Friday, September 18, 2009

Cocksparrer: England Belongs To Me

It's hard to talk about Oi! (see here), without pointing out how how much Cock Sparrer towered above the pack. Cock Sparrer began gigging in 1976 and, after flirting with Sex Pistol Svengali Malcolm McLaren, recorded unsuccessfully for Decca before leaving the scene in 1978. Then a few years later Gary Bushell began putting Cock Sparrer songs on his Oi! compilations, like Strength though Oi! Soon the band re-formed and followed the dictum of the older guy; "Leave the scene or rule the scene". And rule they did; seven years after forming the band schooled the class of UK '82 on what the hell punk was all about. In fact, the resurrected band sounds like what would've happened if Glen Matlock and Steve Jones had gotten the artsy Johnny Rotten under their thumbs back in '76. Listen to the album, with its anthemic song-writing, chugging guitar, gang vocals and those quavery, sneering vocals of Colin McFaull , it's a distillation of the early Pistols and the Professionals (plus the Stones, the Dolls and the Slade et al). Or as their song "Where Are They Now" puts it, "Only faces ever change, the song remains the same".

Cock Sparrer ruled because they were unafraid to write great rock n' roll songs, however they were stereotyped and classified. The1982 single, "England Belongs To Me" may have appealed to nationalists but they were "never gonna toe no particular party line" or have truck with the boneheads. The accompanying album, 1983's Shock Troops is a stone-classic with every song distilling the raw energy of punk the theatrics of glam rock and and near lethal levels of bovver.

Download England Belongs To Me 7"

Support the band and the good Captain Oi! by buying the album, it's a mighty work.


  1. Go Sparrer, the greatest and least cartoonish original Oi band of all time. They actually refused to play for years to avoid gig riots.


  2. Emmerson
    "least cartoonish" succinctly put, sir, and very true (though as Ramones fans we can say that cartoony isn't always bad.)

    Considering how Oi! bands usually excelled in the single format, it's amazing how incredibly well this works as long player.


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