Captain Sensible

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Captain Sensible
Captain Sensible, performing live with The Damned in 2006
Background information
Birth name Raymond Burns
Also known as Captain Sensible
Born (1954-04-24) 24 April 1954 (age 60)
Origin Balham, London
Genres Punk rock,[1] new wave[2] alternative pop[3]
Occupation(s) Musician, songwriter
Instruments Guitar, bass, organ, vocals
Years active 1976–present
Labels None
Associated acts The Damned, Dead Men Walking, Dolly Mixture, Dr. Spacetoad, Punk Floyd, Johnny Moped

Raymond Ian Burns (born 24 April 1954),[3] known by the stage name Captain Sensible, is a singer, songwriter and guitarist.

Sensible co-founded the punk rock band The Damned, originally playing bass before switching to guitar. He embarked on a solo alternative pop career during the 1980s, following a UK number one hit with his cover of "Happy Talk".

Sensible's signature headwear is a red beret.

Early life[edit]

Sensible was born in Balham, London in 1954.[3] He went to Stanley Technical School for Boys in South Norwood. The first musical instrument he played was a Bontempi organ.[4]

The Damned[edit]

Originally a member of the Johnny Moped band, Sensible joined The Damned in 1976 on the suggestion of his work colleague Rat Scabies, the band's drummer, filling a number of positions during his tenure (including bassist, lead guitarist and keyboardist), and eventually becoming the band's main songwriter following the departure of Brian James. He left in the 1980s to concentrate on solo projects, but rejoined in 1996 after Scabies left, and co-wrote Grave Disorder, the band's first new studio album for 8 years, in 2001. He continues to tour with the band today and they released their latest album So, Who's Paranoid? on 17 November 2008.[5]

Solo career[edit]

Sensible's first solo release came in 1978 with the single "Jet Boy, Jet Girl", recorded while The Damned were on hiatus.[6] He followed this in 1981 with an EP on Crass Records.[6] He signed to A&M Records and had a UK number one hit in 1982 with a cover of "Happy Talk", the Rodgers and Hammerstein song from South Pacific, featuring backing by Dolly Mixture and a band including Robyn Hitchcock on guitar.[6] This was later sampled for rap artist Dizzee Rascal's 2004 song "Dream".[7] Other songs which became hits in the UK and various European countries were "Wot", "One Christmas Catalogue" and anti-Falklands War "Glad It's All Over", which was co-written and produced by Tony Mansfield. After quitting A&M Records he continued recording for various independent labels, including Deltic Records and Humbug Records. He has also toured with his solo band Punk Floyd.

His recording of "The Snooker Song" from Mike Batt's musical The Hunting Of The Snark was used as the theme music for the BBC gameshow Big Break, and he also wrote and performed a song called "Brain's Theme" for the movie Skinned Deep in 2004.

Playing live in Abergavenny in 1994

Captain Sensible is also a member of Dead Men Walking, a supergroup featuring Mike Peters (The Alarm), Kirk Brandon (Spear of Destiny) and Slim Jim Phantom (Stray Cats).[8]


In September 2006, he formed a new British political party known as the Blah! Party.[9]

"But we believe that voting is an important part of the democratic process, and we want the Blah! Party to be the party of protest; a channel through which the people of the U.K. can vent their dissatisfaction at nonsensical everyday things, and protest against the government and the current crop of political parties."[10]

The party entered into a sponsorship deal with Seabrook Crisps in September 2006.[11]

He was previously a member of the Green Party.

