Chelsea (band)

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For the 1970s American rock band, see Chelsea (American band).
Background information
Origin London, England
Genres Punk rock
Years active 1976–present
Labels Step Forward, I.R.S., Captain Oi!
Associated acts Generation X
Website Chelsea's official site
Members Gene October
James Stevenson
Nic Austin
Mat Sargent
Lee Morrell
Past members William Broad
Tony James
Henry Badowski
John Towe
Carey Fortune
Chris Bashford
Tony Barber
Stuart Sulsby
Andy Reid

Chelsea are an English punk rock band, formed in London in 1976.

Three of the four original band members went on to help found Generation X. More than two decades after its release, "Right to Work", Chelsea's debut single, was included in Mojo magazine's list of the best punk rock singles of all time.[1]


The original line-up was frontman Gene October, William Broad (later and better known as Billy Idol) (guitar), Tony James (bass) and John Towe (drums, who had come from London SS along with James). After a few gigs, the other three left October to form Generation X. October then recruited Carey Fortune (drums), Martin Stacy (guitar) and Bob Jessie (bass), with the last two soon replaced by Henry Daze (Henry Badowski) and James Stevenson (who also later joined Generation X). This rapid turnover of band members (Simon Cade Williams, aka Simon Vitesse, joined the band as bassist in 1977 for UK tour and the single: "High Rise Living") was characteristic throughout Chelsea's existence, with October the only constant presence.

Their first single, "Right to Work", dealing with unemployment, was their most popular song. After spending 1977–78 touring in the UK and overseas, they released their first album, Chelsea, in 1979. Their second LP, Alternative Hits, was released in 1980. At this time the band split and October put together a new line-up, including guitarist Nic Austin, which recorded the critically acclaimed album Evacuate'.

October put out albums sporadically with various line-ups throughout the 1980s, including Rock Off, Original Sinners and Underwraps. In the early 90's Chelsea toured The Alternative and Traitors Gate albums with the return of Nic Austin and new recruit Mat Sargent on bass. In 1999 the line-up from the first album reformed for the 'Social Chaos Tour' across North America. The live album Metallic F.O. was recorded at CBGBs in New York during this tour. The band released the studio album, Faster, Cheaper and Better Looking in 2005 with Tony Barber from The Buzzcocks on bass.

In 2011 Nic Austin & Mat Sargent returned to the band along with James Stevenson. Chelsea continue to tour and are reputedly recording new material for a new album.


Studio albums[edit]

  • Chelsea (July 1979: Step Forward, SFLP 2)
  • Alternative Hits (part compilation) (November 1980, SFLP 5) American name No Escape
  • Evacuate (April 1982: Step Forward, SFLP 7)
  • Original Sinners (August 1985: Communiqué, LARGE 1)
  • Rocks Off (November 1986: Jungle, FREUD 14)
  • Underwraps (June 1989: I.R.S., EIRSA/+C/CD 1011)
  • The Alternative (April 1993: Alter-Ego, ALTGOCD 002)
  • Traitors Gate (August 1994: Weser, WL 2480-2)
  • Faster, Cheaper and Better Looking (2005)
  • Saturday Night Sunday Morning (2015) [2]

Live albums[edit]

  • 1978 – Live At The Music Machine
  • 1981 – Norwich UK
  • 1983 – Live and Well
  • 2005 – Live & Loud

Compilation albums[edit]

  • 1981 – I.R.S. Greatest Hits Vols. 2 & 3
  • 1988 – Back Trax
  • 1997 – Fools and Soldiers
  • 2000 – Punk Rock Rarities
  • 2000 – The Punk Singles Collection 1977–82
  • 2001 – BBC Punk Sessions
  • 2005 – Urban Kids: A Punk Rock Anthology


  • "Right to Work" / "The Loner" (June 1977: Step Forward, SF 2)
  • "High Rise Living" / "No Admission" (October 1977: Step Forward, SF 5)
  • "Urban Kids" / "No Flowers" (August 1978: Step Forward, SF 8)
  • "No-One's Coming Outside" / "What Would You Do?" (February 1980: Step Forward, SF 14)
  • "Look at the Outside" / "Don't Get Me Wrong" (April 1978: Step Forward, SF 15)
  • "No Escape" / "Decide" (July 1980: Step Forward, SF 16)
  • "Rockin' Horse" / "Years Away" (May 1981: Step Forward, SF 17)
  • "Freemans" / "ID Parade" / "How Do You Know?" (September 1981: Step Forward, SF 18)
  • "Evacuate" / "New Era" (November 1981: Step Forward, SF 20)
  • "War Across the Nation" / "High Rise Living (Remix)" (March 1982: Step Forward, SF 21)
  • "Stand Out" / "Last Drink" (October 1982: Step Forward, SF 22)
  • "Valium Mother" / "Monica, Monica" (June 1985: Communiqué, Little 1) Also released as a 12 inch single
  • "Shine The Light" / "Believe Me" (March 1986: Communiqué)
  • "Give Me More" / "Sympathy For The Devil" (May 1988: Chelsea, CH 001)
  • "We Dare" / "What’s Wrong With You (Live)" / "Right To Work (Live)" (May 1995: Weser, WL 2482 – 7)
  • "Sod the War" / "Mr. Ferry's Son" / "Home" (2007)


  1. ^ Mojo (October 2001) – 100 Punk Scorchers , Issue 95, London;
  2. ^ "Chelsea / Saturday Night Sunday Morning". 1001 Records. Retrieved 2015-06-08. 

External links[edit]