Monday, February 17, 2014

Various Artists - 1-2-3-4: Punk & New Wave 1976-1979 (5 Discs)

For such a precedent-shattering and groundbreaking genre, the Golden Age of punk rock was relatively short-lived. Although it's tough to nail down a definitive start to the punk era, 1975 seems to be the consensus, based on the rise that year of such New York City bands/musicians as The Ramones, Patti Smith and Television, and the emergence of The Buzzcocks and The Sex Pistols in the UK. But long before the end of the '70s, punk was already disintegrating, splintering into several different genres - post-punk, New Wave, hardcore, No Wave, Oi!, psychobilly, etc.

Even during its heyday, "punk" was more about the methods, means and attitude by which these musicians approached their music, rather than defining a uniform sound and approach. The Clash, The Jam, Talking Heads, X and The Damned are all considered some of the classic bands to come out of that era, but you'd be hard-pressed to come up with an all-encompassing description/definition of "punk" from their music. This wide variation in the sound and style of what was considered "punk" is one of the genre's strengths, but an aspect that makes the era particularly difficult to summarize and anthologize.

Now, I own a gazillion single- and multi-disc punk and New Wave compilations: Burning Ambitions: A History of Punk (Vols. 1 & 2); Rhino's D.I.Y. series from the mid-90s; The Number One Punk Album, and so forth and so on. I've got overviews of American punk, British punk, Australian punk - you name it. Some of them are pretty good, most of them are OK/so-so, and a couple are absolutely terrible. None of them serve to effectively capture the entire era. And for years, I figured that there would never be a release of any length that could do so. That is, until the late 1990s.

I recall reading about this set in the late winter/early spring of 1999, when I lived in Texas. There was an article about its upcoming release in one of the UK music magazines I regularly read back then - Q, the NME . . . I don't recall which one. But I do recall the glowing review the magazine gave to this box set; it completely whetted my appetite for it. There used to be a Virgin Megastore at the mall near where I used to live in Grapevine - I made a beeline down to it and immediately put in a special order for the set, since it was not slated to be released in the States. The thing finally arrived in May, a month after its UK release - a long black slab with protruding silver studs numbered "1, 2, 3, 4" on the front of the box, containing five enveloped CDs of music and a mammoth book of liner notes containing details on every single song.

Now, I'm usually against overarching compilations in general; I have been disappointed time and time again by these sorts of overviews falling short of their intentions. In my opinion, the only music comps in the past fifty years that have even come close to thoroughly cataloging and celebrating a specific genre are as follows:
  1. The Nuggets garage rock compilation;
  2. Harry Smith's Anthology of American Folk Music;
  3.  . . . and this one.
The compilers do their best to pull together most of the highlights (and a few low-lights) from those years; check out the song lineup:

