Jimmy Pursey

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Jimmy Pursey
Jimmy Pursey 2012-07-14.jpg
Jimmy Pursey performing in London on 14 July 2012
Background information
Birth nameJames Timothy Pursey
Born (1955-02-09) 9 February 1955 (age 64)
Hersham, Surrey, England, United Kingdom
GenresPunk rock, post-punk (solo career)
Occupation(s)Musician, record producer
Years active1976–present
Associated actsSham 69
Sham Pistols
Day 21

James Timothy Pursey (born 9 February 1955) is an English rock musician. He is the founder and frontman of the punk rock band Sham 69, which he has performed with since 1976, along with releasing material as a solo artist.

Early life[edit]

Pursey was born in Hersham, in the county of Surrey on 9 February 1955.[1] His father was a plumber and former British Army soldier, and his mother worked as a cinema usherette.[1] He received his education at Hersham House & Burhill Infants, Hersham Juniors, and at Rydens School, which he left at the age of 15 to work in a curtain shop.[1] In his youth he was a regular attender at the local disco, the "Walton Hop" at the Playhouse Theatre, where he met Jonathan King,[2] He began performing in public after taking the stage as a drunk fourteen-year-old at the disco, miming to Bay City Rollers and Rolling Stones' songs.[3][4]


In 1976 while working at Wimbledon Greyhound Stadium with Albie Slider, Billy Bostik and Neil Harris, having been inspired by the music of The Ramones, Pursey formed a punk rock band called 'Jimmy and the Ferrets', which went on to become 'Sham 69'. The band initially rehearsed at Slider's parents' pig farm, where Jonathan King sometimes came to watch them, considering the option of becoming the act's promoter.[2][5] Before securing a record contract the lineup changed, with Harris and Bostock being replaced by Dave Parsons and Mark Cain. Slider left shortly afterwards and was replaced by Dave Tregunna on the bass guitar.

Sham 69 went on to release four long-players via Polydor Records, and had six UK top 50 singles before it broke up in 1980, with the violence that regularly marred its gigs having taken a toll on the band.

Pursey set up a short-lived new band with Steve Jones and Paul Cook, formerly of The Sex Pistols, titled the "Sham Pistols", before embarking on a solo career.[5] He also worked around this period as a record producer on the early releases by Cockney Rejects, and the Angelic Upstarts.[3]

His first solo material was released via Polydor Records, being the single Lucky Man (1980),[5] and a long-player entitled Imagination Camouflage (1980), recorded with Derwood Andrews and Mark Laff, formerly of Generation X as session musicians, who also received co-writing credits for two of the LP's songs).[6] Pursey then moved to Epic Records for three further singles releases, including "Animals Have More Fun" (1981), co-written with Peter Gabriel,[3] and a second solo LP entitled Alien Orphan (1981).[5] In 1983, a third long-player, entitled Revenge is not the Password, was released on the Code Black label. He later released a fourth solo album entitled Code Black (1997).[5]

In 1986 Pursey reformed Sham 69 with Dave Parsons, and a new line-up.[5][7] The band continued to play live and record until 2006. In 2006, Pursey recorded a new version of the Sham 69 hit "Hurry Up Harry" as an unofficial World Cup song in aid of a cancer charity; "Hurry Up England" was recorded with Graham Coxon's band but credited to 'Sham 69 & the Special Assembly'.[8] In January 2007 the band broke up.[9] NME reported that a statement released by Parsons included the message: "Sham 69 have left Jimmy Pursey on the eve of their 30th anniversary."[10] Pursey initially stated that he would be retaining the Sham 69 name,[11] but in Jan 2008, he announced that: "to avoid confusion to fans he wanted it known that he did not want to be associated with the band still performing as Sham 69". In 2008 he set up a new band titled Day 21 with Mat Sargent on bass, The Rev (Towers of London and The Prodigy) on guitar, and Snell (Towers of London).[12][13][14] In July 2011 Pursey reformed Sham 69 again with the band's late 1970s members.[15] A meeting held between Pursey and Dave Parsons, original Sham 69 guitarist and co-writer of nearly all of the Sham repertoire with Pursey, having ironed out their differences. Dave Tregunna, on bass, and Mark Cain, on drums, were called in to complete the original lineup for a show in London.[16]

