The Damned

The Best of the Damned [Roadrunner]

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Rock & roll doesn't get much more recklessly fun than the early recordings of the Damned, one of the bands that (along with the Sex Pistols, the Clash, and Sham 69) helped to define early British punk rock. While the late-'70s gems Damned Damned Damned, Music for Pleasure, and Machine Gun Etiquette are all well-worth acquiring, The Best of the Damned can serve as a fine introduction to the band's early years. In fact, such hard-hitting, freewheeling classics as "New Rose," "Smash It Up," "I Just Can't Be Happy Today," "Love Song," and the outrageous "Jet Boy, Jet Girl" are essential listening for anyone with even a casual interest in the punk movement. Characterized by their rawness, these classics are considerably different from the more polished and produced Gothic material the Damned would record in the 1980s -- which ranged from inspired to forgettable. If listeners can own only one Damned CD, this is it.

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