Disc 1:
1. Complete Control - The Clash
2. Anarchy In The UK - The Sex Pistols
3. New Rose - The Damned
4. Blitzkrieg Bop - The Ramones
5. Shadow - The Lurkers
6. Thinking Of The USA - Eater
7. Ain't Bin To No Music School - The Nosebleeds
8. Borstal Breakout - Sham 69
9. I Hate School - Suburban Studs
10. GLC - Menace
11. One Chord Wonders - The Adverts
12. Right To Work - Chelsea
13. Johnny Won't Go To Heaven - The Killjoys
14. Bone Idle - The Drones
15. Where Have All The Boot Boys Gone - Slaughter & The Dogs
16. C.I.D. - UK Subs
17. Can't Wait 'til '78 - The Wasps
18. Ambition - Subway Sect
19. I'm Stranded - The Saints
20. Orgasm Addict - The Buzzcocks
Disc 2:
1. In The City - The Jam
2. Your Generation - Generation X
3. First Time - The Boys
4. Get A Grip (On Yourself) - The Stranglers
5. Don't Dictate - Penetration
6. In A Rut - The Ruts
7. Big Time - Rudi
8. Don't Ring Me Up - Protex
9. Justa Nother Teenage Rebel - The Outcasts
10. Solitary Confinement - The Members
11. Emergency - 999
12. 19 And Mad - Leyton Buzzards
13. I'm In Love With Margaret Thatcher - Not Sensibles
14. Romford Girls - Riff Raff
15. Sick Of You - The Users
16. Gabrielle - The Nips
17. Where Were You - The Mekons
18. Murder Of Liddle Towers - Angelic Upstarts
19. Oh Bondage Up Yours - X-Ray Spex
20. Sweet Suburbia - Skids
21. Television Screen - The Radiators
22. Alternative Ulster - Stiff Little Fingers
23. Teenage Kicks - The Undertones
Disc 3:
1. Teenage Depression - Eddie & The Hot Rods
2. Rich Kids - Rich Kids
3. Baby Baby (I Know You're A Lady) - The Vibrators
4. Suffice To Say - Yachts
5. Roadrunner - Richman, Jonathan & The Modern Lovers
6. Don't Care - Klark Kent
7. Nervous Wreck - Radio Stars
8. Up Against The Wall - Robinson, Tom Band
9. So It Goes - Lowe, Nick
10. Police Car - Wallis, Larry
11. Hard Loving Man - Moped, Johnny
12. Love And A Molotov Cocktail - The Flys
13. Where's Captain Kirk - Spizzenergi
14. Sonic Reducer - Dead Boys
15. Search And Destroy - The Dictators
16. Born To Lose - The Heartbreakers
17. Modern Dance - Pere Ubu
18. Fuck Off - The Electric Chairs
19. California Uber Alles - Dead Kennedys
Disc 4:
1. I Belong To The Blank Generation - Hell, Richard & The Voidoids
2. 10.15 Saturday Night - TheCure
3. Rip Her To Shreds - Blondie
4. I Can't Stand My Baby - The Rezillos
5. All I Want - Snatch
6. Looking After No 1 - The Boomtown Rats
7. Take Me I'm Yours - Squeeze
8. Sex And Drugs And Rock 'n' Roll - Dury, Ian & The Blockheads
9. Spanish Stroll - Mink DeVille
10. Is She Really Going Out With Him - Jackson, Joe
11. Whole Wide World - Wreckless Eric
12. Part Time Punks - Television Personalities
13. Safety Pin Stuck In My Heart - Fitzgerald, Patrick
14. You Can't Put Your Arms Around A Memory - Thunders, Johnny
15. Psycle Sluts - Clarke, John Cooper
16. Jilted John - Jilted John
17. Kill - Alberto Y Los Trios Paranoias
18. Paranoid - The Dickies
Disc 5:
1. Public Image - Public Image Ltd.
2. Warsaw - Joy Division
3. Staircase Mystery - Siouxsie & The Banshees
4. Damaged Goods - Gang Of Four
5. You - Au Pairs
6. How Much Longer - Au Pairs
7. Read About Seymour - Swell Maps
8. Young Parisians - Adam & The Ants
9. Monochrome Set - The Monochrome Set
10. We Are All Prostitutes - The Pop Group
11. Typical Girls - The Slits
12. Mannequin - Wire
13. Shot By Both Sides - Magazine
14. Science Fiction - XTC
15. Do The Standing Still - The Table
16. Another Girl Another Planet - The Only Ones
17. Young Savage - Ultravox
18. Puppet Life - Punishment Of Luxury
19. Jocko Homo - Devo
20. Marquee Moon - Television
As I alluded to earlier, the purpose of box sets such as this one is to provide the listener with an overview of a particular era or type of music. I know full well that it's damn near impossible to include everything - that would defeat the purpose of having such a set. Instead of providing the whole kit and kaboodle, a compilation like this one should effectively answer two questions:
a) "Does this set provide the listener with a insightful look into the genre?" and
b) "Upon completion, has the listener learned something useful about the genre?" 
In the case of 1-2-3-4: Punk & New Wave 1976-1979, the answer to both questions, in my opinion, is YES.

It's been almost fifteen years after the release of possibly the most definitive punk compilation of all time, and you NEVER hear anything about this set. In fact, 1-2-3-4 is currently out of print, which I regard as just another example of the recording industry's insanity and ass-forward thinking. This comp should never be allowed to lapse.

