The Only Ones

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The Only Ones
Origin London, England
Genres Punk rock, new wave
Years active 1976–1982, 2007–present
Labels CBS Records Epic.
Associated acts The Beatstalkers, England's Glory, Spooky Tooth, The One, Love Minus Zero, Freddie Stevenson, The Living Dead[1]
Members Peter Perrett
John Perry
Mike Kellie
Alan Mair

The Only Ones are an English rock band, initially active in the late 1970s. They were associated with punk rock, yet straddled the musical territory in between punk, power pop and hard rock, with noticeable influences from psychedelia.

The Only Ones were reformed in 2007 after their biggest hit "Another Girl, Another Planet" was used in a Vodafone ad campaign in 2006, and the same song was used as the intro theme to Irish DJ Dave Fanning's radio show. The band completed a comeback UK tour in June 2007, and continued touring throughout 2008 and 2009. New material was recorded in 2009 and played live, but has yet to be released.


The Only Ones were originally formed in August 1976 in South London by Peter Perrett. Perrett had been recording demos since 1972, and in late 1975 was introduced to guitarist John Perry as a temporary bass guitar player. Perry wanted to concentrate on playing guitar, so by August 1976 he and Perrett then found drummer Mike Kellie (ex-Spooky Tooth) and bassist Alan Mair, who previously had success with Scottish band, The Beatstalkers.[2] Their first single, "Lovers of Today", self-released on the Vengeance record label, was immediately made "record of the week" by three of the four main music papers. A year later they signed to CBS. Their next single "Another Girl, Another Planet" was a very popular and influential song, and unquestionably the band's best-known song. It is often featured on various musical box-sets featuring a punk rock or new wave theme, and after its inclusion on the 1991 compilation album, The Sound of the Suburbs, it was re-released as a single and reached no. 57 in the UK singles chart.

An album, The Only Ones, was released in 1978 and was well received by reviewers and fans. The group's follow-up album, Even Serpents Shine, was released the following year. A year later, they released their final studio album, Baby's Got a Gun. In the summer of 1980, they supported The Who on their tour of the United States. In 1982 the band officially disbanded. In subsequent years, The Only Ones gained a fierce cult following and its posthumously-released records – live performances, BBC TV and radio shows, and compilation albums – now outnumber their official albums. Unusually, The Only Ones' discs were never deleted from the CBS catalogue, and remain in print today.


In an interview published in 10 November 2006 issue of the tabloid newspaper, The Daily Record, Alan Mair commented that he was set to reform The Only Ones after their Summer 2006 Vodafone advertisement success.[3] On 21 February 2007, Perry confirmed via his MySpace page that the band would reform for a five-date UK tour in June. They also played a number of festivals, debuting at All Tomorrow's Parties festival in Minehead, England on 27 April and through the summer also played at the two-part Wireless Festival in Hyde Park, London and Harewood House, (near Leeds); and the Connect Music Festival at Inveraray Castle in Scotland on 1 September.

News of the tour prompted coverage in several UK national newspapers[4][5] and the dates were met with positive reviews.[6] During these gigs, the band played a new song called "Dreamt She Could Fly".

It was also reported in the press that three of the band were keen to record a new studio album following the tour, but that Perrett seemed hesitant. In April 2008, the band were seen on Later... with Jools Holland performing their song, "Another Girl, Another Planet", and a new song entitled "Black Operations". Other new songs including "Is This How Much You Care" and "Magic Tablet" were played live on a Canal+ TV special in Paris and an acoustic/unplugged session for Radio 6 Queens of Noize. A live DVD of the Shepherds Bush Empire show was released in March 2008. Other rumoured releases include DVDs from a show on the band's last US tour, and a re-release of Faster Than Lightning, which was released on VHS in the early 1990s.

All three CBS studio albums, remastered by Alan Mair, were re-released with bonus tracks in February 2009. "Another Girl, Another Planet" was used in the 2010 hit film, Paul. Sony BMG announced a January 2012 release date for an Only Ones box set in the "Original Album Classics" series. The set comprised the three remastered studio albums, plus various B-sides and out-takes. In their last live appearance to date, the Only Ones topped the bill at the 2012 Rebellion Festival in Blackpool on 4 August.[7]

In late 2014 the Only Ones (minus Mike Kellie) played some gigs in Tokyo, co-headlining with the Flamin' Groovies. In August 2014 Perrett began playing solo shows (Felipop festival, Spain) using his sons' band Strangefruit, followed by more dates in 2015 (Hebden Bridge, Bristol, London etc) with the same formation. This, combined with a series of interviews in which he speaks scathingly about former Only Ones members, has fuelled speculation that the Only Ones have finally split up.[8]


Their musical proficiency distinguished them from most of their peers, although their dominant drug-related lyrical themes, on songs such as "Another Girl, Another Planet," and "The Big Sleep," fit in with the Zeitgeist of the era on both sides of the Atlantic. Perrett and Kellie caught the eye of Johnny Thunders, founding member of the New York Dolls and the Heartbreakers, and worked as sidemen on his solo debut album, So Alone, notably appearing together on the classic "You Can't Put Your Arms Around a Memory". However, drug addiction, particularly heroin use, derailed their career, and singer/guitarist/songwriter Perrett has only sporadically been heard from since, though he resurfaced in the mid 1990s with the album, Woke Up Sticky.

Lead guitarist Perry went on to play as an active session guitarist for artists including The Sisters of Mercy, Evan Dando and Marianne Faithfull. More recently, he has written several well received music biographies on The Who's seminal hits compilation Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy, The Rolling Stones' double album Exile on Main Street and in 2004, Jimi Hendrix's Electric Ladyland. During 2005/6, he was heard playing and recording with the singer-songwriter, Freddie Stevenson.

The Only Ones have been influential on the indie rock and alternative rock scenes ever since, on bands such as The Replacements, Blur and Nirvana, and more recently The Libertines. Several bands have covered their song "Another Girl, Another Planet", including The Libertines (at London Forum with Peter Perrett guesting),[9] The Replacements and Blink 182. Furthermore their song "The Whole of the Law" was covered by Yo La Tengo on their album, Painful.



  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ Perry, Kevin (1 May 2007). "Alan Mair interviewed about The Only Ones". London: The Beaver. Retrieved 29 September 2010. 
  3. ^ "Another Whirl". The Daily Record. 10 November 2006. Retrieved 11 November 2011. 
  4. ^ "The Times | UK News, World News and Opinion". 4 November 2011. Retrieved 11 November 2011. 
  5. ^ Alexis Petridis (5 April 2007). "Alexis Petridis on the reunion of the band the Only Ones | Music". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 11 November 2011. 
  6. ^ Dave Simpson (4 June 2007). "The Only Ones, Manchester University | Music | The Guardian". London: Retrieved 11 November 2011. 
  7. ^ "Rebellion Festivals Ltd – Independent Punk and Alternative Music Festival". Retrieved 18 April 2012. 
  8. ^,1.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  9. ^ "LIBS ON ANOTHER PLANET!". NME. 16 April 2004. Archived from the original on 20 February 2006. Retrieved 27 December 2011. 

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