The ultimate dole queue punk band, Sham 69 was one of the most popular (and populist) of the second wave of punk bands, scoring several chart hits (including a few that soared into the Top Ten) with a musical formula that rarely strayed far from this: paint-stripping guitars blazing out simplistic Ramones riffs, a solid and unpretentious bass/drums wallop, and brash football terrace type choruses.
Led by the indefatigable self-styled "Cockney cowboy" Jimmy Pursey, to say they polarised audiences would be a major understatement. The critics, generally, despised them, although Mark Perry, Tony Parsons and Julie Birchill were early supporters of what they considered to be the only punk band who genuinely spoke to (and came from) the working class. However by 1978, when the likes of Siouxsie and Mr Lydon were tiring of being seen as punks, they were held up as paradigms of what was wrong with the movement: they were artless street urchins who dressed normally (i.e. had no "style") and sang about life on the dole, and did not bow down at the altars of dub reggae or Krautrock.
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