The Boys (English band)
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|Also known as||The Yobs|
|Genres||Punk rock, power pop|
|Labels||NEMS Records & Tapes
Members of the band had previously played in other groups, such as London SS and Hollywood Brats. After recording four studio albums and eight singles, as well as recording Christmas themed music under the name The Yobs, they disbanded in the summer of 1982. The band reformed in 1999, and released a new album in 2014.
The Boys were born when singer/guitarist Matt Dangerfield left the fledgling punk band London SS in September 1975 to form a new band with ex-Hollywood Brats keyboard player Casino Steel. Dangerfield’s art college friend, guitarist Honest John Plain, was soon recruited and in June 1976, two of Plain’s co-workers at a T-shirt printing company, bassist Duncan "Kid" Reid and drummer Jack Black, successfully auditioned to complete the line-up. Steel (ex-Hollywood Brats) and Dangerfield played in the London SS together, a group which at some point included future members of The Clash, The Damned, Chelsea and Generation X. Dangerfield had converted his rented basement apartment in Maida Vale into a home recording studio where they recorded early on. The band played their first concert at the Hope and Anchor pub in Islington, London in September 1976. Notable attendees in the crowd included; Mick Jones, Billy Idol, Tony James and Gene October. After a handful of concerts, The Boys signed to NEMS in January 1977, and were at that time the only British punk band to have a record deal (The Sex Pistols having just been dismissed by EMI).
Their first release was the single "I Don't Care", and in support of that release, they toured with John Cale of Velvet Underground. Their 16-track debut album, The Boys, was recorded in early May 1977. However, the album's commercial release was delayed until 9 September 1977; which the band has blamed on the record company's "incompetence". The album eventually reached No. 50 in the UK Album Charts. A second single, "First Time" — with a theme of losing virginity — was released on 27 July 1977. As a result, John Peel invited The Boys to recorded a live session for his show, which became 'Single Of The Week' in Sounds magazine. The single was steadily climbing the chart, until 16 August 1977 when Elvis Presley died. The Boys' records were distributed by RCA Records, who switched all their resources into satisfying the huge posthumous demand for Elvis Presley records.
The Boys released a second album on NEMS, titled Alternative Chartbusters, and toured in support of it with the Ramones. The Boys then moved to Safari in 1979, and two albums and five singles followed before they broke up in the summer of 1981. Every Christmas, they rearranged the "B" and the "Y" in their name and became The Yobs, releasing four singles one album; 1980s Christmas Album. In this incarnation, the band members used the pseudonyms Noddy Oldfield, Ebenezer Polak, Kid Vicious and H. J. Bedwetter.
On 31 July and 1 August 1999, four out of five original members, along with Steve "Vom" Ritchie (replacing Jack Black on drums, who was busy with his own band) played concerts in Japan. In September 2000, this new lineup played at the 'Holidays in the Sun Festival' in Bilbao, Spain. Original drummer Jack Black made a guest appearance and filmed the concert. It was the first time in 18 years that the five original band members had been reunited on stage. In 2006, the band again performed concerts, including their first shows in London in 25 years. Following their successful reunion tour in London, one of the Boys' early songs, "Jimmy Brown", was released as a single on 15 December 2008.
On June 20 2014 THE BOYS released their long-requested first new studio album since 1981 to great critical acclaim. “Punk Rock Menopause”, released on Wolverine Records, features the original founder members and creative core of Matt Dangerfield, Casino Steel and Honest John Plain and includes 13 iconic new songs bearing the band’s classic trademark blistering guitars, hard-edged melodies, killer hooks and layered harmonies.
The Boys arrived in Shanghai on January 13 2015 to embark on a nine-date national tour to promote their new album “Punk Rock Menopause” only to discover that the tour had been cancelled by the Chinese Ministry of Culture due to “crowd control and security issues”. The ban came in the aftermath of the Shanghai stampede at a New Year celebration in which 36 people were killed a few weeks earlier.
