– Sham ’69 – Live at Paris Theatre, London – February 21, 1979 – BBC 6 Music –
One of the first wave of Punk bands, Sham ’69 got started in 1976 – and called it quits (initially) in 1979, shortly after this concert. During their tenure, they were hugely popular in the U.K. and throughout Europe, but didn’t quite crack the U.S. market. It didn’t matter, as the band managed to secure 5 singles in the top 20 charts in the UK, the first Punk band to accomplish that feat.
Admittedly, Punk in the U.S. was having a slightly uphill battle – not having the same social consciousness prevalent as the UK side of things. One of Sham ’69’s most memorable songs, If The Kids Are United, just didn’t have the same sense of urgency to the listener in Los Angeles as it did in, say London.
In 1987, Sham 69 were resurrected with a different line-up; Ian Whitewood on drums, Andy Prince on bass, Tony Hardie-Bick (“Tony Bic”) on keyboards and Linda Paganelli on saxophone, releasing the album Volunteer and the singles “Rip and Tear” and “Outside the Warehouse”. The album Live at CBGB’s also features this line-up. The next studio album, Information Libre, has Patricia de Mayo on keyboards. Andy Prince went on to join the Magic Mushroom Band, and Whitewood was replaced on drums by Sonny Boy Williamson, who played on the Soapy Water and Mister Marmalade album and the singles “Uptown”, “Action Time & Vision” and “Girlfriend”.
Sham 69 have been cited as a major influence on the Oi! musical genre of UK punk’s decrying affectation in the late 1970s, and also on the working class street punk musical genre of the 1980s.
But as a reminder of what a driving force Punk was in the UK, here is a sample of what audiences were discovering, by way of the BBC’s Paris Theatre in London in 1979 with Sham ’69 at the helm.
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