Cock Sparrer live in London
|Genres||Punk rock, Oi!, street punk|
|Years active||1972–1978, 1982–1984
|Labels||Decca, Carrere, Razor, Bitzcore, Captain Oi!|
|Past members||Garrie Lammin
Cock Sparrer is a punk rock band formed in 1972 in the East End of London, England. Although they have never enjoyed commercial success, they are considered one of the most influential street punk bands of all time, helping pave the way for the late-1970s punk scene and the Oi! subgenre. Their songs have been covered by many punk, Oi!, and hardcore bands.
Their style was influenced by pub rock, glam rock and raw 1960s beat music as delivered by bands like the Small Faces and The Who. Their lyrics mostly dealt with topics related to the daily lives of working class people. Their name derives from their original name, Cock Sparrow, a Cockney term of familiarity.
Cock Sparrer was founded by Colin McFaull, Mick Beaufoy, Steve "Burge" Burgess and Steve Bruce – who had known each other since the age of 11. Playing in nightclubs in and around London, they developed the style that was later to be known as streetpunk or Oi!, mixed with pub rock/R&B influences. In 1976, Garrie Lammin (Burge's cousin) joined as second guitarist, and the band met with Malcolm McLaren, who was considering managing Cock Sparrer alongside the Sex Pistols. According to members of the band, the deal never happened because McLaren refused to buy them a round of beers; another explanation given is that they refused to cut their hair in a style that McLaren wanted.
In 1977, the band secured a deal with Decca Records, who were hoping to cash in on the now blooming punk movement. The first Cock Sparrer single was "Runnin' Riot", released in May 1977. It did not sell well, nor did the following single (a cover of the Rolling Stones' "We Love You"), and Decca dropped the band in 1978. The band members had already recorded an album's worth of material, which was only released in Spain as Cock Sparrer and wasn't officially issued in the UK until Razor Records released it in 1987 as True Grit. Cock Sparrer ceased activity in late 1978, with Lammin leaving the group.
In 1981, old Cock Sparrer songs were included on several Oi! compilation albums, and interest in the band began to rise again. They reformed in 1982 - with Chris Skepis replacing Gary Lammin as second guitarist - and signed to Carrere Records, which released the "England Belongs to Me" single. The next release was the band's debut album Shock Troops in 1983. It included the songs "Where Are They Now", "I Got Your Number"' and "Riot Squad." Beaufoy then left the band and was replaced by Shug O'Neill. Third album Running Riot in '84 was released in October 1984, after which the band ceased activity once more, although a "live" album recorded around this time was released in 1987.
The band performed several reunion concerts in 1992 (with Daryl Smith as long-term replacement for O'Neill), and in 1994 they released a new album, Guilty as Charged. In 1997, they released the album Two Monkeys. Since then, Cock Sparrer has occasionally toured and has performed sporadically at punk festivals including the Wasted/Rebellion festival. In April 2008 they headlined Rebellion Vienna  and also headlined Rebellion Blackpool in August 2008. They also headlined the Punk & Disorderly-Festival in Berlin in 2009. They also played Riot Fest in Chicago playing at the Congress Theater on 10/10/09 and headlined at the Metro on 10/11/09. They returned to play Riot Fest again in 2014.
The band released their sixth studio album, Here We Stand, in November 2007.
UFC fighter Dan Hardy has used the song "England Belongs to Me" as his walk-out music. "Take 'em All" has a long history of being sung by Major League Soccer supporter groups, including the Empire Supporters Club, Garden State Ultras And Viking Army Supporters Club for the New York Red Bulls and the Emerald City Supporters for the Seattle Sounders FC. In 2012, Cock Sparrer marked their 40th anniversary along with Rancid who were celebrating their 20th anniversary. They played four sold-out concerts in the United States (two in New York and two in San Francisco) and headlined the Christmas Bash in Birmingham as part of the Rebellion Festival on the 8th of December 2012.
Cock Sparrer members
- Colin McFaull – vocals
- Mick Beaufoy – lead guitar
- Daryl Smith – rhythm guitar
- Steve Burgess – bass guitar
- Steve Bruce – drums
|Title||Label||Date of Release||Notes|
|Cock Sparrer||Decca [Spain]||1978||Released in the UK as True Grit in 1987|
|Running Riot in '84||Syndicate||1984|
|Guilty as Charged||Bitzcore||1994|
|Here We Stand||Captain Oi!||2007|
- Run Away EP, 1995, Bitzcore
- Live and Loud, 1987, Link
- Live: Runnin' Riot Across the USA, 2000
- Back Home, 2003, Captain Oi!
- Back in San Francisco - Live 2009, 2010, Pirates Press
- Rarities, 1995, Captain Oi!
- Rumours Carry More Weight Than Fact (The Best Of Cock Sparrer), 1996, Step-1
- England Belongs To Me, 1997, Harry May
- Bloody Minded, 1999, Dr. Strange/Bitzcore
- The Best of Cock Sparrer, 2004, Recall 2 cd
- The Decca Years, 2006, Captain Oi!
- 40 Years, 2012, Captain Oi!
- "Running Riot" b/w "Sister Suzie", 1977, Decca
- "We Love You" b/w "Chip on my Shoulder", 1977, Decca
- "England Belongs to Me" b/w "Argy Bargy", 1982, Carerre
- "Run Away", 1995, Bitzcore
- "Too Late" b/w "Because You're Young", 2007, Captain Oi!
- "Did You Have A Nice Life Without Me?" b/w "So Many Things", 2008, Dirty Punk (French Import)
- "True To Yourself" b/w "Chip On My Shoulder (Live)", 2008, TKO Records
- "Spirit of '76" [one-sided flexidisc], 2008, Pirates Press Records
- "England Belongs to Me" 30th Anniversary Split w/ Rancid, 2012 Pirates Press Records
- Smith, Oshindele-Smith, Bobby, Margaret (2007). One Love Two Colours: The Unlikely Marriage of a Punk Rocker and His African Queen. Troubador Publishing Ltd. p. 85. ISBN 1906221391.
Along with The Business and Cock Sparrer, the 4-Skins were the most culturally important of the Oi! Bands, their sound influencing a new host of new American bands such as Rancid and Anti-Heroes.
- Image of band's original "business" card
- "Rebellion Vienna 2008 Bands". Retrieved 2008-08-27.
- "Blackpool Confirmed Bands". Retrieved 2008-08-27.
- "Captain Oi! Records". Retrieved 2007-08-10.
- Booth, Tim (2009-06-28). "Sounders make noise". The Spokesman-Review. Retrieved 2009-08-11.