On this day in music history: October 27, 1977 – “Never Mind The Bollocks, Here’s The Sex Pistols”, the debut album by The Sex Pistols is released. Produced by Chris Thomas and Bill Price, it is recorded at Wessex Sound Studios in London from March – June 1977. The Pistols begin recording their only album, after being dropped by A&M Records. New bassist Sid Vicious is added after Glen Matlock departs, but can barely play. Guitarist Steve Jones does double duty, playing bass as well when Matlock isn’t paid in advance to play. Still without a record deal as the sessions progress, manager Malcolm McLaren negotiates with Virgin Records who release “God Save The Queen” (#2 UK), after A&M cancels its release and sign the band. The album creates an immediate sensation in the UK, entering the charts at #1, in spite of several major distributors banning and refusing to handle it. Warner Bros. Records picks up the album for release in the US. The album is also the subject of an obscenity case when a Virgin Record store manager in Nottingham is arrested for displaying the album cover in a shop window, citing that the word “bollocks” is obscene. The case is heard in court on November 24, 1977 and is thrown out when the court finds that the word is not obscene. In time, the album is regarded as one the greatest and most influential punk recordings of all time. It is initially released with eleven songs, omitting the track “Sub-Mission”. The running order is quickly shifted, adding it back into the track listing, and are in UK record stores by early November. As a result of the late addition, the first two pressings of the album do not feature a track listing on the back of the LP sleeve. There is similar confusion in the US when Warner Bros releases album, with “Sub-Mission” not listed on the sleeve back. The label hastily prints a sticker with the song title which is affixed to the back. The album is remastered and reissued in the UK for its thirtieth anniversary in 2007, as a three CD box set + DVD and bonus 7" of “God Save The Queen” b/w “No Feelings”. It is also issued separately as a 180 gram LP with a poster and a bonus 7" of “Sub-Mission” b/w “Pretty Vacant”. Another limited edition double LP set issued on color vinyl (one yellow and one pink). The second LP features a live concert recorded in Stockholm, Sweden in July of 1977, with the Pistols performing “Bollocks” in its entirety. It is also reissued in the US on 180 gram vinyl by Rhino Records in 2008, even replicating the original copies with the “Sub-Mission” sticker on the back. “Never Mind The Bollocks” is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 2015. “Never Mind The Bollocks, Here’s The Sex Pistols” spends two weeks at number one on the UK album chart, peaking at number one hundred six on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: October 20, 1980 – “Catholic Boy”, the debut album by The Jim Carroll Band is released. Produced by Earl McGrath and Bob Clearmountain, it is recorded at The Power Station in New York City from June – August 1980. A gifted poet and writer since his teens, Jim Carroll sees his poetry work published in magazines and book form beginning in the late 60’s and early 70’s. He finds greater fame in 1978 when his autobiography “The Basketball Diaries” is released. The bold and starkly honest book is drawn from personal diary entries written between the ages of twelve and sixteen. Carroll writes about his Catholic school upbringing, being a high school basketball star and his sexual experiences before spiraling down into heroin addiction. By the late 70’s, Carroll is able to recover his sobriety while continuing to write, and takes an unexpected career turn. Having been roommates with fellow poet and punk rock pioneer Patti Smith and photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, Smith encourages Jim to start his own band. In 1979, Carroll forms The Jim Carroll Band with band members Steve Linsley (bass), Wayne Woods (drums), Brian Linsley and Terrell Winn (guitars). After playing together for a short time, the band are signed to Atlantic subsidiary Atco Records. The raw, rudimentary instrumentation featuring Carroll’s dark and powerful lyrics make for a compelling combination. The band are also supported in studio by Rolling Stones side man Bobby Keys (saxophone) and Blue Öyster Cult keyboardist Allen Lanier. The album’s cover photo is taken by famed photographer Annie Leibovitz (Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair). Though only a modest success, “Catholic Boy” receives attention and acclaim for the single “People Who Died”. Written as an elegy to Carroll’s fallen friends, the song becomes a punk rock classic and an enduring pop cultural touchstone. It is heard briefly in the 80’s blockbuster “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial”, and is later featured in the film adaptation of “The Basketball Diaries” in 1995, with Leonardo DiCapro portraying Jim Carroll. Carroll himself also makes a cameo appearance in the film as a junkie. With the original version being featured on the soundtrack album, a music video for “People Who Died” is shot featuring clips from the film inter cut with Carroll performing the song. “Boy” is released on CD by Atco/Atlantic in 1989. “Catholic Boy” peaks at number seventy three on the Billboard Top 200.
