Bad Brains (album)

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Bad Brains
Bad Brains debut.jpg
Studio album by Bad Brains
Released February 1982
Recorded August – October 1981
May 16, 1981
Studio 171-A
Length 33:56
Label ROIR
Producer Jay Dublee
Bad Brains chronology
Bad Brains
Rock for Light
Alternate cover art
1989 reissue as Attitude: The ROIR Sessions
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4.5/5 stars[1]
Robert Christgau (B+)[2]
Punknews 5/5 stars[3]

Bad Brains is the debut studio album recorded by the American hardcore punk band Bad Brains.


The album's tracks were recorded by the band and producer Jay Dublee at 171-A Studios in New York City from August through October 1981, with the exception of "Jah Calling", "Pay to Cum" and "I Luv I Jah", which were recorded live in the studio on May 16, 1981.[4]


Bad Brains was originally released by Reachout International Records (ROIR) in February 1982, only on cassette tape.[nb 1]

Reception and influence[edit]

When the album was released in 1982, fans and critics alike were stunned to learn that the musicians behind this album – one of the fastest albums of all time upon its release – were African-American Rastafarians who also were skilled at reggae.[citation needed]

The album was a crucial step in the evolution of hardcore punk and the eventual fusion of hard rock and reggae adopted later by bands like Sublime, Fishbone, and 311.[citation needed]

Adam Yauch of Beastie Boys was quoted as saying that this album is "the best punk/hardcore album of all time".[1]


In 1989, In-Effect Records released a CD version, with the same track listing, titled Attitude: The ROIR Sessions.[nb 2]

It was not until 1996 that ROIR reissued the original release on both CD[nb 3] and LP.[nb 4]

In 2008, the track "Right Brigade" was featured on the in-game soundtrack of Grand Theft Auto IV, through its radio station Liberty City Hardcore (LCHC).


Many of the album's tracks were re-recorded for their 1983 follow-up, Rock for Light, with the exception of "Don't Need It", "The Regulator", "Jah Calling", "Leaving Babylon", "Pay to Cum", "I Luv Jah" and "Intro".

Cover versions[edit]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Bad Brains. 

No. Title Length
1. "Sailin' On"   1:55
2. "Don't Need It"   1:07
3. "Attitude"   1:19
4. "The Regulator"   1:08
5. "Banned in D.C."   2:12
6. "Jah Calling" (live in studio) 2:31
7. "Supertouch/Shitfit"   2:31
8. "Leaving Babylon"   4:10
9. "Fearless Vampire Killers"   1:07
10. "I"   2:05
11. "Big Take Over"   2:57
12. "Pay to Cum" (live in studio) 1:25
13. "Right Brigade"   2:27
14. "I Luv I Jah" (live in studio) 6:22
15. "Intro"   0:45
Total length:



  1. ^ ROIR #A106
  2. ^ In-Effect #88561-3002-2
  3. ^ ROIR #RUSCD 8223
  4. ^ ROIR #RUSLP 8223


  1. ^ a b Prato, Greg. "Bad Brains, Review". Retrieved 2013-09-17. 
  2. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Bad Brains, Discography Reviews". Retrieved 2013-09-17. 
  3. ^ Smooth_BM (August 3, 2002). "Bad Brains, Review". Retrieved May 9, 2015. 
  4. ^ American Hardcore: A Tribal History by Steven Blush (2001)
  5. ^ "john frusciante - sailin'on (bad brains cover)". 2008-03-30. Retrieved 2012-01-15. 

External links[edit]