Various Artists

No Thanks! The '70s Punk Rebellion

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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.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 Ramones 02:12 Amazon
2 The Clash 01:59 Amazon
3 Nick Lowe 02:03 Amazon
4 Buzzcocks / Howard Devoto 02:53 Amazon
5 The Saints 03:33 Amazon
6 The Damned 02:42 Amazon
7 The Jam 02:19 Amazon
8 Pere Ubu 05:00 Amazon
9 The Modern Lovers 04:06 Amazon
10 Television 07:06 Amazon
11 The Adverts 02:36 Amazon
12 Johnny Thunders & the Heartbreakers 03:02 Amazon
13 Iggy & the Stooges 03:29 Amazon
14 Mink DeVille 02:54 Amazon
15
X-Ray Spex 02:50 Amazon
16 Wire 01:57 Amazon
17 Richard Hell / Richard Hell & the Voidoids / The Voidoids 02:44 Amazon
18 The Stranglers 04:03 Amazon
19 The Runaways 02:19 Amazon
20 New York Dolls 03:42 Amazon
21 Eddie & the Hot Rods 02:58 Amazon
22 The Dictators 03:33 Amazon
23 Patti Smith 05:08 Amazon
24 Generation X 03:17 Amazon

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 Iggy Pop 05:13 Amazon
2 The Adverts 02:14 Amazon
3 Ultravox 02:34 Amazon
4 Buzzcocks 02:55 Amazon
5 Blondie 03:12 Amazon
6 The Boomtown Rats 03:10 Amazon
7 Penetration 02:55 Amazon
8 The Fall 02:24 Amazon
9 Patti Smith 03:51 Amazon
10 The Jam 02:32 Amazon
11 Johnny Thunders & the Heartbreakers 02:55 Amazon
12 The Damned 02:43 Amazon
13 Subway Sect 03:04 Amazon
14 Television 04:04 Amazon
15 Stiff Little Fingers 02:43 Amazon
16 Wire 02:37 Amazon
17 The Vibrators 03:42 Amazon
18 Richard Hell / Richard Hell & the Voidoids / The Voidoids 02:01 Amazon
19 The Boys 02:22 Amazon
20 Dead Boys 03:06 Amazon
21 Magazine 04:01 Amazon
22 Elvis Costello 01:37 Amazon
23 New York Dolls 03:09 Amazon
24 X-Ray Spex 02:51 Amazon
25 Eddie & the Hot Rods 04:04 Amazon

Track Listing - Disc 3

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 Generation X 02:58 Amazon
2 The Undertones 02:26 Amazon
3 Ian Dury 03:04 Amazon
4 Buzzcocks 02:42 Amazon
5 Suicide 04:17 Amazon
6 Devo 03:34 Amazon
7 999 03:42 Amazon
8 Dils 01:43 Amazon
9 Joy Division 02:26 Amazon
10 The Mekons 02:43 Amazon
11 Germs 02:05 Amazon
12 The Rezillos 02:53 Amazon
13 Pretenders 03:11 Amazon
14 The Weirdos 03:00 Amazon
15 The Modern Lovers 04:22 Amazon
16 Alternative TV 02:31 Amazon
17 Tom Robinson 03:18 Amazon
18
Avengers 02:41 Amazon
19 Sham 69 02:06 Amazon
20 Black Flag 00:51 Amazon
21 Ramones 02:48 Amazon
22 Fear 02:11 Amazon
23 The Boomtown Rats 02:58 Amazon
24 The Rich Kids 03:34 Amazon
25 X 02:01 Amazon
26 The Dickies 01:53 Amazon
27 The Motors 03:14 Amazon

Track Listing - Disc 4

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 Siouxsie and the Banshees 02:56 Amazon
2 Blondie 02:21 Amazon
3 The Rezillos 03:22 Amazon
4 X 03:15 Amazon
5 The Members 03:55 Amazon
6 Dead Kennedys 03:28 Amazon
7 The Only Ones 03:03 Amazon
8 The Soft Boys 03:00 Amazon
9 Elvis Costello & the Attractions 03:07 Amazon
10 The Slits 03:55 Amazon
11 The Cramps 02:15 Amazon
12 Talking Heads 04:20 Amazon
13 Ruts 02:32 Amazon
14 Sham 69 03:48 Amazon
15 Stiff Little Fingers 02:44 Amazon
16 The Cure 02:41 Amazon
17 The Pop Group 03:23 Amazon
18 Joe Jackson 03:36 Amazon
19 The Undertones 02:43 Amazon
20 Gang of Four 03:19 Amazon
21 The Stranglers 04:07 Amazon
22 Skids 03:17 Amazon
23 Johnny Thunders 03:04 Amazon
24 Joy Division 03:25 Amazon
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