If the Damned had broken up after they released "New Rose" in 1976, they'd still be ensured a place in pop music history -- the song is widely acknowledged to be the first U.K. punk single. But it so happened that the endearingly rude outfit turned out to be one of the very best -- and most enduring -- of the first wave of British punk bands. Lead guitarist Captain Sensible, ghoulish lead singer Vanian, wonderfully named drummer Rat Scabies and the rest of the band have always been a little smarter, a little funnier and, frankly, a little more musically accomplished than most of their contemporaries.
You can hear just how good they are on today's track, taken from a new and expanded reissue of the band's debut album, "Damned Damned Damned." Originally recorded in 1976 at a session for legendary BBC DJ John Peel, "Neat Neat Neat" features the aggressively fun and snotty sound that has long been the band's trademark.
-- David Marchese