Tag Archives: punk

leyton buzzards

It could hardly be termed a quantum leap, moving from Pub Rock to Punk Rock, but like several others in the late Seventies, it was one made by East London band The Leyton Buzzards a year or so after their formation in 1976. There may be only a fine line between the two styles of music, but adopting the ‘punk’ label certainly attracted more attention and it wasn’t long before The Leyton Buzzards became regulars at iconic London venue, The Roxy.

Formed by long-time pals Geoff Deane (vocals) and David Jaymes (bass), they were joined by Kevin Steptoe (drums) and David Monk (guitar.) Their three-track debut single was released on the Small Wonder Records label in July 1978. Frenetic and anthemic ‘19 And Mad’ reflected the feelings of UK’s bored and pissed-off youth of the time. It was backed with the equally frantic and strident ‘Villain‘ and slower paced ‘Youthanasia.

The record found its way to BBC Radio’s John Peel who, well impressed, in August of that year invited them into the studio for the first of their four sessions for the show.

As happened so often in those pre-internet (pre-CD, prehistoric) days, it was through the Peel Sessions that my music preferences were shaped and the song ‘I Don’t Want To Go To Art School,‘ sticks in my mind as the first I heard of them

They reminded me a bit, one way or another of my favourites Radio Stars. And that could only mean good things. That was it. The Leyton Buzzards, eh? I was in!

Not long after this, and with Vernon Austin having replaced original guitarist Dave Monk, they won a ‘Battle of the Bands’ type of competition, organised by Radio 1’s David ‘Kid’ Jensen, and The Sun newspaper. (Punk and The Sun? No – me neither!) The prize though was well worth the association and the first release under their new contract with Chrysalis records was the single which some readers will surely remember, ‘Saturday Night Beneath The Plastic Palm Trees.’

More ‘New Wave’ than ‘Punk’ an with an underlying ska / reggae beat, it was an autobiographical track, recalling the lads’ days of riotous nights out, drinking and chatting up girls. It was hugely different from their earlier single but highlighted the band’s versatility.

As we’ve seen with various other bands featured on 70s Music, ‘versatility’ does not guarantee success. Delivered with that cheeky kind of ‘serious but not serious’ attitude, there was perhaps a little bit of an issue in that their target audience perhaps didn’t take them seriously? After all, they were presented as winners of a Pop Idol type competition sponsored by a newspaper that was itself not considered a ‘serious’ conveyor of current affairs. Would the street punks of the day buy into this?

I also understand that BBC, having been involved in sponsorship of the competition which won the band their Chrysalis Records contract, did not want to be seen to be ‘favouring’ the band and so restricted their airplay.

John Peel didn’t care though. Did he ever? He again offered The Leyton Buzzards a ‘Peel Session’ in January 1979 during which they previewed the forthcoming single, ‘Saturday Night Beneath The Plastic Palm Trees.’ Despite the various obstacles placed in their way, it eventually entered the lower reaches of the UK charts on 3rd March 1979. There it remained for five weeks, peaking at #53 but earning the band a (mimed) appearance on Top of the Pops.

One of those tracks played in that Peel Session was ‘Love Is Just A Dream,’ showing the band had not lost any of their initial, snotty, punk attitude.

Third single ‘I’m Hanging Around‘ arrived in early May ’79 and the fourth, ‘We Make A Noise‘ (the picture sleeve of which was designed by Terry Gilliam of Monty Python fame) followed about twelve weeks later. By now, for reasons of which I’m unsure, they had dropped their hometown name, ‘Leyton’ from their name.

Their ranks had by now also been swollen with the addition of former Cockney Rebel keyboard player, Milton Reame-James.

They were now The Buzzards and as such, embarked on a UK tour with The Only Ones.

To fulfill their contract with Chrysalis, an album was released, containing their earlier singles, future (and final) quirky single ‘Can’t Get Used To Losing You,‘ some Peel Session tracks, some demos and all in all some excellent, raucous punk numbers.

