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Thursday, April 5, 2012

"New Rose"

The Damned - "New Rose" (1976)

The first British punk band to release a single.

Released a month after Australia's own The Saints started selling records, The Damned were Britain's earliest recorded punk act, and then morphed into becoming the forerunners of the goth-rock subculture. Lead singer Dave Vanian has, since the inception of the band, worn his hair slicked back, dark makeup around his eyes and white makeup on the rest of his face. That's not the only thing that sets The Damned apart from other punk bands.

While the music is straight ahead punk, the lyrics are upbeat and actually about a boy who has a great girl, so great in fact that he thinks he may not deserve her. The opening line "/Is she really going out with him/" (James) ties the song back to "Leader of the Pack" by The Shangri-Las, but this song is almost sung from the point of view of the rebel who is dating the cheerleader. Musically the song is basic chords and the bass doubling the guitar for the most part making it really simple and really punk. The drum opening is also perfectly punk, it's loud, aggressive, and simplistic. This song is 'important' because it's the first single from a British punk band, the proverbial first shot, but it's worth remembering because it's different. Punk doesn't have to be all disaffected youth and dead end streets; sometimes punk gets a girlfriend, and that's not a bad thing.

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