Punk’s tartan roots

Only the most myopic of Brits now argue that punk was born in the UK. Ok so the Pistols, Ruts and Damned might have bequeathed punk style, panache and a healthy dose of anarchy, but we all know that the movement’s style was patented by four New Yorkers who knew a thing or two about revving up glam rock riffs. But where did they pinch it from? Well you can hear almost everything you need to know about The Ramones in one song – not Sheena or Blitzkreig but The Bay City Rollers’ Saturday Night.

Yep, over on these shores the tartan clad teenybop idols might have been as hip then as McFly are now, but believe me these boys could rock with the best of them. Saturday Night is a total power pop masterpiece. From the SATURDAY stomp of an intro to the swoonsome harmonies in the chorus, this is rock and roll as only true geniuses know how to play it.

The Rollers weren’t just for Saturday Night, either. Rock And Roll Loveletter is another gem that could easily have passed off as an obscure new wave classic from a few years later. Then there’s Money Honey, which has a riff as dirty as anything that Angus Young has ever conjured up and the Beatle-esque jangle of the eerily prophetic Yesterday’s Heroes. Even Bye Bye Baby has aged much better than about 95% of the other records from the same era.

So grab yourself a greatest hits collection, but make sure also you bag Wouldn’t You Like It? too. Mostly penned by band members Eric Faulkner and Stuart Wood, it is incendiary stuff from the opening guitar salvo of I Only Want To Dance With You to the astonishing drum solo finale of Derek’s End – which, let’s face it, would be like Westlife finishing an album with a banging techno tune. Along the way are Saturday Night, which is well worth owning twice, and the druggy acoustic strum of Eagle’s Fly.

The Ramones were huge fans, Blondie loved them, Luke Haines steals their riffs and thousands of American power poppers won’t hear a bad word against them. Yep, it is time to don the tartan fringed trousers again. Now where’s my Suzi Quatro 45s?

The Bay City Rollers – Wouldn’t You Like It? (RCA) 1974


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