Personal life[edit]

Captain Sensible was once married to Rachel Bor of Dolly Mixture.[12] Sensible and Bor had three children together.[12] Sensible later remarried and now has four children.[12][13]

Solo discography[edit]


  • Women and Captains First (1982), A&M – UK No. 64[6]
  • The Power of Love (1983), A&M
  • Revolution Now (1989), Deltic
  • The Universe of Geoffrey Brown (1993), Humbug
  • Live at the Milky Way (1994), Humbug
  • Meathead (1995), Humbug
  • Mad Cows and Englishmen (1996), Scratch
  • Sensible Singles (1984), A&M
  • A Slice of Captain Sensible (1997), Humbug
  • The Captain's Box (1997), Humbug
  • Sensible Lifestyles: The Best of Captain Sensible (1997), Cleopatra
  • The Masters (1998), Eagle


  • This is Your Captain Speaking (1981), Crass
  • The Universe of Captain Sensible (1998), Jarmusic


  • "Jet Boy, Jet Girl" (1978), Dutch Poker [also appeared as the B-side to The Damned's "Wait for the Blackout"]
  • "Happy Talk" (1982), A&M – UK No. 1[14]
  • "Wot" (1982), A&M – UK No. 26[14]
  • "Croydon" (1982), A&M
  • "Stop the World" (1983), A&M – UK No. 82
  • "I'm a Spider" (1983), A&M
  • "Glad It's All Over" (1984), A&M – UK No. 6[14]
  • "There Are More Snakes than Ladders" (1984), A&M – UK No. 57[14]
  • "One Christmas Catalogue" (1984), A&M – UK No. 79
  • "Wot, No Meat?" (1985), Animus – credited to 'Captain Sensible & the Missus' (duet with Rachel Bor of Dolly Mixture)
  • "Come On Down" (1985), A&M
  • "Revolution Now" (1987), A&M
  • "The Snooker Song" (1988), Trax
  • "The Toys Take Over" (1988), Deltic
  • "I Get So Excited" (1988), Deltic
  • "Smash Ut Up (part 4)" (1990), Deltic – [B-side of the 12" version is by the Brotherhood of Lizards]
  • "Wot '93" (1993), XYZ
  • "The Hokey Cokey" (1994), Humbug – UK No. 71[14]
  • "Flip Top World" (1995), Humbug
  • "While Wrecking the Car" (1997), Empty
  • "Missing the Boat" (1999), Jarmusic
  • "Wot – I Say Captain" with Erkan & Stefan (2005)


  1. ^ Turner, Luke (10 November 2009). "The Damned's Captain Sensible On Why He Likes Trains". The Quietus. Retrieved 6 January 2014. 
  2. ^ New Wave (Top Artists) (2/4) at the Wayback Machine (archived 26 October 2010). AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 6 January 2014.
  3. ^ a b c "Captain Sensible Official Site – Bio". Retrieved 6 January 2014. 
  4. ^ Coyote, Ginger. "Captain Sensible Interview". Punk Globe. Retrieved 6 January 2014. 
  5. ^ "The Damned Return With First Album Since 2001". Uncut (IPC Media). Retrieved 6 January 2014. 
  6. ^ a b c d Strong, Martin Charles (2003). The Great Indie Discography. Canongate. pp. 23–24. ISBN 1-84195-335-0. 
  7. ^ "Happy Rascal". NME (IPC Media). Retrieved 6 January 2014. 
  8. ^ "Dead Men Walking". BBC Online. 5 October 2006. Retrieved 7 October 2007. 
  9. ^ The Blah! Party at the Wayback Machine (archived 12 November 2006). Retrieved 6 January 2014.
  10. ^ "Captain Sensible Starts Political Party". Retrieved 6 January 2014. 
  11. ^ Loweth, Jenny (27 September 2006). "Crisp firm backs the new force in politics!". Telegraph & Argus. Retrieved 2 October 2007. 
  12. ^ a b c De Silva, Lisa (April 2009). "Almost Famous: Dolly Mixture". South Downs Living (47). Retrieved 23 December 2013. 
  13. ^ Dewhurst, Tony (11 July 2013). "The Damned, Clitheroe Grand". Lancashire Telegraph. Retrieved 23 December 2013. 
  14. ^ a b c d e "Captain Sensible". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 6 January 2014. 

External links[edit]