999 – United Artists Records – 1978

Me And My Desire / Chicane Destination / Crazy / Your Number Is My Number / Hit Me / I’m Alive

Titanic / Pick It Up / Emergency / No Pity / Direct Action Briefing / Nobody Knows

I could only really upload one band today of all days, the ninth day of the ninth month of the ninth year in this millenium!

Here for your power pop punk ears is the debut LP offering from 999 which I think is a decent enough lump of vinyl. Some browsers would probably argue that this band are not quite ‘cutting edge’ enough for this KYPP site, but it’s up here never the less, so…

Text ripped from da wikkie…

Named after Britain’s emergency telephone number, 999 was founded in London by singer/guitarist Nick Cash and Guy Days. Cash and Days met each other when the former was a member of pub-rockers Kilburn and the High-Roads and the latter was a session guitarist who played on some of the band’s demo tapes.

In late 1976, they placed an advertisement in the Melody Maker for band members and ended up turning down Chrissie Hynde of  The Pretenders fame, Jon Moss of Culture Club fame, and Tony James of Generation X fame. Jon Watson (bass) and Pablo LaBritain (drums) were recruited, Pablo having briefly played with the Clash, and the band that eventually became known as 999 performed their first gig was at the Northampton Cricket Club in January 1977. After experimenting with several different band names, 999 finally came into being in May 1977.

The band promptly established themselves as a powerful live act on London’s punk scene and became regulars at the Hope and Anchor, Islington. On the strength of their well received, self-financed debut single, 999 were signed to United Artists Records around the same time as the Buzzcocks. “I’m Alive” became a firm favourite in the punk clubs.

The band’s second single, “Nasty Nasty”, was cited nearly twenty years after its release as a seminal punk single.

The self-titled debut album, produced by Andy Arthurs, was released in March 1978. One retrospective review claimed it “demonstrated their limitations as well as their strengths. The 45 cuts like “Me And My Desire” and “Emergency” demonstrated the latter, but the album lacked that special ingredient, uniqueness or originality to make it stand out from the crowd”. Be that as it may, the album reached number 53 in the UK Albums Chart. Also, taken from the album, the single “Emergency” was included years later in Mojo magazine’s list of the best punk rock singles of all time. The following year, the track appeared, alongside songs by more famous bands like The Jam and The Stranglers, on the punk compilation 20 of Another Kind. The album reached number 45 in the UK Albums Chart.

The band’s second album, Separates, produced by Martin Rushent, is more critically lauded today. One reviewer lists it as one of the best punk albums of all-time. In America, a slightly altered version of Separates, re-titled High Energy Plan, became the band’s first Stateside release. In October 1978, a month after the album’s release, 999 recorded their only session for John Peel at BBC Radio 1. 999 also played at ‘Front Row Festival’, a three-week event at the Hope and Anchor in late November and early December 1977. This resulted in the band’s inclusion, alongside the likes of Wilko Johnson, The Only Ones, the Saints, The Stranglers, X-Ray Spex, and XTC, on a hit double-LP of recordings from the festival.

This post is dedicated to my near neighbour and ex-Look Mummy Clown, Jim Wafford A.K.A. Jim The Driver who’s birthday it is today.

Jim is no doubt down The Dog And Duck public house, just around the back of Penguin Towers, celebrating England’s 5-1 victory (and doorway into the South Africa World Cup 2010) against a rather mediocre Croatia as I upload this post and write this text, so I will let him get on with it!

Happy Birthday Jim, see you very soon.

  1. baronvonzubb
    September 10, 2009 at 2:38 pm

    moving targets still sounds brilliant and gets played in zubb villas loads.
    this one just sounds like kaiser chiefs on bad speed …
    dunno why that is

  2. Nuzz
    September 10, 2009 at 6:49 pm

    Ha, ha, ha great minds think alike or like minds think great penguin. I went for a live set.

  3. Penguin
    Penguin • Post Author •
    September 10, 2009 at 11:15 pm


  4. Andy X
    Andy X
    September 12, 2009 at 12:57 am

    i bought “nasty nasty” and thought wow!, bought this album and thought erm!
    such a anesthetic sound spoilt any energy the band had i thought.

  5. chris
    September 12, 2009 at 1:21 pm

    they had such a great logo (the 999 raffle ticket)
    My mate had a big green patch of it on a bum flap 🙂

  6. Bloater999
    September 13, 2009 at 7:59 pm

    999 should’ve been huge; high-energy shows, great songs and a brilliant look & logo – how they were not remains a mystery to me. This album still sounds fresh to me, and the band, although not what they were (but who is?!) remain a great live act as Nick would say ‘long live the music!’

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