contradictory, Cut still sounds as wild and untamed as the mud splattered superwomen staring out from the sleeve, its febrile energy and slippery grooves creating a space large enough for seventeen year old Ari Up’s bewildering array of enunciations on marriage, sexism, love, heroin, consumerism, TV, radio and The Slits refusal to believe in such a world. If that makes Cut sound in anyway earnest or po-faced I don’t mean it too. How could I when it’s the most wonderful denial of an oppressive and repressive society I’m ever going to hear?


98. GANG OF FOUR ‘Natural’s Not In It’ (Entertainment LP September 1979)

If punk was nihilistic and destructive, post punk was the polar opposite, positive and constructive, a reason to get excited again with a mesh of activity and discussion that made my world more interesting and my life more meaningful. Punk may have been the shared point of origin but what followed was a space of possibility where anything could happen and very often did. And no album exemplified that possibility more than the Gang of Four’s Entertainment and jittery, fury driven songs like ‘Natural’s Not In It’.


99. THE POP GROUP ‘We Are All Prostitutes’ (Single A Side November 1979)

Despite their ironic name, The Pop Group were deadly serious about cooking up unhinged sonic missives informed by Afro beat, free jazz, funk, dub, Marxist politics, extreme Dadaist poetry and rampant self-expression. ‘We Are All Prostitutes’ was self-explanatory, a barrage of right angles, jagged shards of melody and a coiled rage that would fuel the eighties post punk underground. It seems extraordinary now that music like this even existed, never mind that it became so influential and critically acclaimed.


100. THE CLASH ‘Armagideon Time’ (Single B Side December 1979)

Is there any finer way to end such a tumultuous decade than with The Clash’s version of Willie William’s underground roots reggae treatise on Judgement Day when only the righteous would be spared? Released just a couple of weeks before I turned twenty, with its religious undertow and jingling sleigh bells, I remember it felt surprisingly like a Christmas record from some kind of alternative universe, a weeping, terrifying glimpse into a new decade of Thatcher and the Tory Reich and a long, long way from the naïve innocence of Top of the Pops, 1970 and my ten year old self!