Captain Sensible, performing live with The Damned in 2006
|Birth name||Raymond Burns|
|Also known as||Captain Sensible|
|Born||23 April 1954|
|Genres||Alternative pop, punk, rock, new wave, synthpop|
|Instruments||Guitar, bass, vocals|
|Associated acts||The Damned, Dead Men Walking, Dr. Spacetoad, Punk Floyd, Johnny Moped|
Raymond Ian Burns (born 24 April 1954), known by the stage name Captain Sensible, is a singer, songwriter, guitarist (and sometimes bassist) who grew up in Croydon, England, and co-founded the punk rock band The Damned in 1976. After leaving the band, he reinvented himself as an alternative pop singer with a less punk image. His signature headwear is a red beret.
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.
Sensible's first solo release came in 1978 with the single "Jet Boy, Jet Girl", recorded while The Damned were on hiatus. He followed this in 1981 with an EP on Crass Records. 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. This was later sampled for rap artist Dizzee Rascal's 2004 song "Dream". 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". 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.
In September 2006, he formed a new British political party known as the Blah! Party. "Politics is dead," he said in a statement. "The British public aren't voting because the parties are totally ignoring their opinions. At the moment, the only real method of mass protest against this is by not voting, which is why voting figures continue to fall.
"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."
He was previously a member of the Green Party.
- Women and Captains First (1982), A&M – UK No. 64
- 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
- "Wot" (1982), A&M – UK No. 26
- "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
- "There Are More Snakes than Ladders" (1984), A&M – UK No. 57
- "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
- "Flip Top World" (1995), Humbug
- "While Wrecking the Car" (1997), Empty
- "Missing the Boat" (1999), Jarmusic
- "Wot – I Say Captain" with Erkan & Stefan (2005)
- Captain Sensible Official Site; Biography
- THE DAMNED RETURN WITH FIRST ALBUM SINCE 2001 – Uncut.co.uk
- Strong, Martin C. (2003) The Great Indie Discography, Canongate, ISBN 1-84195-335-0, p. 23-4
- HAPPY RASCAL – NME.com
- "Dead Men Walking". Entertainment. BBC Cumbria. 5 October 2006. Retrieved 7 October 2007.
- Main Page – The Blah! Party
- Captain Sensible Starts Political Party – Aversion.com
- Loweth, Jenny (27 September 2006). "Crisp firm backs the new force in politics!". Bradford Telegraph and Argus. Retrieved 2 October 2007.
- Captain Sensible on Myspace
- Interview with Captain Sensible (includes video of interview, and of The Damned's 35th anniversary tour), Rocker Magazine, 2011.
- Captain Sensible discography
- Extended discography