The Adverts – Bright Records – 1978

One Chord Wonders / Bored Teenagers / New Church / On The Roof / New Boys / Bomb Site Boy

No Time To Be 21 / Safety In Numbers / Drowning Men / On Wheels / Great British Mistake

Uploaded tonight is the superb debut LP by The Adverts, a band that shone brightly for several years releasing many excellent singles and two fine LPs. Every track on this debut LP is a classic and the LP is one that can still be played over and over again all these years since it’s original release… Text below ripped violently from the pages of wikipedia.

TV Smith and Gaye Advert were originally both from Bideford, a small coastal town in Devon. After witnessing Sex Pistols at Plymouth the couple relocating to London where the two young punks recruited guitarist Howard Pickup and drummer Laurie Driver, and the Adverts were born.

The Roxy one of London’s first live punk venues, played a crucial role in the Adverts’ early career. They were one of the pioneering bands who played at the club during its first 100 days. The Adverts played at the club no less than nine times between January and April 1977. In January 1977, after their first gig supporting Generation X, the band impressed Michael Dempsey so much that he became their manager. Their second gig supporting Slaughter & the Dogs was recorded, and their anthem ‘Bored Teenagers’ was included on the UK Top 30 album Live at the Roxy WC2. In February, shortly after the band’s third gig supporting The Damned, they signed a recording contract with Stiff Records. In March, the band supported The Jam at the Roxy.

In April, the Adverts recorded the first of four sessions for John Peel at Maida Vale for BBC Radio. Days later, their debut single, ‘One Chord Wonders’, was released. The single, “a headlong rush of energy”, was recommended by both Melody Maker and Sounds.

The Adverts were a prolific live act. Their first nationwide tour was with Stiff label-mates the Damned. The tour poster read, “The Adverts know one chord, the Damned know three. See all four at…” Later they would support Iggy Pop on tour, as well as conducting their own headlining tours in Britain, Ireland and Europe.

In August, the band released the first of their two UK Top 40 hit singles. Lyrically, ‘Gary Gilmore’s Eyes’ was a controversial song based on the wishes of Gary Gilmore, an American murderer, that his eyes be donated to medical science after his execution. Sounds described it as “the sickest and cleverest record to come out of the new wave”.

After the tabloid-fuelled controversy surrounding the single, and an appearance on Top of the Pops, the Adverts became big news. Observers focused on front man T.V. Smith and bassist Gaye Advert. Reviewers noted T.V. Smith’s song-writing ability. He was said to have “captured the spirit of the times few contemporaries could match”. Another reviewer described Smith as the band’s “raging heart, spitting out the fail safe succession of songs which still delineate punk’s hopes, aspirations and, ultimately, regrets”. In contrast, Gaye Advert’s reputation was more fleeting. She was “one of Punk’s first female icons”. Her “photogenic” looks, “panda-eye make-up and omnipresent leather jacket defined the face of female punkdom until well into the next decade”.

The band’s follow-up single, ‘Safety in Numbers’ did not chart. A fourth single, ‘No Time To Be 21’, scraped into the UK Top 40. A month later, their debut album ‘Crossing The Red Sea’ was released, and has become one of the most highly regarded albums of the punk era, with Dave Thompson calling it “a devastating debut, one of the finest albums not only of the punk era, but of the 1970s as a whole”, and several other writers including it in lists of all-time greatest albums.

Despite releasing some more well-regarded singles, the Adverts were not able to maintain the momentum and their career stalled after the release of their second album ‘Cast Of Thousands’. The band split up shortly after the accidental death by electrocution of their manager, Michael Dempsey. Their last gig was at Slough College on 27 October 1979.

In regards to their legacy, critic and author Dave Thompson argues that “nobody would make music like the Adverts and nobody ever has. In terms of lyric, delivery, commitment and courage, they were, and they remain, the finest British group of the late 1970s”

Dedicating this KYPP post tonight to Alistair Livingston ex Puppy Collective, ex All The Madmen manager, early 1980’s music paper hack and general social-political good guy whose birthday it is today.

  1. AL Puppy
    AL Puppy
    October 1, 2011 at 7:11 am

    Dedication beyond the call of duty Penguin. I had and may even still have this album as a cassette release and it is a punk classic. The songs short, sharp and very pointed. A minimalist perfection captured in lines like these:

    Talk about the frailty of words.
    Is rarely meaningful.
    When we’re sitting watching the ‘planes.
    Burn up through the night like meteorites.

  2. Trunt
    October 1, 2011 at 4:27 pm

    One of my favorite albums from 78. Every track a winner. Witnessed TV Smith at this years Durham punk fest on the accoustic stage. He still sings songs from Crossing with such vengence, it was singalonga Adverts. Still have my original vinyl. Awesome. Great post.

  3. pinkie
    October 2, 2011 at 1:36 pm

    Thanks, Penguin – great post.

  4. Henry Ponds
    Henry Ponds
    October 25, 2011 at 5:54 am

    I want to Thank You!!!!… for turning me on to many classic bands that I overlooked in my youth! Crossing The Red Sea : The Adverts has quickly become a NEW/OLD favourite! Cheeers!, HenryPonds

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