New Wave – My Favourite Compilation Album

Compilation albums – they had to come out soon enough for the sixteen or so tracks to have some remaining listening pleasure. They were value for money, and usually adorned with tasteful covers such as these.


chocoblock th_fullboar

(If you’ve got a lifetime to spare, take a trip over to here )

Back then you only had control over one variable – which side you played first. The tracks (technically, a single track per side unless it was Monty Python’s Matching Tie and Handkerchief) needed to be played in the strict order decreed by the compiler. The keen listeners schlepped over to the player and lifted the needle to avoid a filler track, but even this task was more trouble than it was worth if you were listening on cassette. (I’ll cover the glories of the 8-track cartridge some other time.  Jonathan Livingston Seagull anybody ?)

This one, my favourite one, didn’t bear the imprint of K-Tel, Demtel or Majestic. While certainly of its time, it is timeless to me.

new wave  

I picked it up around 1978, after borrowing the original vinyl release from the ever progressive Para Hills branch of the Salisbury Library Service. Why I ended up buying it on cassette is a mystery right up there with why The Knack never kicked on (‘But The Little Girls Understand’ – wtf ) or why the lead singer of Promises bothered with those braces.

Track by Track, here goes

Side 1

Track 1 – Judy Is A Punk – The Ramones

I was already smitten by the Brudders, having purchased an import copy of Rocket To Russia on what seemed like a 2lb slab of vinyl. What an opener, like a Phil Carman headbutt, ninety seconds of verbal blitzing and thought-provoking lyrics such as : “Second-verse, same as the first” This insightful tale of the dangers facing female teenage runaways in the mid 70s predicted some of the other tracks to follow on this album.

Oddly, Jackie was the punk, Judy was only the runt.

Track 2 – Sonic Reducer – Dead Boys

A seamless segue into the next track. Who were these guys, I wondered? Cleveland’s Dead Boys kept the momentum going with this one, which would prove to be an all time favourite down the decades.

Phasers, killer riffs and breakneck speed married to couplets like: “I’ve got some news for you Don’t even need you too”

I was hooked.

Track 3 – Piss Factory – Patti Smith

Ooh, this is different. I wasn’t an angsty-fangsty artsy-fartsy kinda guy, but I liked where this one was going. I thought that all of her stuff was semi-spoken word, but her deranged take on “Gloria” set me straight. Ooh, this is so good.

A song about smells, monotony, choice, ambition, religion, James Brown.

Track 4 – Personality Crisis – New York Dolls

By the time they made it onto this comp, the Dolls were no more. Malcolm McLaren’s last-ditch attempt to turn them into red leather Nazis instead of boa feathered nasties, failed to find the mark. But a kid from Stretford, Manchester did his best to keep their UK fan club going well after their demise. For good reason. This rollicking glam rock stomper was dirtier than Mud, sweeter than Sweet and even slayed Slade. The Faces on speed.

Was it “New Wave”? Perhaps not, but it was my first aural taste of every parent’s nightmare.

Track 5 – Hollywood – Runaways

This chugging piece of filler was like the rerun of the Brady Bunch that you dutifully sat through at your new girlfriend’s house while she showed you off to her younger siblings. The main event was on the next side, if you could wait that long.

(If you know what I mean).

Track 6 – Don’t You Lie To Me – Flamin’ Groovies

Another filler. I’m beginning to doubt whether the compilers actually understood what their brief was. Why was a mob of superannuated Chuck Berry imitators on this? I recently heard a live version of this by The Sports from around the same period.

(Apologies, can’t find the original)
Cocked hat please.

Track 7 – Love Comes In Spurts – Richard Hell and the Voidoids

Back to New York, 1977. On a rollercoaster. That only does the downhill parts. This one plummets to its conclusion, Robert Quine’s scratchy breaks, Marc Bell thumping away, unable to stop Mr Hell from a certain conclusion. Essential listening. To think that this guy played with Tom Verlaine.

