Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Only Ones: A.G.A.P

The Rock Walk is my weekly ritual, in which I carry on the dying tradition of record shopping. The highlight of this week's purchases (which also includes the UK version of the Clash S/T and the 25th Anniversary London Calling, both of which I've long resisted) is the re-issue on the Only Ones first album.

These Londoners (Peter Perrett on vocals/guitar, John Perrett on guitar, Alan Meir on bass and Mike Kelllie on drums) defied the punk orthodoxy, already calcifying by 1978, by not hiding their chops, their songcraft or even their age. These vets used punk as a opening but, like so many musicians of that era, they had no intention of living by its strictures. Their first single, the brilliant power-pop masterpiece, "Another Girl, Another Planet", has led many to label The Only Ones one-hit-wonders. This is stupid. One, "Another Girl, Another Planet" was hardly a chart hit upon its first (U.K.-only) release and two, they have a bucketful of other sterling classics for you to enjoy.

MRML Readers: Please don't forget to add your Only Ones memories, reactions and reviews in the comments section.)

Many readers here will be already be deeply familiar with this song already (even if only through the many covers) but if this perfect classic is all you know about the greatness of the Only Ones then you owe it to yourself to go out and but the real albums, available at Amazon or your local music dealer.

A very grizzled version of the Only Ones returned (as of 2007) having survived heroin and mass indifference. There's new work coming and on-going tour.


  1. it's certainly one of the best singles ever made. It explodes.

  2. I found the album with "Another Girl, Another Planet" at a garage sale that a fellow vinyl hoarder in my town had. He seemed surprised I was interested in it.

  3. Bill

    Damn right it does and it never seems to lose that power.


    That's a cool find. My vinyl Special View came from the dollar bin of a grimy record store where the owner thought I was trying to fleece him because I bought up all his old new wave albums.

  4. On the short list of greatest songs of all time. Lovers Of Today is a great tune as well. And their second album "Baby's Got A Gun" is just about the most Heroin soaked record ever.
    The comeback a couple of years ago was painful, Perrets voice sounded about as good as one would expect after a 20 year smack run.

  5. Nazz


    "Heroin soaked record" good line, I may try to use that one.

  6. Dear The Only Ones,

    I'm sorry guys, but please give up on the "I can still rock!" look what with the leather jackets and stupid shades and black hair dye and all. You're much to great a band to not let yourselves look like what you are: Aged Englishmen who've had enough of this world's shit, thank you very much.

    Lotta love,
    Call Pastor Bob

  7. Dear CPB

    Dude, that's a lot of 'ands' for one sentence.

    Sincerely Peter Perrett (or what remains of him)

  8. The only Ones are indeed worthy all the attention they can get. One of the best bands ever!
    And there is a sixth single, CBS 12-7285 released 1979 between You've Go To To Pay and Trouble In The World. It's a limited 12'' single (mine is in blue vinyl) It contains the wonderful Out There In The Night (wich Peter Perrett claims is about his run away cat!), and on the flip side a reissue of Lovers Of Today and Peter and The Pets.

  9. Yeah, I've got a cover scan of that but decided to leave it out of the equation, since it only has one song not already on the singles already posted.

    What I'm really hoping to find is a scan for the "Baby's Got a Gun"/"Silent Night" seven inch.

    P.S. So "Out There in the Night" is about a cat, thus blowing the commonly-held belief that all Perrett's songs were about the smack.

  10. As a ravenous French fan at the time, I can testify that, for some reason, almost all of their parisian gigs turned to disaster. Except for the first one, a live TV show. Then, they played for some kind of indoor festival in the suburbs and were programmed, for some reason, sandwiched between local hard rock favorites Shakin' Street (featuring the mighty Ross The Boss, straight out of the Dictators) and Trust. After a couple of songs, Peter Perrett was hit in the head by a full can of beer, and that was the end of it. Then, they played a headlining show at Le Palace. Unfortunately, most of the punters were there for local openers, Edith Nylon. I was glad I could make it to stage front when the Only Ones took the stage, and the gig was good, if scarcely applauded. Turned out there were only about three rows of people left at the end of the show... When I learned they were breaking off, heartbroken, I crossed the Channel to see their farewell show at the Lyceum, which was brilliant. They'll be playing in Paris again in a few days, but I can't bring myself to go. I don't want to taint those memories.

  11. And that's a lot of memories to keep untarnished. Thanks for having great stories to share.

    I'd probably go see the Only Ones today, since I was eleven and prairie-locked when they broke up but if I'd seen as many shows as you, I'd probably pass too.


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