The Damned - Shoot fast, shoot straight but don't hit the bystanders.

The Damned: “Is She Really Going Out With Him?” – The First Punk Single – Past Daily Weekend Pop Chronicles.

The Damned – Shoot fast, shoot straight but don’t hit the bystanders.

BBC Radio 2 – The Damned: “Is She Really Going Out With Him?” – 2006 – BBC Radio 2 –

Hard to imagine but October 22, 1976, forty-six years ago, and what has been widely considered the first Punk Rock single to be released on a largely unsuspecting world.

This BBC Radio 2 Documentary, first aired in 2006, traces the history and the events that made The Damned one of the three premier bands of the Punk Rock Era. Largely considered not the most notorious (as the Sex Pistols were) or as credible (as The Clash were) they retained the mantle of being the first to release what has been the milestone record of the Punk-Rock era; New Rose by The Damned.

Looking back on it now, it was very apparent the Punk movement would have greater impact in the UK than it would in the U.S., although every band who released anything in that mid/late-70s period had an eye for touring the U.S. – The Damned were no different. If anything, Punk represented more of a political statement than just a musical genre exploding on the scene. And maybe that was the big difference between Punk in the UK and Punk in the U.S. – America was still going through its Disco phase, with West-Coast laid-back rock being the go-to genre. And even though UK Punk did made inroads, and influenced a number of American bands to take Punk seriously, it wasn’t until New Wave arrived that elements of Punk had much impact on American audiences.

One of the upshots Punk did give the world was the DIY movement – Do It Yourself. This was where bands pooled their resources, pressing and selling their own records (primarily 45s), bypassing the Major labels and going straight to the audience. The big difference was the distribution and that was much more problematic in the U.S. than the UK, simply as a matter of how easy it was to drive from one side of the UK to the other, versus doing the same thing in America – big difference.

But 1976 was a turning point in music – maybe it wasn’t intended to be universally loved and accepted by everyone, but it eventually made its presence known throughout the rest of the world.

And it was The Damned who got the ball rolling.

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