New Rose

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"New Rose"
The Damned - New Rose.jpg
Single by The Damned
from the album Damned Damned Damned
Released22 October 1976 (1976-10-22)
Format7-inch single
StudioPathway, London
GenrePunk rock
Songwriter(s)Brian James
Producer(s)Nick Lowe
The Damned singles chronology
"New Rose"
"Neat Neat Neat"

"New Rose" is the first single by British punk rock[1] group the Damned, released on 22 October 1976 on Stiff Records, and in 1977 in the Netherlands, Germany and France. It is considered to be the first single by a British punk group.[2]

Written by guitarist Brian James, "New Rose" was also included on the group's full-length debut album, Damned Damned Damned. The deadpan intro by singer Dave Vanian ("Is she really going out with him?") parodied the 1964 Shangri-Las song "Leader of the Pack".[3]

The single's B-side was a cover of the Beatles' hit "Help!", performed about twice as fast as the original. Both songs became staples of the Damned's live shows, and appeared on various compilations.

"New Rose" was reissued in Stiff's Damned 4 Pack mail-order set. Original copies had a press-out centre, while reissues had a solid centre. Copies from the four-pack had matrix details: "Bilbo tape" handwritten and "AY 50332" printed. A CD version was issued in the Stiff Singles 1976–1977 boxed set by Castle Music in 2003. "Help!" also appeared on Hits Greatest Stiffs.


The song was produced by Nick Lowe.[4] It was recorded at Pathway Studios in London, recorded in one day, according to drummer Rat Scabies.[4][5] and "Nick Lowe may have taken an extra day to mix it".[4]


"New Rose" was released on 22 October 1976.[4] James stated that Captain Sensible initially wanted the song "I Fall" as the first single.[4] Sensible later said that "I Fall" would have been "even more gobsmacking because it's so snotty and fast".[4]

Critical reception[edit]

In a retrospective review in 1992, music critic Dave Thompson heaped praise on the single:

'New Rose' is today rightly revered as one of the greatest songs to emerge from 1970s Britain. More than anything outside of the Pistols, 'New Rose' (and its flip, the relentless slaughter of the Beatles' 'Help') brought a focus to the still burgeoning punk scene, finally lifting it out of the musical basket it had hitherto shared with the Stooges/Dolls/MC5 axis, and knocking the Feelgoods and Hot Rods-powered pub rock angle clean out of sight. This was no sub-metal snottiness, no high octane R&B revival. Rather, it was the absolute redefinition of all that rock 'n' roll held dear, a stunning return to basics which threw every last iota of expertise and experience to the winds. The band's detractors thought they were smart when they called the Damned's record 'primitive.' They were way off the mark – the Damned's fans saw it as primeval.[6]

Cover versions[edit]

"New Rose"
New rose gnr.jpg
Promotional single by Guns N' Roses
from the album "The Spaghetti Incident?"
GenreHard rock
Songwriter(s)Brian James

Guns N' Roses covered the track on their 1993 covers album The Spaghetti Incident?.[7] When asked about the Guns N' Roses cover, Damned guitarist Captain Sensible said that he had not heard it because he does not listen to music released after 1980.[8] The song was released as a promo single in 1993.[9]

"New Rose"
Song by Rachel Sweet
from the album 'Protect the Innocent'
GenreNew Wave
Songwriter(s)Brian James

Rachel Sweet covered the song on her 1980 album Protect the Innocent.

Track listing[edit]

  1. "New Rose" (James) – 2:46
  2. "Help!" (Lennon–McCartney) – 1:43

Production credits[edit]


  1. ^ Bradley, Michael (15 March 2016). "The 10 best punk rock singles, by The Undertones' Michael Bradley". TeamRock. Retrieved 12 February 2017.
  2. ^ "Damned Damned Damned" by Ned Raggett, from; URL accessed 10 March 2007
  3. ^ "The Joe Jackson Archive: Footnotes to "Look Sharp!"". Retrieved 13 November 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Robb 2012, p. 243.
  5. ^ Robb 2012, p. 244.
  6. ^ Thompson, Dave (7 February 1992). "The Damned". Goldmine. Retrieved 19 June 2018 – via Rock's Backpages.
  7. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "The Spaghetti Incident?". AllMusic. Retrieved 15 July 2015.
  8. ^ Cooper, Leonie (19 March 2015). "The Damned attend world premiere of biographical documentary at SXSW". NME. Archived from the original on 11 July 2015. Retrieved 14 July 2015.
  9. ^ new rose on Discogs
  • Robb, John (2012). Punk Rock: An Oral History. PM Press. ISBN 1604860057.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)

External links[edit]