Throwback Thursday: Sham 69 Rock ‘Top of the Pops’
If the kids from the musical Oliver! ever grew up and formed a band, they'd be Sham 69. It makes a certain kind of sense to go from singing "Food, Glorious Food" before getting fed up and singing "Angels With Dirty Faces."
Sham 69 are chocked full of cockney smarm and sarcastic enthusiasm. Frontman Jimmy Pursey kicks off this TV performance in 1978 with a snotty, "Who's on 'Top of the Pops,' then, aye?" before the band launches into one of their most popular punk anthems, "Angels With Dirty Faces."
Sham 69 formed in 1976 in Hersham, England, amid the punk explosion going on there at the time. Unlike many of the other punk bands coming up, Sham 69 weren't art school kids. They were more like the ruffians stalking the streets at night.
Their music was more accessible and appealed to people who might otherwise be put off by the sneering freakishness of bands like the Sex Pistols. Their songs are heavy on populist appeal, with crowd-chantable lyrics about drinking and being ruffians. And, unlike the Sex Pistols, Sham 69 have continued to remain active, albeit with a rather high turnover rate for band members.
If you're a long-time fan of Sham 69, or if you just heard about them from this post -- you're welcome -- you can see them perform at the inaugural It's Not Dead Festival, which will feature more old-school punk rock than you can shake your angry fist at.