Undeterred, the band set off on a cultural tour of China and along the way managed to play three secret underground gigs promoted entirely by word of mouth and carefully avoiding official Chinese chat rooms and social networks. In addition, the band gave multiple interviews, were the subject of a one-hour documentary on top TV channel in Beijing and recorded a live album – "Undercover - Live in China", which was released by Action Records on July 1 2015.
Although the Boys never achieved massive commercial success, their music legacy has been carried on by influence. German punk band Die Toten Hosen championed their music for more than a decade, covering several songs and introducing new fans to the Boys. They also recorded cover versions of some songs, namely "First Time" for their album Auf dem Kreuzzug ins Glück - 125 Jahre die Toten Hosen and "Brickfield Nights" for the cover album Learning English, Lesson One. On the rear of the cover of The Jam's 1978 album All Mod Cons, the photograph of Paul Weller's Rickenbacker 330 guitar carries a The Boys sticker. In the late 1990s, Japanese band Thee Michelle Gun Elephant had a hit with a Boys cover. This prompted the re-release of several Boys albums with encouraging international sales (more than 30,000 albums being sold in Japan alone). A Boys tribute album was also released featuring 13 bands from around the world. The Boys also influenced the cult power pop band The Exploding Hearts, who performed and recorded in the early 2000s.
- Matt Dangerfield - guitar, vocals
- Casino Steel - organ, piano, vocals
- Honest John Plain - guitar, vocals
- Kent Norberg - bass, vocals
- Martin H-Son - drums
- Kid Reid - bass, vocals (1976–1981 & 1999-2011)
- Jack Black - drums (1976–1981)
Discography as The Boys
- The Boys - (1977)
- Alternative Chartbusters - (1978)
- To Hell with the Boys - (1979)
- Boys Only - (1981)
- Punk Rock Menopause - (2014)
- Live at Roxy - (1990)
- Powercut - Unplugged - (1996)
- Live in Concert (1980 & 1977) (with The Vibrators) - (1993)
- Undercover - Live in China - (2015)
- "I Don't Care" / "Soda Pressing" - (1977)
- "First Time" / "Watcha Gonna Do" / "Turning Grey" - (1977)
- "Brickfield Nights" / "Teacher's Pet" - (1978)
- "Kamikaze" / "Bad Days" - (1979) No. 9
- "Terminal Love" / "I Love Me" - (1980) No. 32
- "You Better Move On" / "Schoolgirls" - (1980) No. 30
- "Weekend" / "Cool" - (1980)
- "Let It Rain" / "Lucy" - (1980)
- "Svengerland" / "Only A Game" - (2002)
- "Jimmy Brown" / "Walk My Dog" - (2008)
- Odds and Sods - (1990)
- The Boys/Alternative Chartbusters - (1993)
- Best of the Boys - (1995)
- Complete Punk Singles Collection - (1996)
- No Thanks!: The 70s Punk Rebellion - (2003)
Discography as The Yobs
- The Yobs' Christmas Album - (1979)
- The Yobs' Xmas 11 - (1991)
- The Yobs' Leads 3 Amps Utd 0 - (1995)
- The Yobs' The Worst Of The Yobs - (2001)
- "Run Rudolph Run" / "The Worm Song" - (1977)
- "Silent Night" / "Stille Nacht"- (1978)
- "Rub-A-Dum-Dum" / "Another Christmas" - (1979)
- "Yobs On 45" / "The Ballad Of The Warrington" - (1981)
- Deming, Mark. "The Boys – Artist Biography". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 28 July 2015.
- Borack, John M. (2007). Shake Some Action: The Ultimate Power Pop Guide. Not Lame Recordings. p. 145. ISBN 0-9797714-0-4.
- Lazell, Barry (1997). Indie Hits 1980-1999. Cherry Red Books. ISBN 0-9517206-9-4.