Dad – what was punkrock…?

We begin this week with the German band Die Toten Hosen. Unknown outside of their native Germany their first American release was 1992’s “Learning English, Lesson One ” If your idea of punk runs towards hardcore revivalists like AFI or American groups like the Germs, Urinals and Black Flag this album isn’t for you. This album tends to favor the “rock” in punk rock. This cd is a cover album… but one with a twist. Besides faithfully reproducing the originals on every song the original vocalist sings. The Guest list:

  • Joey Ramone (The Ramones) die toten hosen skull
  • Matt Dangerfield (The Boys)
  • Pete Stride (The Lurkers)
  • Jimmy Pursey (Sham 69)
  • Nick Cash (999)
  • Andy Ellison (The Radio Stars)
  • Knox (Vibrators)
  • TV Smith (The Adverts)
  • Johnny Thunders (The Heartbreakers)
  • Cheetah Chrome (The Dead Boys)
  • Handsome Dick Manitoba (The Dictators)
  • Gene October (Chelsea)
  • Wreckless Eric
  • Captain Sensible (The Damned)
  • Charlie Harper (UK Subs)
  • Neil O’Connor (The Flys)
  • Graeme Douglas (Eddie and The Hot Rods)

This would be Johnny Thunders last recording session. 36 hours after recording his vocals for the cd he’d be discovered dead in a New Orleans hotel room.

Learning English, Lesson One (Charisma Records, 1991)

learning english - lesson 1

1. Learning English – Step One (0:32)
2. Blitzkrieg Bop (1:50) (The Ramones)
3. Brickfield Nights (3:34) (The Boys)
4. Step Two (0:12)
5. Just Thirteen (2:30) (The Lurkers)
6. If the Kids Are United (3:08) (Sham 69)
7. Nasty, Nasty (2:07) (999)
8. Step Three (0:17)
9. Dirty Pictures (2:15) (The Radio Stars)
10. Baby Baby (3:13) (The Vibrators)
11. Gary Gilmore’s Eyes (2:15) (The Adverts)
12. Born to Lose (3:22) (Johnny Thunders)
13. How the Rockafellas Went to Hollywood (0:18)
14. Do You Remember (3:27)
15. Carnival in Rio (Punk Was) (3:07)
16. Step Four (0:18)
17. Right to Work (3:05) (Chelsea)
18. Whole Wide World (3:18) (Wreckless Eric)
19. Smash it Up (2:58)
20. Stranglehold (2:11) (UK Subs)
21. Step Five (0:23)
22. Love and a Molotov Cocktail (2:31) (The Flys)
23. Do Anything You Wanna Do (4:28) (Eddie and The Hot Rods)
24. Goodbye From Janet & John (1:01)

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As Janet & John would say “And now play this record until you’re sick of it.”


Formed in Derry, Northern Ireland The Undertones were the best band to come out of Northern Ireland. . Marrying a love of 60’s garage, mid 70’s Glam with sharp guitar hooks made their first single “Teenage Kicks” a breakout hit. The late John Peel said that “Teenage Kicks ” was his favorite song. Unfortunately their early sound would fore shadow an early demise; because as they matured they felt that their sound should mature as well. The record buying public didn’t take to the new Undertones, with their new “exotic” instrumentation (strings, horns, toy piano and xylophone) and new found fascination with American soul music. Seeing the handwriting on the wall the group disbanded in the early 80’s. The Very Best of The Undertones collects the best material from their records, The Undertones, Hypnotised, Positive Touch, and The Sin of Pride.

The Very Best of The Undertones (Rkyodisc, 1994)

very best of the undertones

1. Teenage Kicks (2:27)
2. Family Entertainment (2:37)
3. Get Over You (2:45)
4. Girls Don’t Like It (2:17)
5. Male Model (1:55)
6. Here Comes the Summer (1:43)
7. Jimmy Jimmy (2:42)
8. You’ve Got My Number (2:37)
9. Mars Bars (2:08)
10. Let’s Talk About Girls (3:36)
11. My Perfect Cousin (2:36)
12. The Ways Girls Talk (2:30)
13. Tearproof (2:20)
14. More Songs About Chocolate and Girls (2:41)
15. Hypnotised (2:30)
16. Wednesday Week (2:16)
17. The Positive Touch (2:18)
18. You’re Welcome (2:45)
19. It’s Going to Happen (3:38)
20. Julie Ocean (3:34)
21. When Saturday Comes (2:51)
22. Forever Paradise (3:06)

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One of the seminal punk groups on the New York scene was Television. The brainchild of Tom Verlaine and Richard Hell (he would leave to form The Heartbreakers with Johnny Thunders) the group might be considered the original D.I.Y. group , releasing the privately pressed single Little Johnny Jewel. This single proved to be the impetus for the NYC music scene of the mid 70’s. What set Television apart from the other punk groups of the day was their willingness to “jam”; the British even considered them the “punk Grateful Dead.” Signed to Elektra Records they released Marquee Moon in 1977 and Adventure in 1978. In the States the records went virtually unheard, but in England both records charted in the top twenty. In 1979 internal band conflicts would splinter the band leading to it’s dissolution. The Blow-up, a tape only compilation of their live concerts would be released posthumously. Often thought as “too cool” to reform they did so in 1992 releasing the self titled album Television.

Marquee Moon (Elektra/Asylum Records, 1977)

marquee moon

1. See No Evil (3:54)
2. Venus (3:52)
3. Friction (4:45)
4. Marquee Moon (10:40)
5. Elevation (5:08)
6. Guiding Light (5:35)
7. Prove It (5:02)
8. Torn Curtain (6:56)

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Adventure (Elektra/Asylum Records, 1978)


1. Glory (3:11)
2. Days (3:14)
3. Foxhole (4:49)
4. Careful (3:19)
5. Carried Away (5:11)
6. The Fire (5:57)
7. Ain’t That Nothin’ (4:55)
8. The Dream’s Dream (6:31)

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Television (Capitol Records, 1992)


1. 1880 Or So (3:42)
2. Shane. She Wrote This (4:22)
3. In World (4:12)
4. Call Mr. Lee (4:16)
5. Rhyme (4:48)
6. No Glamour For Willi (5:01)
7. Beauty Trip (4:23)
8. The Rocket (3:23)
9. This Tune (3:43)
10. 10-Mars (4:56)

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I don’t have a copy of The Blow-up, but as luck would have it recently came across a blog that did.

If you’re so inclined here’s the link to Rock Delirious ( )


Until next week…


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