On this day in music history: October 1, 1984 – “Too Tough To Die”, the eighth album by the Ramones is released. Produced by Tommy Ramone and Ed Stasium, it is recorded at Daily Planet Studios in New York City from Early – Mid 1984. The first album to feature new drummer Richie Ramone, it marks a return to the bands original high energy punk rock sound. Bassist Dee Dee Ramone writes or co-writes nine of the albums thirteen songs. The albums cover photo is an homage to the Stanley Kubrick film “A Clockwork Orange”, with the band members striking a pose similar to the one by the droogs in the classic film. In 2002, the album is remastered and reissued on CD by Warner Archives/Rhino in an expanded edition that contains twelve additional bonus tracks, including demo versions of several songs, alternate takes and unreleased songs from the sessions including the bands cover of The Rolling Stones classic “Street Fighting Man”. "Too Tough To Die" peaks at number one hundred seventy one on the Billboard Top 200.
On this day in music history: September 21, 1985 – “Fishbone”, the debut EP by Fishbone is released. Produced by David Kahne, it is recorded at Sunset Sound Factory in Hollywood, CA and Eldorado Recording Studios in Burbank, CA from Late 1984 – Mid 1985. Friends since junior high school, the core of Fishbone is formed around brothers John Norwood Fisher (bass) and Phillip “Fish” Fisher (drums) “Dirty Walt” A. Kibby II (vocals, trumpet), Kendall Jones (guitar, keyboards), and Christopher Dowd (keyboards, vocals). The group begin jamming and rehearsing at the Fishers home in South Central Los Angeles. At this time, all five are bussed to another high school in the San Fernando Valley, where they meet Angelo Moore (vocals, saxophone). First calling themselves Megatron, they change their name to Fishbone with Moore as lead singer. Having a wildly eclectic and manic music style that includes funk, R&B, rock, ska and punk, Fishbone establishes themselves on L.A.’s thriving underground punk scene quickly becoming an attraction and developing a following. Fishbone are discovered by Columbia Records A&R man and producer David Kahne in 1983 when they’re playing a club. He offers to sign the band and take them into the studio. Kahne and Fishbone emerge from the studio with a six track EP featuring all original material written by mostly by guitarist Kendall Jones with contributions from Norwood and Angelo. The bands now trademark “fishbone” logo featured on the back cover is designed by producer David Kahne using an early version of the MacPaint illustrating program on an Apple MacIntosh personal computer. Original vinyl pressings have the message “THANKS MOMMA FISH” etched into the run out groove on both sides, in tribute to Norwood and “Fish” Fisher’s mother. The EP spins off two singles including “? (Modern Industry)” and “Party At Ground Zero”. The closing track “Lyin’ Ass Bitch” also becomes a major fan favorite. In spite of only a limited promotional push from Columbia Records, the EP sells especially well in the Southern California region thanks to major support from stations like KROQ and 91X, and finds pockets of support in other areas when Fishbone tours in support of it. “Fishbone” does not chart on the Billboard Top 200.
On this day in music history: September 13, 1988 – “Truth And Soul”, the second album by Fishbone is released. Produced by David Kahne, it is recorded at Sunset Sound Factory in Hollywood, CA from Late 1987 – Mid 1988. The second full length album by the multi-faceted and multi-talented L.A. based band sees them expanding beyond their ska, punk and funk music roots, incorporating more thought provoking social commentary into their lyrics, clearly pointed out on tracks such as “Subliminal Fascism”, “Slow Bus Movin’ (Howard Beach Party)”, and “Ghetto Soundwave”. It spins off the hits “Ma And Pa” and their cover of the Curtis Mayfield classic “Freddie’s Dead”, the latter of which gives the band its first major MTV exposure. The album is remastered and reissued in 2012 by UK label Eastworld Recordings. It is also reissued by Asbestos Records in 2014, pressed on red vinyl. “Truth And Soul” peaks at number one hundred fifty three on the Billboard Top 200.