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Jimmy Pursey of Punk Band Sham 69 – as a Performance Artist.

Jimmy Pursey of Punk Band Sham 69 – as a Performance Artist.

Above Photo: Jimmy Pursey in a still taken from the dance video in question…

Unfashionable as it seems to be now (at least in more refined Punk circles), back in 1977 and 1978 I was a huge fan of Sham 69, an early British Punk band, who’d formed in 1976. Unfortunately, my admiration waned with the release of their album ‘That’s Life’, in 1978. Even to a diehard 16 year-old Punk, some of the music and lyrics on that album sounded terrible.

Jimmy Pursey addresses the crowd at a Rock Against racism gig in Brockwell Park, London, in September 1978.

Jimmy Pursey addresses the crowd at a Rock Against racism gig in Brockwell Park, London, in September 1978.

Happily, two of Sham 69’s earlier singles, I Don’t Wanna and Borstal Breakout were (and remain) great Punk songs which I have added links to below.

Back then, Sham 69 gigs became increasingly violent, as skinheads started fights with Punks in the audience (and with the band) and Pursey always believed he could calm things down, even as they escalated, but he never seemed to be able to.

So with their Punk credentials firmly established, it was with some surprise that I recently discovered a You Tube clip (below), from the early 1980s, of Jimmy Pursey doing some unusual Interpretative Dancing, to a Stranglers’ track I never liked, called Meninblack, from their fourth album, ‘The Raven’.

Sham 69 playing live in the late 1970s,

Sham 69 playing live in the late 1970s,

Maybe Pursey was piss-taking the Stranglers’ track; although that’s a stretch. Still, I have to give him ten out of ten for attempting to do something so off the wall, especially given his more established public image back then.

Here’s the link below. After that, skip to the Jimmy Pursey I remember, on the next two You tube links…

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And this is the performance art he should have stuck to, performing Borstal Breakout, live in 1979.

And I Don’t Wanna.

 

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