15,265 days.

That’s how long it has been since the first ever single by a British punk group was released over here.

22 October 1976. It had long been thought the Sex Pistols or The Clash would grab that particular accolade but they were both blindsided by The Damned.

mp3 : The Damned – New Rose

It came out on Stiff Records and it really threw most people. Punk was supposed to be, according to legend, tuneless, aimless and unlistenable. New Rose was none of those, with its catchy chorus, decent enough verses and a lead singer who was easy(ish) on the ear. As Andy Partridge would later say, this is pop – yeah, yeah.

Talking of which, the b-side was a hoot.

mp3 : The Damned – Help!

103 seconds of what most folk thought punk was….tuneless, aimless and unlistenable if you thought the original was a sacred cow.

A first pressing, with the catalogue number STIFF 6, is fairly valuable these days, and a good quality copy will most likely cost you over £100 on the second-hand market.

It was still too much for daytime or commercial radio who barely played it.  And with nobody hearing it, nobody was buying it.  It didn’t break into the Top 75.

Oh, and for what it’s worth…..I reckon The Damned would release better 45s later on.  My own favourite is this.



  1. I thought it did break into the top 75. On the John Peel session version, instead of “Is she really going out with him?” you hear, “Are we really number 65 in the charts?”. Later on (well, a minute or so) as there is a sort of drum solo, you also hear, “Eat you heart out, John Peel!” Short, sharp and sensational. What a single.

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