Saturday Night’s Alright For Skanking

It may seem as if we’re away on our summer hols here at Bologna Heights but in actual fact it’s quite the opposite as we’ve been working away. Fortunately our stateside correspondent Ed Zed is here to break the silence with a look at E10’s skankiest residents  (though I don’t endorse his views on Modern Romance). Over to you Edward…

There was always going to be the occasional record that took a bafflingly long time to make it into the SBB canon (notice that we haven’t included the greatest band that ever lived, The Slits, as yet), and for me one of those is surely Saturday Night Beneath The Plastic Palm Trees by The Leyton Buzzards.

For the uninitiated, The Buzzards started life as an unremarkable leather-clad punk ensemble, releasing a fittingly unremarkable single, 19 & Mad, on the otherwise great Small Wonder label in 1978. Leyton life was to change rather drastically the following year however, when these young herberts were catapulted to what they no doubt imagined would be stardom via the queasy medium of a Battle of the Bands contest organized by The Sun.

The prize was a record deal with Chrysalis, which saw the boys swap their leathers and lumpen rebellion for peppy new wave and some fruity suits to match. Sounds like a textbook case of selling out, right? Maybe so, but on occasion a major label makeover is just what some bands need, and this was certainly the case for The Leyton Buzzards.

Their first single for Chrysalis, a minor hit and without a doubt their best, jumps and fizzes with a luminous pop energy, and despite some accusations of it being ‘cod reggae’, virtually everything about it is irresistible. A comically touching coming of age tale about the exploits of a London mod, Saturday Night accompanies us from club to street to the train home with lilting guitars, ringing rototoms and terrace chant choruses, and by its end leaves us tired, happy and with eyes full of tears for the youth we will never regain.

Now that’s pop music.

The Buzzards career was fleeting, and by the time their one and only album, Jellied Eels to Record Deals was released in 1980 they were already starting to fragment, with vocalist Geoff Deane and guitarist David Jaymes sloping off to form the ill-advised synth-plop outfit, Modern Romance, later that year.

Push that to the back of your mind however, and for now just bask in the glow of the rambunctious rendition below of a glorious anthem for them bloody kids…

(Dread Zed)

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