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No Thanks! The '70s Punk Rebellion

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10/28/2003

Review

Like all the great rock revolutions, punk was fueled by singles. Sure, there were a lot of tremendous albums, but all the artists that cut great LPs also had great 7"s -- and in the case of Television and Patti Smith, they had independent singles released prior to their first albums that never appeared on their debuts. Since rock criticism tends to be album-driven, singles tend to get slightly overlooked, and since punk is a rock critic's favorite, some revisionist historians paint the era as fueled by albums, not singles. Rhino's excellent four-disc No Thanks! The '70s Punk Rebellion corrects that error by focusing on the singles, winding up with a one-stop introduction and summary of the era that is as good as Loud, Fast & Out of Control, their similar set on early rock & roll. The compilers have bent the rules of punk slightly, deciding to include proto-punkers like New York Dolls, the Stooges, the Dictators, and Jonathan Richman, and then to not present the cuts in a strictly chronological order. This benefits the album, since these artists are in the same spirit of the bands they inspired, and the sequencing plays like a great mixtape. Rhino has also evenly balanced the set between American and British punk, including both early hardcore punkers the Dead Kennedys and British pub rock renegades like Nick Lowe and Ian Dury in equal measure. Though there's a bit of difference between "California Über Alles" and "Heart of the City," they deserve to be paired on this set because they both were genuinely independent, exciting 45s that crackled with energy and captured the spirit of punk, albeit in different ways. And that's what makes No Thanks! work so well -- it illustrates how diverse punk and new wave were in the late '70s, but it places a premium on adventure and excitement, which means even artier bands like Pere Ubu and Suicide come across as pure rock & roll. If there is any flaw to the box, it's that most record collectors will already own the lion's share of these songs -- in fact, if they own Rhino's previous 1993 multi-disc punk retrospective D.I.Y., they'll own no less than 53 of these songs (an additional 14 songs have appeared on other Rhino titles, making for a grand total of 67 of 100 songs already released by Rhino). While this is undoubtedly a problem for some collectors, it is also true that it functions more as an overview for fans that don't already own a bunch of this on CD, and on that level it can't be faulted. True, this may contain no tracks from the Sex Pistols, since John Lydon refused them permission (allegedly because Rhino chose not to release the 2002 Sex Pistols box set in the States), but every other major player is here, and the music here is so good they're not missed at all. Finally, if a collector is wondering whether it's worth the expense to buy this box, there are three rare singles that make their debut here: the aforementioned Television and Patti Smith singles, "Little Johnny Jewel" and "Hey Joe [version]," plus an early single version of the Pretenders' "The Wait." (Note: "Little Johnny Jewel" was released nearly simultaneously on an expanded reissue of Television's Marquee Moon.) For those that can afford it, that's reason enough to pick up the set. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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  1. # Track Artist Length
  2. 1 Blitzkrieg Bop The Ramones 2:13
  3. 2 White Riot The Clash 1:59
  4. 3 Heart of the City Nick Lowe 2:4
  5. 4 Boredom 2:53
  6. 5 (I'm) Stranded The Saints 3:34
  7. 6 Neat, Neat, Neat The Damned 2:43
  8. 7 In the City The Jam 2:19
  9. 8 Final Solution Pere Ubu 5:1
  10. 9 Roadrunner Jonathan Richman 4:6
  11. 10 Little Johnny Jewel Television 7:7
  12. 11 One Chord Wonders The Adverts 2:36
  13. 12 Born to Lose Johnny Thunders & the Heartbreakers 3:3
