Continuing the long-look back at Punk during its 40th anniversary with a John Peel session by Stiff Little Fingers, from September 3, 1979.
Formed in Belfast, and originally playing covers of other bands, Still Little Fingers emerged in 1977, at the height of “the troubles” in Northern Ireland and became one of the first Punk bands to come out of Ireland.
It was due in no small measure from the efforts of John Peel, who got a copy of their debut single Suspect Device and proceeded to play it repeatedly, which led to the band being signed to a distribution deal via Rough Trade.
During the next few years, the band toured, opening for The Tom Robinson band and gigging almost non-stop. Their debut album was released in 1979 (around the time of this session). Inflammable Material was a big success for the band, hitting #4 on the British charts. After changing distribution to Chrysalis Records, they issued their follow-up album, Nobody’s Heroes in 1980.
Nobody’s Heroes proved to be a breakthrough for the band in terms of commercial success. Their appearance on Top Of The Pops succeeded in getting them banned, and it was the start of a series of disagreements and fallouts which would eventually cause the band to split in 1983 amid fistfights, rather than discussing differences.
The split wasn’t permanent however. Still Little Fingers reformed in 1987 and continue to this day, but with several personnel changes.
Another band who put their indelible stamp on Punk during its formative years. If you aren’t familiar with them, or haven’t heard their earlier live stuff (I ran a couple of their 1980 concerts a few years ago), this is a good place to start.
A notable band who made some indelible contributions – who are still around to tell the story.