**(They reverted to their original name The Leyton Buzzards for the final single release, below …. although the album on which it appeared was credited as by The Buzzards. Also, towards the end of their time, drummer Kevin Steptoe left, being replaced by Tony Gainsborough.) **

Entitled ‘Jellied Eels To Record Deals,’ it was pretty much an account of their time together as a band. Confirmation, if you like, that they had come to a natural end was indicated with the final sentence of the back sleeve notes: ‘The band now intend to make significant changes of direction ….’

And that was that. The Leyton Buzzards had come to an end.

That’s not the end of the story, however.

Now, this is a 70s Music site, and we’re straying into the prohibited territory of ’80s Music, so I’ll keep this brief.

In 1980, Geoff Deane and David Jaymes put together another band, which despite their first two releases failing to impress the record-buying public, would go on to record eight Top 40 singles between August 1981 and August 1983.

That band? Modern Romance.

Their debut, eponymous single, with echos I think of Cockney Rebel (Judy Teen even gets a mention) failed to impress in the manner subsequent releases would.

Their biggest hit was ‘High Life’ which reached #8 in Spring 1983, however, I think they be best remembered for this:


I know, I know. But what the heck – there’s no law says just ’cause you like Punk and New Wave you can’t shake it all down to a bit of fun salsa, right?

And so the story ends … almost. On leaving Modern Romance at the height of their success (after their #15 cover of ‘Cherry Pink And Apple Blossom White‘) co-founder of both Modern Romance and The Leyton Buzzards, vocalist Geoff Deane left to focus on personal projects.

Not just any old little projects, mind . Oh no, no, no. Projects like writing the dcreenplay for films such as ‘Kinky Boots‘ and ‘It’s A Boy Girl Thing’; writing scripts for TV series like ‘Birds of a Feather‘; contributing to the soundtrack of ‘Shrek.’

Oh …. loads of things. The boy done good (sic.) that’s all I can say!

Yeah, Pub to Punk Rock may be a baby step. Pub rock to writing comedy series and film screenplay, via Punk and Salsa – now THAT is a QUANTUM LEAP!

(Post by Colin Jackson from Glasgow – November 2022)

badgers

(Post by Colin ‘Jackie’ Jackson of Glasgow – June 2021)

A badger prepares to secret his stash of buttons, pins and patches.

Did you know that collectors of badges are called badgers?

Probably not – because they aren’t. I just made that up because it was a quick, rather obvious and, most likely, futile attempt at raising a smile.

No – collectors of patches or badges are actually called ‘scutelliphiles.’ This is distinct from those whose collections lean more to pin and button badges, and are referred to as ‘falerists.’

Who knew? Who cares?

I’ll bet I’m not the only one who, as kid in the mid to late Sixties was excited to wear badge that defined a love of something. It was a case of wearing your heart on your lapel.

Or perhaps the badges worn were a display of pride; acknowledgement of some achievement or other.

Whether we pinned them on, or peeled off the paper and stuck them on; whether our Mums sewed them on, or ironed them on, badges were a reflection of our personality.  

They were talking points – conversation starters. And as we grew older and bolder and into the mid-Seventies, they became funny. Cheeky. And ultimately with the Punk revolution, they became controversial, political and offensive.

Whether it proved you could ride a bike, had joined the Brownies or sought anarchy and chaos, a simple badge became a cheap, colourful fashion accessory that could possibly lead to a date … or get your head kicked in.

Oh how we loved our buttons, pins, patches and stickers.

*****

I think this would have been the first button badge I owned.

It was given to Primary One pupils, along with a toothbrush, by the local Health Authority, sponsored by a leading toothpaste brand . (I’m guessing Colgate judging by the colour scheme on the badge.)

Then again, perhaps this was first. I don’t know how I cam about the badge, but apparently the Tingha and Tucker Club at one point had over 750,000 members and ultimately had to close down because it was unable to cope with the demand!