  14. 13 Search and Destroy The Stooges 3:30
  15. 14 Let Me Dream If I Want To (Amphetamine Blues) Mink DeVille 2:52
  16. 15 Oh Bondage Up Yours! X-Ray Spex 2:50
  17. 16 12XU Wire 1:58
  18. 17 Blank Generation Richard Hell & the Voidoids 2:44
  19. 18 (Get A) Grip (On Yourself) The Stranglers 4:3
  20. 19 Cherry Bomb The Runaways 2:20
  21. 20 Personality Crisis New York Dolls 3:43
  22. 21 Teenage Depression Eddie & the Hot Rods 2:58
  23. 22 Two Tub Man The Dictators 3:33
  24. 23 Hey Joe Patti Smith 5:8
  25. 24 Your Generation Generation X 3:17
  26. 1 Lust for Life Iggy Pop 2:58
  27. 2 Gary Gilmore's Eyes The Adverts 2:26
  28. 3 Saturday Night in the City of the Dead Ultravox 3:5
  29. 4 What Do I Get? Buzzcocks 2:43
  30. 5 X Offender Blondie 4:18
  31. 6 Lookin' After No. 1 The Boomtown Rats 3:34
  32. 7 Don't Dictate Penetration 3:43
  33. 8 Bingo Masters Breakout The Fall 1:44
  34. 9 Free Money Patti Smith 2:27
  35. 10 The Modern World The Jam 2:44
  36. 11 Chinese Rocks Johnny Thunders & the Heartbreakers 2:5
  37. 12 New Rose The Damned 2:53
  38. 13 Ambition Subway Sect 3:11
  39. 14 See No Evil Television 3:0
  40. 15 Suspect Device Stiff Little Fingers 4:23
  41. 16 Mannequin Wire 2:32
  42. 17 Baby Baby The Vibrators 3:19
  43. 18 Love Comes in Spurts Richard Hell & the Voidoids 2:41
  44. 19 First Time The Boys 2:7
  45. 20 Sonic Reducer Dead Boys 0:52
  46. 21 Shot by Both Sides Magazine 2:49
  47. 22 Mystery Dance Elvis Costello 2:12
  48. 23 Trash New York Dolls 2:59
  49. 24 The Day the World Turned Day-Glo X-Ray Spex 3:35
  50. 25 Do Anything You Wanna Do Eddie & the Hot Rods 2:2
  51. 1 Ready Steady Go Generation X 5:13
  52. 2 Teenage Kicks The Undertones 2:15
  53. 3 Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll Ian Dury 2:34
  54. 4 Ever Fallen in Love? Buzzcocks 2:55
  55. 5 Rocket U.S.A. Suicide 3:13
  56. 6 Mongoloid Devo 3:11
  57. 7 Homicide 999 2:56
  58. 8 Mr. Big Dils 2:25
  59. 9 Warsaw Joy Division 3:51
  60. 10 Where Were You? The Mekons 2:33
  61. 11 Lexicon Devil Germs 2:56
  62. 12 (My Baby Does) Good Sculptures The Rezillos 2:44
  63. 13 The Wait The Pretenders 3:5
  64. 14 We Got the Neutron Bomb The Weirdos 4:5
  65. 15 Pablo Picasso The Modern Lovers 2:44
  66. 16 Action Time Vision Alternative TV 2:35
  67. 17 2-4-6-8 Motorway Tom Robinson 3:43
  68. 18 We Are the One Avengers 2:1
  69. 19 Borstal Breakout Sham 69 2:22
  70. 20 Wasted Black Flag 3:7
  71. 21 Sheena Is a Punk Rocker The Ramones 4:1
  72. 22 I Love Livin' in the City Fear 1:38
  73. 23 She's So Modern The Boomtown Rats 3:10
  74. 24 Ghosts of Princes in Towers The Rich Kids 2:51
  75. 25 We're Desperate X 4:5
  76. 26 You Drive Me Ape (You Big Gorilla) The Dickies 1:53
  77. 27 Dancing the Night Away The Motors 3:14
  78. 1 Hong Kong Garden Siouxsie and the Banshees 2:56
  79. 2 Hanging on the Telephone Blondie 2:22
  80. 3 Top of the Pops The Rezillos 3:22
  81. 4 Adult Books X 3:16
  82. 5 The Sound of the Suburbs The Members 3:55
  83. 6 California Über Alles Dead Kennedys 3:28
  84. 7 Another Girl, Another Planet The Only Ones 3:3
  85. 8 (I Want to Be An) Anglepoise Lamp The Soft Boys 3:0
  86. 9 Radio, Radio Elvis Costello 3:7
  87. 10 Typical Girls The Slits 3:56
  88. 11 Human Fly The Cramps 2:15
  89. 12 Psycho Killer Talking Heads 4:21
  90. 13 Babylon's Burning Ruts 2:33
  91. 14 If the Kids Are United Sham 69 3:49
  92. 15 Alternative Ulster Stiff Little Fingers 2:45
  93. 16 Boys Don't Cry The Cure 2:42
  94. 17 She Is Beyond Good and Evil The Pop Group 3:24
  95. 18 Is She Really Going Out With Him? Joe Jackson 3:37
  96. 19 Get Over You The Undertones 2:44
  97. 20 Love Like Anthrax Gang of Four 3:19
  98. 21 Peaches The Stranglers 4:7
  99. 22 Into the Valley Skids 3:18
  100. 23 You Can't Put Your Arms Round a Memory Johnny Thunders 3:4
  101. 24 Love Will Tear Us Apart Joy Division 3:25

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