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Saturday, June 19, 2021

Jim Lahat – Radio DJ: My Punk Top Ten

jim lahat

London-based punk DJ on Soho Radio, Jim Lahat reveals the ten punk songs that shaped his musical youth!

In a new regular feature, we speak to punk-loving celebs and ask them: “If you were only allowed to have ten punk singles in your record collection, which ones would they be?”

Co-host of Soho Radio’s Gary Crowley‘s Punk and New Wave radio show, radio producer and avid punk vinyl collector Jim Lahat, has worked in the music industry since the early 1980s. He started at the BBC GLR music library and then he landed the plum job of producing legendary BBC DJ Gary Crowley’s shows.

.In recent years Jim and Gary Crowley started the GC Punk And New Wave radio show on Soho Radio and the duo also released a 3-CD box set compilation, sharing their love of all things punk/mod-revival/power-pop.

Jim has also been a collector of punk vinyl since the late 1970s and has a large collection of more than 20,000 singles and albums from all over the world, covering mainly the years 1976-1983, with emphasis on the obscure and self-released singles from that period.


Written by: Jim Lahat

Ok, so celebrity I am not, but a music fan, a music industry person and an ex-musician I am.

My love for punk started back in 1976 listening to John Peel (of course), making my own clothes and making music in a school Punk bands (IQ Zero, The Zeros, etc..), and also in bands throughout the 1980s (The Outsiders) and spent lots of time recording and gigging.

I’ve also been a collector of punk vinyl since the ’70s and have a large record collection. I love the more obscure and self -released singles from that period, but of course, I love the classic bigger hits too as you will see from my top ten below.

I hope you enjoy…

10. THE REZILLOS – Destination Venus ( Can’t Stand The Rezillos)

Anything from The Rezillos’ first two albums could have made my top ten. They are, without a doubt, one of the best live bands I have ever seen.

They combine punk, ’60s girl-group sound, sci-fi, and that unique dress-sense of theirs has to be mention. Released on Sire Records and produced by Martin Rushent (The StranglersBuzzcocks, Pete Shelley and the Go-Go’s amongst many others)

The Rezillos are just brilliant – not to mention that when I was a younger, Fay Fife was my ideal woman. I’m sorry…what more can I say?

9. RADIO BIRDMAN – Aloha Steve and Danno

Australia’s proto-punk band Radio Birdman, were similar to MC5 and the Stooges in the US. Aloha Steve and Danno was a single taken from their debut 1977 album Radios Appear

Recorded piecemeal over 1976 and early 1977, on weekends and nights when the studio had no paying customers, it was released on the Trafalgar label.

In addition to mail order, the album was literally distributed by hand, out of the back of the band member’s and their friends cars – a true DIY record.

Aloha Steve and Danno is a homage to the TV series Hawaii Five-0 and is an all-time punk classic, especially when it gets to Deniz Tek frantic guitar solo interpretation, of the Hawaii Five-0 theme tune.

Treat yourself and get a copy of their debut album, or the more recent The Essential Radio Birdman double CD compilation. It’s excellent

8: WIRE – Outdoor Miner (Chairs Missing)

Outdoor Miner shows the more ‘poppy’ side of Wire, but what a tune it is! It’s just mesmerising and gets the hairs on the back of my neck standing every time I hear it.

Written by Wire‘s lead singer Colin Newman and bassist Graham Lewis, it was released in January 1979 as the band’s fourth single (reaching number 51 in the UK singles chart).

The song was originally only 1 minute 45 seconds long and the band’s label EMI was concerned it was too short, so they asked the band to make a longer version for the single. The band added an extra verse and chorus, and a piano solo, lengthening the song 2 minutes 51 seconds.

I never figured what the lyrics are all about but who cares when the tune is that good.

7: THE GOLINSKI BROTHERS – Bloody (Vaultage ’79)

After playing this Golinski Brothers track the late great John Peel said: “People have been given the OBE for less, a lot less.”

From the first line, “I wanna go where they’ve never seen snow, send my giro to Cairo” this track will put a smile on your face, and has done so for me for the last four decades.

I could have easily chosen ten obscure, but great punk/power-pop tracks, but I had to go with the ones that shaped my musical youth.

