The Cortinas (punk band)

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For the 1960s band of the same name, see Paul Griggs.
For the 2000s band of similar name, see The Courteeners.
The Cortinas
The band in 1977, from a New Musical Express interview.
Background information
Origin Bristol, England
Genres Punk rock
Years active Mid-1976 – Late 1978, 2012
Labels Step Forward, CBS
Associated acts The Clash
Past members Dexter Dalwood
Mike Fewings
Nick Sheppard
Daniel Swan
Jeremy Valentine

The Cortinas are a 1970s Bristol-based punk rock band. Guitarist Nick Sheppard went on to play with The Clash. In 2001, the band's debut single, "Fascist Dictator" (originally released in June 1977), was included in a leading British music magazine's list of the best punk-rock singles of all-time.[1]


Named after a car, the Ford Cortina, the band moved from R&B towards covering songs by punk forerunners like the New York Dolls and The Stooges. "In retrospect, I suppose we were very hip," Sheppard says. "We were listening to the right records, as we were right there at the right time."

The band developed a large and enthusiastic following in their hometown. Unfortunately, their growing popularity began to attract a great deal of crowd trouble.[2]

The band were also frequent visitors to London and became one of the pioneering punk bands that played live in the first few months of the now-legendary Roxy Club. They supported The Stranglers in January 1977 and then headlined twice the following month. The Cortinas headlined the Roxy again in March and April, supported by The Models on both occasions.[3] In June 1977 they had their first headlining show at the Marquee Club. Later they played as support act for Blondie and Chelsea.

The Cortinas' first two singles both appeared on Step Forward, the label run by Police manager Miles Copeland and Mark Perry.

On 16 July 1977, a few weeks after releasing "Fascist Dictator", the band recorded a session at Maida Vale 4 studio, for John Peel at BBC Radio 1. The tracklisting was "Defiant Pose", "Television Families", "Having It", and "Further Education".[4]

Later the Cortinas signed for CBS Records and released one album, True Romances. One critic described the album as "disappointing" but rescued from "bland oblivion" by "cheeky tracks such as 'Ask Mr. Waverly' and 'I Trust Valerie Singleton'.[5] Another called it a mix of "rock'n’roll, R&B and pop-rock" and therefore "much more mainstream in style and delivery" than the Step Forward singles.[6] This was a view echoed by Wilson Neate of Allmusic: "Having begun life under the spell of '60s R&B and garage rock, the Cortinas soon emerged as Bristol's premiere punk band, injecting a speedy, shouty, confrontational edge into their sound for their first two singles ("Fascist Dictator" and "Defiant Pose"). By the time of their 1978 debut album for CBS, however, they had re-embraced their formative influences and added a more pop-friendly dimension... True Romances sounds more befitting of a bunch of middle-aged pub rockers than five teenage punk rockers".

The band split up in September 1978, allegedly so the younger members could concentrate on their A-level exams! They were confirmed as an act at Rebellion Punk Festival in 2012.

Post band careers[edit]


Studio album[edit]

  • True Romances (CBS, 82831, April 1978)


  • "Fascist Dictator / Television Families" (Step Forward, SF 1, June 1977)
  • "Defiant Pose / Independence" (Step Forward, SF 6, December 1977) Also released as a 12 inch single
  • "Heartache / Ask Mr. Waverly" (CBS, CBS 6759, November 1978)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Mojo (October 2001) – 100 Punk Scorchers , Issue 95, London;
  2. ^ Larkin, C. (1992) Indie & New Wave Music, Guinness Publishing, Enfield, p. 70;
  3. ^ Thompson, D. (2000) Punk, Collector's Guide Publication, Ontario, Canada, p. 61 – 62;
  4. ^ John Peel Sessions on BBC Radio 1;
  5. ^ Strong, M.C. (2003) The Great Indie Discography, Canongate, Edinburgh, p. 36;
  6. ^ Joynson, V. (2001) Up Yours! A Guide to UK Punk, New Wave & Early Post Punk, Borderline Productions, Wolverhampton, p. 95;

External links[edit]