About Sham 69 - the Original Line Up
Sham 69 are an English punk rock band that formed in Hersham in 1975. The band was one of the most successful punk bands in the United Kingdom, achieving five top 20 singles, including "If the Kids Are United" and "Hurry Up Harry". The band’s popularity saw them perform on the BBC’s Top of the Pops, and the band appeared in the rockumentary film, D.O.A.. The original unit broke up in 1979, with frontman Jimmy Pursey moving on to pursue a solo career.
In 1987, Pursey and guitarist David Parsons reformed the band, joined by new personnel. Although subsequently going through a number of line-up changes, Sham 69 remain active and are still playing gigs as of 2019.
Sham 69 formed in Hersham, Surrey in 1975, although originally known as Jimmy and the Ferrets. 'Sham 69' is said to have derived from a piece of graffiti that co-founder Jimmy Pursey saw on a wall. It originally said Walton and Hersham '69 but had partly faded away, and made reference to when Walton & Hersham F.C. secured the Athenian League title in 1969.
The 12 November 1976 issue of NME noted that Sham 69 was rehearsing in 1976, although only Pursey would remain from this early line-up twelve months later. Original guitarists Johnny Goodfornothing and Neil Harris were replaced by Dave Parsons, and drummer Billy Bostik by Mark Cain. Albie Slider remained for the group's first single in 1977 before being replaced by Dave Tregunna. The Pursey/Parsons/Tregunna/Cain line up then remained stable until 1979, when Ricky Goldstein took over on drums for the band's fourth album.
Sham 69 did not have the art school background of many English punk bands of the time, and brought in football chant backup vocals and an implicit political populism. The band attracted a large skinhead following . Their concerts were plagued by violence, and the band ceased live performances after a 1979 concert at the Rainbow Theatre in Finsbury Park was broken up by National Front-supporting white power skinheads fighting and rushing the stage.
Sham 69 released their first single, "I Don't Wanna", on Step Forward Records in August 1977, produced by John Cale , and its success in the independent charts prompted Polydor Records to sign the band. Their major label debut was "Borstal Breakout" in January 1978, followed by UK Singles Chart success with "Angels with Dirty Faces" and "If the Kids Are United" . These were not included on the group's debut album, Tell Us the Truth, a mixture of live and studio recordings.
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