The show ran from 1962 through the decade until 1970.

This Tufty Club badge, I’ll bet, will be the one most readers will have been awarded early on in their Primary education.

Watching the video below took me right back to the dining hall at Westerton Primary, with throw-down zebra crossings and little pedal cars.

Book-ending The Tufty Club, in our mid to late primary years, we were awarded this enamel badge of honour if we could ride our bike with no hands and while lighting a fag.

No?

Ah – maybe that’s why I never got one of these little beauties.

This one is the antithesis of the Happy Smile Club! Bazooka Joe Bubblegum – and wrapped in a waxed paper cartoon, that also advertised some amazing American toys … in dollars, even here in UK.

If you joined Club (I think you sent away so many wrappers in an SAE – stamped, addressed envelope) you were rewarded with the badge and some, on the face of it, extra special offers.

This was another popular one from my schooldays. I remember loads of kids wearing these.

These next two were most definitely among my childhood favourites:

The Man from U.N.C.L.E. was one of my favourite TV series, without a doubt.

Though I was a fan of the Ilya Kuryakin character, I preferred this badge – the one that identified Napoleon Solo.

“Holy Button Badge, Batman!” I still watch the DVDs and buy the books to this day. I think there were variants of this badge, some featuring the characters from the TV series. I just wish I’d kept hold of them.

Between them, Brownies, Guides, Cubs and Scouts pretty much covered al bases when it came to ‘award badges.’ Collecting; dancing; cooking; painting; first aid; camping; performing; football; netball; map reading ….

I was hopeless. I think I must have had the least decorated arms in the pack / troop. I remember having the Fireman’s badge and …. yeah, the Fireman’s badge.

Television programmes aimed specifically at children became an increasingly influential part of our lives and these three badges, which need no introduction were very prominent on lapels and jumpers up and down the country:

ButtonMakers Pattern Template

By the time I arrived at secondary school, music was vying with sport for my time and attention, as it was for many others. In the early Seventies, I’d say from memory that girls sported more badges than boys, displaying their ‘teenybopper,’ devotion to heartthrob popstars, these badges, and hundreds of similar nature, being the most prominent:

At the other end of the musical spectrum, older rockers of both sexes opted for the sew-on / iron-on patches that adorned their denim jackets and jeans:

… and then it became very exciting indeed, as far as the fashion of badges was concerned. The advent of Punk spawned innovation in music and dress, and accessories.

Bands and fans alike embraced the whole DIY culture, and small button badges were produced in their thousands to show allegiance to groups big and small. Many focused on political views and others simply set out to annoy and agitate the older generation.

So there you have it. Our lives in the late Sixties and through the Seventies can be tracked by the badges we displayed and collected.

Badges these days don’t seem quite so exciting. Badgers still exist, of course, But perhaps they are more sett in their ways than back in my day.

The next badge I’m likely to display, will be a blue parking one.

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wanted! your ’70s button badge photos.

(Post by Colin ‘Jackie’ Jackson of Glasgow – June 2021)

What button badges did you pin to your clothing / bags back in The Seventies?

What were your favourites, and why?

We are looking to post a short article on the subject of BUTTON BADGES and would love your input.

Photos (either of the original badges if you still have them, or taken from the internet) and brief comments can be posted to our Facebook Group page (***) or submitted by e-mail to:

submissions70s@gmail.com

We shall then collate the photos and comments to produce a gallery / collage for the Blog.

(***) The Facebook Group is ‘Private’ so please submit a Request to Join if you have not already done so.

Here are the two favourites of mine that I still have:

No surprises here! I wore this with pride on my school blazer for quite some time.
This one of my many ‘punk’ badges from the late ’70s … but the only one I can now find.
I remember wearing this on my suit lapel while working in Bank of Scotland …. and being asked (told!) to remove it by my manager.
Yeah – it’s in poor taste, but we just sought to trigger reaction, didn’t we?