As the punk-ted ‘war’ of the summer of 1977 was subsiding into insignificance, a certain young punk nicknamed ‘Shane O’Hooligan’ joined a band called the Nipple Erectors and in May 1978 they released the first ‘punkabilly’ song ‘king of the bop’ (the fashion of adding –billy to any rock’n’roll derivative had not yet arisen and we find them described in 1978 by one reviewer as “rockapunky rebels”). It’s a good enough song with good rhythm and a very rocking guitar solo but the vocals are 100% punk style. A short review of the single by Alan Lewis at the time said:
The A side is perhaps the first record which will genuinely appeal to Teds and punks alike (Eddie And Sheena was too contrived, and doesn’t count). I like the sound of this lot: no claims on their behalf – simplistic is too good a word for what they do – but they sound like they’re having fun.
The B-side ‘nervous wreck’ was pure punk as were the following 3 singles which came out under their new name The Nips before they packed it in in 1980 (although it must be said that the guitar solo on ‘vengeance’, a B-side from October 1979 was pure rockabilly). The Nipple Erectors not only co-opted rock’n’roll elements into that initial single but also wore drapes.
‘Shane O’Hooligan’ was – of course’ none other than London Irishman Shane McGowan (1957-), who was soon to find fame with his new group The Pogues in the mid 1980s but that’s anothers story. The flirtation with rock’n’roll and with teds was over by 1979 when they were inching themselves sartorially towards new wave (whatever that is).
To come back to another single mentioned by a reviewer above, February 1978 saw the ‘weirdo’ glam-prog-punk band Wayne Country and the Electric Chairs come out with a single recounting the Romeo and Juliet story ‘Eddie and Sheena’ which told of the romance of punk girl Sheena and teddy boy Eddie which ends with a wedding and an offspring who is called Elvis … Rotten! The first part is sung as a pap-rock’n’roll ballad but is reprised in the last quarter (at 2:36) as a punk thrasher.
Teds won’t like it, if only for the fact that Eddie seems to give in to Sheila’s punkiness, but it has some similarities to Russ Abbott’s ‘the ballad of Stampin’ Stan‘ whose storyline is more dramatic and will tug at any ted’s heartstrings.