Okay, inspired by the Post-Punk Top Ten recently selected by Jeremy Thoms of the Cathode Ray for Louder Than War, here’s my own list of favourites from England with a Scottish post-punk top ten to follow. Yes, this is a lazy post but with plenty of very fine music I’m sure you’ll agree.

Magazine: The Light Pours Out of Me (1978)

Greenock’s John McGeoch was very possibly the greatest guitarist of the post-punk era but – as you will see from this video – not much shakes at miming. This was the opening song played by the reformed Magazine when they played the O2 in Glasgow in 2009, a show where Noko substituted for McGeoch on guitar; the Magazine, Visage, Banshees, Armoury Show and PiL man having sadly died in 2004.

Pete Shelley: Homosapien (1981)

Produced by Pete along with Martin Rushent, who also produced the first three Buzzcocks albums, the first three Stranglers albums and Dare by The Human League. This single stands right up there with all those. Pete, incidentally, is photographed on the Homosapien album cover wearing some dapper threads and sitting in front of a Commodore PET computer, which makes me think how technology has accelerated wildly over the past three and a half decades, while this track still sounds relatively contemporary.

The Slits: Heard It Through the Grapevine (1979)

Do covers of classic Motown tracks count as post punk? Yes, because I say so.

PiL: Public Image (1978)

Based on a book written by Edinburgh author Muriel Spark which John Lydon described in his recent autobiography as: ‘A very small book, but it’s a great storyline, about how the publicity machine turns an average actress into a monstrous diva and she wrecks everyone around her. I didn’t want that happening with me or my imagery.’

The Passions: I’m in Love with a German Film Star (1981)

Written about former Sex Pistols and Clash roadie Steve Connolly aka Roadent, who moved to Germany where – you’ve guessed it – he acted in several films although I’m not sure if he could really be described as a ‘star’. The Passions are often categorised as one hit wonders but they deserve better than that.

Joy Division: Transmission (1979)

If anybody knows of a more intense performance caught on TV please get in touch and let me know about it.

Lori and The Chameleons: Touch (1979)

Bit of a curveball here. Released on the Zoo label as we were getting ready to wave goodbye to the seventies, these Chameleons were apparently Dave Balfe and Bill Drummond but as for Lori, I can’t tell you anything about her although I’m guessing she is still likely mystified why this single didn’t sell a whole lot more copies.

Wire: Map Ref 41°N 93°W (1979)

The best track on an LP (154) that Nick Kent in NME suggested was the album that Bowie and Eno set out to make when they worked on Lodger. Map Ref 41°N 93°W is also the best song ever about a cartographer.

Sad Lovers & Giants: Imagination (1981)

One of the rules of compiling a list like this seems to be that at least one obscurity must be chosen. Who are Sad Lovers & Giants? I hear some of you ask. The Cure influenced Sound of Young Watford, that’s who.

The Cure: All Cats Are Grey (1981)

And finally The Cure themselves, a band that I’ve not followed very closely for decades now but whose first three albums I will always love.


On another day these might have been included: Colin Newman: I’ve Waited Ages / The Fall: Lie Dream of a Casino Soul / Mo–Dettes: White Mice / Gang of Four: To Hell With Poverty / Wild Swans: Revolutionary Spirit / Siouxsie and The Banshees: Spellbound.