On April 28th, 1977 The Adverts released their first single One Chord Wonders. The band which was composed of TV Smith who was the vocalist and songwriter in the group, Gaye Advert on bass, Howard Pickup on guitar, and Laurie Driver on drums, had just recently started playing as a band when they formed in 1976, many of them still learning their instruments as they were going along. Playing into the DIY ethic that was birthed in the late 70s Punk scene in the UK, the band caught the attention of Brian James guitarist in The Damned, which resulted in them securing a record deal with Stiff Records and touring dates with The Damned.
The cover art for the single is worth noting. Done in a photocopied/grainy style, not unlike some forms of Pop Art, the cover features Gaye Advert, the groups female bassist who is often viewed as one of the first female Punk icons. It is a simple concept, yet striking, something that is an indication of what you will find when you listen to the songs found on the One Chord Wonders single. Lyrically the song not only addressed the bands limitations in a self deprecating, yet satirical way, but also in a way expressing the opinions of many people at the time, that so called “Punk Rock” bands couldn’t play. While it may have been true that several of the band members couldn’t really play, they had TV Smith with his song writing capabilities to help them stand out from the rest. The song itself did feature more than one chord, but it also contained lyrics such as “I wonder what we’ll play for you tonight, I wonder how you’ll answer when we say we don’t like you go away, come back when you’ve learned to play”, which further emphasized the band and other Punk bands at that period in time. They also re-enforced their and the attitude of Punk with the closing lyrics “We don’t give a damn”. “One Chord Wonders” can be viewed as, and is often viewed as a culturally significant anthem of the times.
The B-side to One Chord Wonders was the song “Quick Step”, a song that was not included on the bands first full length album Crossing The Red Sea With The Adverts when released in 1978, “One Chord Wonders” did however appear on the album. “Quick Step” was a song that along with its buzz saw sounding guitar tones, re-established the bands work ethic. Lyrically, as opposed to being self deprecating like "One Chord Wonders", it was a statement of the bands intentions with lyrics such as “I’ll sing the words until I can’t keep the band together no more”, and “Now you see me, now you don’t, pretty soon you’re going to see what Punks can do”. The lyrics to “Quick Step” couldn’t have rung more true, following this single, the bands full length album Crossing The Red Sea With The Adverts, the band released on more full length album Cast of Thousands, then split up. The band lasted from 1976 to 1979, they had a total of seven singles and two full length albums. Their first single is a document of the times, and the two songs combined emphasized TV Smiths intentions as an artist of the past and future because following his Adverts days TV Smith went onto TV Smiths Explorers, The Cheap and to be a solo artist in his own right. Lyrically and musically One Chord Wonders is an example that a good song is a good, the song “One Chord Wonders” is a catchy song and it proves that you don't necessarily need to be a technically inclined musician to make a song good.
The Play List:
1. Crystal Swells - P.C.S
3. Monomyth – Transmissions
4. Cream – Rumblin’ and Tumblin’
5. Willie C. Echois – Satellite Stroll
6. Origami Ghosts – Shooting Stars
7. Ramblin’ Ambassadors – Clambake
8. Chad Vangaalen – Can You Believe It?
9. 3 Seconds – Future Shock
10. Gordie Uranus & The Universe – It’s Only Urgent
11. The Libertines – Time For Heroes
12. Papermaps – There Are Wolves
13. Crocodiles – My Surfing Lucifer
14. Wavves – No Hope Kids
15. Hellaluya - Midknives
16. The Spys – Underground
17. Harlem – Mood Ring
18. The Sonics – Psycho (Live)
19. The Hives – Midnight Shifter
20. Sonic's Rendezvous Band – City Slang (Original 1978 Mix)
21. Ramones – I Wanted Everything
22. The Adverts – One Chord Wonders
23. The Adverts – Quick Step
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