Personal life[edit]

Pursey lives in the Surrey town of Chertsey. He is a part-time artist, and has been known to sell paintings to raise funding for the Hersham Hounds Greyhound Sanctuary.[13] In May 2005 there was a disturbance at The Head art gallery in Brighton, when Pursey interrupted an art show opening drinks party by barging in and removing a number of his paintings from the display after a disagreement with the curator over them.[17] In August 2005 Pursey was involved in a physical confrontation with John Lydon whilst they were both queuing for travel visas at the United States Embassy in London, Lydon reportedly having spurned an offer of Pursey's hand with verbal abuse and a drink being thrown, with Pursey responding by kicking at Lydon in retaliation.[18]


With Sham 69[edit]



  • Imagination Camouflage (1980), Polydor
  • Alien Orphan (1981), Epic
  • Revenge is not the Password (1983), Code Black
  • Code Black (1997), Scratch


  • "Lucky Man" (1980), Polydor
  • "Animals Have More Fun" (1981), Epic
  • "Naughty Boys Like Naughty Girls" (1981), Epic
  • "Alien Orphan" (1982), Epic
  • "The First Deadly Sin" (1982), Epic
  • "Man Worries Man" (1983), Code Black
  • " Eyes Shine Killidoscope" (1983), Young Limbs Numb Hymns (as James T. Pursey)
  • "If Only Before" (1984), An Eskimo - credited to James T. Pursey
  • "Zap Pow!" (1986), Vide Cat


  1. ^ a b c Bennett, Oliver (2006) "Jimmy Pursey: Hurry up Jimmy", The Independent, 25 June 2006; retrieved 4 October 2010.
  2. ^ a b Ogg, p. 508
  3. ^ a b c Thompson, pg. 612-3
  4. ^ Hume, Mick (2003) ""I was a teenage Walton Hopper" Archived 22 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine", The Times, reproduced at spiked-online.com, 20 January 2003, retrieved 2010-10-04
  5. ^ a b c d e f Strong, p. 140-1
  6. ^ Entry for 'Imagination Camouflage' in the 'Discogs' website (2019).
  7. ^ Ogg, pg. 515
  8. ^ "Sham 69 guitarist hits back in singer feud", NME, 29 January 2007; retrieved 4 October 2010.
  9. ^ "Punk band Sham 69 in bitter split", BBC, 26 January 2007; retrieved 3 October 2010.
  10. ^ "Sham 69 split with singer", NME, 26 January 2007; retrieved 3 October 2010.
  11. ^ "Sham 69 singer accuses bandmates of 'jumping ship'", NME, 26 January 2007; retrieved 4 October 2010.
  12. ^ Michaels, Sean (8 August 2008). "Sham 69 and Towers of London members form new band". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 April 2011.
  13. ^ a b Zacharias, Adam (2008) "Final farewell from Punk icon", getsurrey.co.uk, 27 June 2008; retrieved 4 October 2010.
  14. ^ "All Rev-ed up by new band", thevisitor.co.uk, 12 August 2008; retrieved 4 October 2010.
  15. ^ TaM Management at Little London Studios
  16. ^ "Electric Brixton". Archived from the original on 4 September 2011. Retrieved 28 July 2019. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  17. ^ 'Sham 69 rocker has tantrum in art gallery', 'Gigwise' website 14 May 2005. https://www.gigwise.com/news/5951/
  18. ^ 'Punk Punch-up!', B.B.C. 6 Music, 24 August 2005. http://www.bbc.co.uk/6music/news/20050824_punkpunchup.shtml


  • Ogg, Alex (2006) No More Heroes: a Complete History of UK Punk 1976-1980, Cherry Red Books, ISBN 978-1-901447-65-1
  • Strong, Martin C. (2003) The Great Indie Discography, Canongate, ISBN 1-84195-335-0
  • Thompson, Dave (2000) Alternative Rock, Miller Freeman, ISBN 0-87930-607-6

External links[edit]