''Here comes Uncle Nick// Let's give him some stick''
That most under appreciated of bands!
Never given the Punk kudos dished out to The Sex Pistols or The Clash, and totally underrated as purveyors of fine pop/rock singles in the early 80s. Indeed, most people probably only know them for their superb cover of Barry Ryan's 'Eloise', but The Damned were always favourites of us here at the ~Streetlamp~, a fact that you can read about at length in my previous Blog about them.
So, as has been previously determined, The Damned (along with Crass) were pretty much the sound of High School for me and, as this is a Christmas Blog, we should take a look at their contributions to the canon of Festive ditties, beginning with their 1980 single 'Their Ain't No Sanity Clause'.
Released on November of 1980, '...Sanity Clause' was yet another classic recording by arguably the band's greatest line-up; Dave Vanian, Captain Sensible, Rat Scabies and Paul Gray. At this point the band were signed to Chiswick Records for whom fans reckon they recorded their greatest work, and '...Sanity Clause' came in a run of superb singles that included 'White Rabbit', 'The History Of The World (prt 1)', 'The Friday The 13th E.P', 'Generals', 'Dozen Girls' and 'Thanks For The Night'....magnificent singles all!
'...Sanity Clause' is a fairly raucous old wheeze complete with (probably ironic) sleigh bells and Ho-Ho-Ho-ing. What always makes me smile listening to it these days is the ''Here comes Uncle Nick// Let's give him some stick'' backing vocals that run through the second and third choruses. I'm guessing it was Sensible who came up with this as it seems like his sense of humour....
And speaking of the good Captain, it's hard to think of anyone whose career has seemed so schizophrenic! In The Damned he was a complete madman who took to the stage in tu-tus, nurse uniforms, or even completely naked. Yet running concurrent, he also had a bizarre solo career that saw him release show-songs, pop songs and (dare one even say it) children's songs! He pretty much became a light entertainer, even recording the theme tune to cringingly, God-awful, Jim Davidson-starring, TV snooker bollocks 'Big Break'....how embarrassing! Mind you, I suppose it pays the mortgage....but still!!!
Despite all that though, his solo career is still littered with some sublime songs; his debut solo album is a sounds-like-nothing-else-in-1982 bonkers classic, he made a brilliant single with Crass, he released the superb anti-war pop song 'Glad It's All Over', a fantastic serious Psychedelic double album entitled 'Revolution Now', and a rather fine Christmas single 'One Christmas Catalogue'.
Released in November 1984, the single sadly paled in the shadow of that same month's behemoth 'Band Aid' charity fest, and failed to even chart despite his previous single reaching Number 6. Even the comedy fluffy beard that bedecked the sleeve failed to lure the punters....
Given the endless rehashing of Christmas songs, both on the radio and on the music satellite channels, at this time of year, I'm always surprised that neither of these songs get much (or even any) airplay. It's always just the same old crap, year in year out....much like Christmas itself, eh cynics?
And to finish off, as a vegetarian, here's a little something for all you meat eaters out there....