Tom Robinson Band: Up Against The Wall.
Terry Sue-Patt on the cover of the Tom Robinson band’s 1978 single ‘Up Against The Wall’.
When I read reports in the British press a couple of years ago that a former child actor called Terry Sue-Patt had died, I didn’t remember him, so I didn’t really feel anything other than thinking he’d died too young (he was 50 years old), and hoped he’d lived a full life.
Terry Sue-Patt had been in a late ’70s Kids’ TV series called Grange Hill, which I’d enjoyed whenever I’d got to see it. Grange Hill was created by Scouser Phil Redmond, who’d also created Brookside, a soap opera based in Liverpool, which gets a mention in my Punk and New Wave memoir, Bombed Out!
Then I discovered Terry Sue-Patt’s major claim to Punk fame – he was also the boy who’d appeared on the front of the Tom Robinson Band (TRB) 1978 single, Up Against The Wall.
The single was one of TRB’s best – and still sounds powerful (You Tube link below). I particularly liked the lyrics to the song, which really spoke of the time. It didn’t do that well in the charts, but that didn’t matter back then.
I’d also liked 2-4-6-8 Motorway which had got to Number 5 in the British charts in 1977, and their first album, Power In the Darkness, was also excellent, and had got to Number 4 in the British album charts in late 1978, which was massively impressive for a Punk/New Wave band back then.
The band seemed to be successful because they could all play their instruments (rare) and they wrote intelligent lyrics, Tom Robinson was engaging and articulate, and yet they still had Punk Attitude by the bucketload.
I always admired the way TRB wore politics on their sleeves. The band released an EP in 1978 which included a cleverly-written track called Glad To Be Gay, which was a big deal back then, and they were an early supporter of the Rock Against Racism movement, which I have written about elsewhere on this site.
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Up Against The Wall:
2 4 6 8 Motorway – some great old Top Of The Pops footage: