Today in rock history; X-Ray Spex ushers in female-fronted punk, Bob Marley goes to Babylon By Bus, more

Big albums from Billy Idol and The Clash as well.

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Today In Rock History: on this date in 1978, one of the most vital and important (yet sometimes overlooked) punk rock records of all time was released. Germ Free Adolescence, the debut album by British punk band X-Ray Spex is one of the boldest and most riveting albums of its era. The highly influential record was the brainchild of lead singer Poly Styrene (born Marianne Joan Elliott-Said) whose life changed when she witnessed the Sex Pistols live in 1976 when she was just 19 years old. The young, impressionable girl quickly formed a band, wrote a batch of catchy, topical songs and created this, and album that’s been largely credited with being a catalyst in fueling the female-led riot grrrl movement which would occur several years later. Following the attention the band received with its debut single, the feminist anthem “Oh Bondage Up Yours!” (which doesn’t appear on this album), the stage was set for this all-important and integral slice of essential punk rock greatness. Styrene wrote all the songs on the album herself which touch on topics like commercialism, capitalism and individuality and remain relevant today, nearly forty years after their release.

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Today in rock history: on this date in 1978, Bob Marley and the Wailers released their stunning 2-LP live concert album, Babylon By Bus. Recorded largely throughout Paris and London, the record contains a wide overview of the fine, soulful reggae music Marley and his stupendous band had created up until that point. Packaged in a unique die-cut cover that resembles a tour bus, the sleeve was designed to reveal band photos that appear on the inside album sleeves peeking through the simulated windows on the record jacket. Widely regarded as one of the best live recordings of all time, the record captured the true, exciting performance of a Bob Marley concert. Listen to the album at the bottom of this post.

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Today in rock history: on this date in 1983, ex-Generation X lead singer Billy Idol released the album that made him a superstar. Rebel Yell came after the success of his 1982 self-titled debut album that spawned the single “White Wedding.” For his follow up, Idol benefitted from being one of the most visible and exciting artists to be featured on heavy rotation on music video channel MTV, which helped make this an incredibly popular album. Peaking at No. 6 on Billboard’s U.S. pop album charts, this multi-platinum selling album featured the hit singles “Flesh For Fantasy,” “Eyes Without A Face,” “Catch My Fall” and the high energy pop/punk title track.

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Today in rock history: on this date in 1978, The Clash’s second album, Give ‘Em Enough Rope was released. In an odd coincidence, the album was actually the first Clash album to be released in the U.S. as its debut, self-titled record hadn’t yet officially been released here. The record featured production work by Sandy Pearlman who’d previously been known for this work on albums by hard rock band, Blue Oyster Cult. Some fans decried the mix of the young, revolutionary band working with a producer more equated with mainstream, hard rock, but the result was pretty well-received despite that. Containing songs that were composed by the pairing of lead singers and guitarists Joe Strummer and Mick Jones, the record received critical praise and helped solidify the band’s place as one of the most important and significant bands of the original U.K. punk rock explosion. Featuring singles “Tommy Gun” and “English Civil War,” the album was a big hit in the band’s native homeland where it peaked at two on English album sales charts.  

About The Author

Gabe Echazabal

I was born on a Sunday Morning.I soon received The Gift of loving music.Through music, I Found A Reason for living.It was when I discovered rock and roll that I Was Beginning To See The Light.Because through music, I'm Set Free.It's always helped me keep my Head Held High.When I started dancing to that fine, fine...
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