The Heartbreakers at the Marquee in London, March 1977

This is getting silly. People are STILL pouring in. The Marquee is crammed to the door, spilling over with the strangest cross section of humanity, bewildered tourists, seduced by an advert in the Evening Standard, and beginning to wonder just what they’ve got themselves into.

The posers are out in force, in stilettos, silver trousers, make-up – oh yes, and the girls looked nice too. There’s the usual scattering of star-shaped sardines – one of Mott, one of Siouxsie & the Banshees, a few Sex Pistols, etc etc.

The word is out. They’ve all jammed themselves in to see the Heartbreakers, a new wave band who’re different from the others on the circuit simply because they’re American.

They look different . . . . older, more wasted. The real thing – not like the British punks, who try hard, but always end up looking like little boys playing at being mean and nasty.

They sound different too – harder, and more (though I hate to use the word) professional. Their sound is closer to conventional rock than the 200 mph rampage the British new wave specialise in. You can even spot a melody every now and then, breaking through the powerhouse rhythm.

“This song used to be ‘Born To Lose’,” says Johnny, “but we call it ‘Born Too Loose’.” The subtlety of that statement’s a bit lost on me . . . . and on the group of Chinese kids looking a bit bewildered at the back.

The heat’s dizzying: the sweat’s running down the walls in clammy rivulets.

For an encore, they repeat the opener, ‘Chinese Rock’, which is to be a single. At the side, the kids mouth the words. Snap – an instant old favourite.

A second encore, and they’re pogo-ing down at the front – a final, suicidal burst of energy before the end.

Johnny tells us we’re “Aaall right”. The band go off.

This is it. The Pistols ‘Anarchy In The UK’ burst from the speakers, and the crowd, limp and drained, fight for the doorways.

(Record Mirror, 02/04/77)

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