Therefore, it lives on here. For your listening pleasure, I present to you the superb 1-2-3-4: Punk & New Wave 1976-1979, released on April 19th, 1999 by Universal Music (UK) Ltd. Enjoy these one hundred prime cuts of '70s musical goodness . . . and as always, let me know what you think.

Please use the email link below to contact me, and I will reply with the download link(s) ASAP:

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  1. Hello HFM Aid00 Here I'm Here At

  2. Fantastic collection, most of which I listened to back in the day. Thanks for sharing this one, a great mix of the movement.

  3. Absolutely gorgeous collection including some of my favourite anthems. Thanks a lot.

  4. Just downloaded, can't wait to listen. I own that No. 1 Punk Album, and the track selection is kind of naff, no doubt due to licensing constraints. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Wow. This is a collection I've been looking for -- for a very long time.

  6. Just got around to downloading this and had to send my thanks for the links. I'm sure everyone has a fave that wasn't included, but it pretty much covers all the relevent artists from the period. Thanks
    Steve B, Sydney

  7. Great album, man thanks and have you SEEN how much that longbox goes for on Ebay?!?

    1. Yes, I have . . . which is another reason why I decided to post this here! Enjoy!

  8. Outstanding overview and incredible collection! All essential listening for those who either lived it... or for those who missed it the first time but can appreciate this era's significance in Rock & Roll history!! Thank you for this posting, the links and this great blog!

  9. Thanks so much, this comp rules and I super appreciate you hooking it up after I lost my copy!

  10. Much thanks for this. Probably the best of all the 70s punk comps - and given the price it now goes for, sadly one that I missed. Cheers Sim T, Melbourne

  11. Many thanks for posting this great punk box-set. Whilst I'm familiar with some of the well-known bands on this comp there seems to be much to explore. Thanks again!

  12. Nice tunes delivered by an even nicer guy! Thanks again hombre.

  13. Great collection for beginners.

  14. An outstanding collection. Many thanks.

  15. Thank you so much for this one! You have made my day!

  16. Not sure my first comment went through, so again,,, I THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS ONE!

  17. Fantastic compilation, so many rarities that aren't available on any streaming or purchase service. Snatch is a real find. Even the Au Pairs songs aren't on the comps on iTunes. Great review, too.

  18. I have this box, and I wanted to hear it but it's 700 miles away right now. Thanks for helping out. :)

  19. Brilliant! Thanks so much!

  20. Had the majority of these on 45 so its great to get such a good selection in one place.What a great compilation.Thank you for the link! Cheers!

  21. This was a box set I intended to pick up when it was available. Sort of like a shopping list, an absolute primer for the whole of the genre. So glad to have it now.

  22. So happy to listen and jump around to this! Thanks a lot! Makes me realize once again the Damned were the loudest and best.
    Nick Wijnkooper

  23. super compilation! thank you so much!!

  24. Thank you for providing this box set, takes me back to my schooldays when punk exploded onto the scene in UK.

  25. I am looking forward to checking this out!!

  26. Many thanks for this! Looking forward to digging thru it! Lot of good stuff.

  27. Thank you, P. P. Soaked Heckhole! -L.K.

  28. Thank you. Impresionante este boxset

  29. Amazing post! Thank you so much.

  30. Great post, thanks for uploading!

  31. Fantastic to find this! Thanks for exposing this to a wider audience.

  32. So great to see this, thanks very much!

  33. Thanks so much for this seminal compilation. Cheers PPSHH!

  34. I appreciate that you'd sent the link for this so quickly ... and I apologize that it took me a while to listen to all of it ... but I do agree with your assessment of this set as a worthy chronicle of a brief & turbulent era. Thanks for your interesting and informative blog! ^_^

  35. Thank you very much for the compilation and for the very quick answer. Among "Left of the Dial" and "No Thanks! The '70s Punk Rebellion" this should be the best compilation for this kind of music & time as per rate your music:

    1000 thanks & kind regards

  36. Thanks very much--this is such a great collection!