This is probably the only obscure track in my top ten from this Brighton six-piece post-punk / power-pop band.

Bloody was first released in 1979 on the Brighton compilation Vaultage ’79 and then released as a single in 1980. If you have not heard this track before, treat yourself, we all need a smile on our faces in these times.

6: THE CRAMPS – Human Fly (Gravest Hits EP)

No one ever sounded like The Cramps and I think no one will ever sound like them again. Combining punk, rock ’n’ roll, garage and Horror, they were just unique.

Lux Interior and Poison Ivy were the perfect couple to front this group. Their first nine singles and two albums are classics and if you don’t own a copy, get one now and see what you’ve missed.

5: THE SAINTS – Know Your Product -(Eternally Yours)

Know Your Product is from Aussie punks, The Saints second album Eternally Yours, and is an all-time classic combination of punk and soul horn section.

I bought their first two albums in 1977 and 1978, (I’m) Stranded was more punk and included one of the first punk singles in (I’m) Stranded, but Know Your Product added something new, to this Australian four-piece.

They should have been much bigger than they were, but their image just didn’t fit the UK punk image back in 1976-1977, such a shame!

4:  THE VIBRATORS – Baby Baby (Pure Mania)

Baby Baby was written by The Vibrators‘ frontman and songwriter Knox (Ian Carnochan), and was released as a single in May 1977 – their first single on Epic Records – their previous singles having been released on RAK.

Knox has said Baby Baby is his favourite Vibrators’ song: “I always think, when I play, it is like being on holiday.”

It’s a classic song that crosses punk into pop and it is just a great tune! Again, I originally bought their first two albums Pure Mania and V2 which I bought in 1977 and 1978, but for me Baby Baby is just a timeless classic.

It was later covered by German punk band Die Toten Hosen in 1991 for their cover album Learning English, Lesson One and was also released as a single. Even R.E.M. covered it.

3: STIFF LITTLE FINGERS – Barbed Wire Love (Inflammable Material)

This track is from SLF‘s debut album, the 1979 classic Inflammable Material. I could have chosen Alternative Ulster or their debut single Suspect Device but over the years this album track has become a strong favourite of not only myself but many other S.L.F. fans.

The energy, the lyrics and Jake Burns “gargle with razors” vocals are just irresistible. Play this loud!

2: UNDERTONES – Teenage Kicks (Teenage Kicks EP)

What can you say about this all-time classic pop-punk track? It just doesn’t get better, older, or dated. From the first time I heard it (thanks to John Peel of course), it has been etched in my memory.

Teenage Kicks is the debut single by the Northern Irish punk band initially released on independent Belfast record label Good Vibrations, before the band signed to Sire Records. The song was re-released as a standard vinyl single by Sire reaching number 31 in the UK Singles Chart.

The single was not included on the original May ’79 release of the band’s debut album The Undertones; however, the October 1979 re-release included both Teenage Kicks and their second single, Get Over You.

For me, this is an all-time classic pop-punk track that will cross any generation, and will always take me back to 1978.

1: RAMONES – Blitzkrieg Bop (Ramones)

Well, anything by the Ramones deserves to be number one on any ‘Top Ten’ punk list….really! From the first time I heard the Ramones I fell in love; the simplicity, the tunes, the energy, the clothes, the haircuts and all stops in between! It just doesn’t get any better than this.

The song was written by drummer Tommy while bassist Dee Dee came up with the title (the song was originally called Animal Hop). Dee Dee also changed one other line: the original third verse had the line “shouting in the back now”, but Dee Dee changed it to the classic “shoot ’em in the back now”

I could have chosen any track by them, but (although obvious), Blitzkrieg Bop just shows everything that is so amazing and great about Ramones, RIP, Joey, Johnny, Dee Dee and Tommy!!!



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2 Comments

  • Mark Carson
    Mark Carson

    Great tracks , but no Clash or Pistols , feels like a banquet with the main course missing

  • Paul Waugh
    Paul Waugh

    The clash and the pistols would always be in my top ten, however that is probably down to my narrower knowledge of punk music than that of Jim Lahat. I’m glad to see the vibrators there..i first heard pure mania as a 13 year old in 1979 and was instantly blown away, great article thank you!

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