“New Rose”

THE DAMNED – “New Rose” / “Help” (Stiff Records BUY 6) October 1976

The Damned “New Rose” – shows that if you got what it takes you can work on a low budget and still whip ass. I wish that Nick Lowe – who produced this – had done for the Hot Rods.

The song ain’t great shakes, but the band sound very good – I really dig the absurdist version of ‘Help’ on the B-side, by the way – and they can only improve with practice. (NME, 06/11/76)

first press, with ‘Street Music Co’ above Stereo

Recorded at London’s Pathway studios – a space so small only one band member at a time could fit into the control room – ‘New Rose’ came out of high-speed sessions for The Damned, Damned, Damned album.

Vanian’s New York Dolls-style leader-of-the-pack pastiche was added on the spot before crashing into one of the most infectious intros ever, Scabies’ urgent pounding setting the pace for a breakneck surf-ride to a heart-stopping crescendo.

“It’s not like it’s very complicated or anything,” Vanian points out. “Like early rock ‘n’ roll tracks, a big beat with simple wild guitars.”

The single, backed with a cover of The Beatles ‘Help!’, was widely regarded as the first-ever UK punk release. It failed to chart, but was Stiff’s biggest seller to date, helping the label to secure a major distribution deal. (Mojo)

The obvious place to start my new styled blog is with the very first punk rock single released in England during the back end of 1976.

The Damned hailed from London and were named by guitarist Brian James after a 1969 movie of the same name. both sides of this disc were recorded in a day during September ’76 at London’s Pathway Studios and produced by Nick Lowe who had been a member of 60s psych outfit Kippington Lodge then ended up forming Rockpile with Dave Edmunds.

’New Rose’ is a blistering punk attack with drummer Rat Scabies’ skins pummeling setting the pace for a breakneck surge of adolescent mayhem. Captain Sensible was once quoted as saying that ’New Rose’ was recorded purely on speed and cider.

The flip is a rapid take of The Beatles hit ’Help’ but about twice as fast as the original. (EXPO67)

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