This was the bastard cousin of Marquee Moon.

Track 8 – All Or Nothing – Little Bob Story

Hmm? Never heard of before or since, this French mob do a fair job of The Small Faces number. But it’s really another chugger. And why here? The cassette liner had them down as Little Boy Story.

It figures.

Side 2

Track 1 – Lookin’ After No.1 – The Boomtown Rats

The Rats first album had some gems, as I found out later. Not this one, it was all over the place, the Bob Cunis of punk tunes. Try Eva Braun or the faux-Springsteen Rat Trap.

Better still, try The Undertones

Track 2 – Love Goes To Buildings On Fire – Talking Heads

Back on track. Just what compilations do. Serve up tunes that you may have missed (and Adelaide radio certainly would have missed this in 1977). This had a similar impact on me to the first Go-Betweens songs that I heard, “Lee Remick” and “Karen”. This is weird. My kinda weird. That bass, what, it’s a sheila? Hoo boy.

Like Split Enz or Sparks, by Fred Perry.

Track 3 – New Rose – The Damned

Ground zero. Sharing an intro nicked from The Shangrilas (and pinched by Geldof for Eva Braun), this was the single that started it all.

Another classic. Produced by Basher Lowe.

Track 4 – Suzy Is A Headbanger – The Ramones

Hyman, Cummings, Colvin and Erdelyi did their best with this one, to win over those that derided them as comic book popsters with the lyrical depth of, to quote Mr P Elbow, “spit on a rock”. They failed miserably on that score, but that misses the point.

Her mother is a geek.

Track 5 – All This and More – Dead Boys

Young, Loud & Snotty – not a pilot for an early Rik Mayall/Adrian Edmonson sitcom, but the title of the Dead Boys first album. Verging on filler, this punk ballad slunk along, a melange of menace and parody.

With just a hint of cowbell.

Track 6 – Shake Some Action – Flamin’ Groovies


This combo had been around since the 60s. I’d heard of them but didn’t know much about them (a bit like girls or Italians or bidets). Their side one track was actually replaced by Skyhooks’ Horror Movie on other versions of this comp (no, really) and it wasn’t hard to see why that one was the first to go. They were peerless imitators of The Stones (Slow Death), Chuck Berry (see above), The Beatles (Money), but this was unexpected.

It shimmered, harmonies not too perfect, jingle-jangle guitars, the song that launched a thousand college rock bands in the eighties (and you are right, I hadn’t heard much from the Byrds back then).

I once saw Irving and The U-Bombs perform this on the Barr Smith lawns on Friday lunch. Lacking subtlety, it was akin to letting a two year old loose with your angle grinder in a Tiffany store.

This album’s, and perhaps Western Civilisation’s, highlight.

Track 7 – Cherry Bomb – Runaways

Was it New Wave? Did I care?

Just like the Monkees, with suspenders, fishnet stockings, corsets, pouting lips, boobs.

OK, nothing like the Monkees.

The song that kept boys awake at night and led to an unexplained spike in bed-linen spoilage in 1976.

And they could play.

Track 8 – Who Are The Mystery Girls? – New York Dolls


A happy ending.

Unlike the documentary “New York Doll”. If you’ve never seen it, track it down, you’ll be richly rewarded.

“A recovering alcoholic and recently converted Mormon, Arthur “Killer” Kane, of the rock band The New York Dolls, is given a chance at reuniting with his band after 30 years. – IMDB”

Thanks Morrissey


So there you have it. A bunch of songs, loosely assembled around a theme, flawed in its execution, the New Wave compilation wasn’t meant to be definitive, merely representative. It would be pointless to nit-pick about the selections and omissions (but I have anyway).

Like a footy team, the compilation album was a grab bag of personalities, abilities and circumstance, marketed and managed by those with a tenuous affiliation with the players themselves. You had your on ball stars, your half back fillers, your ephemeral forwards and your journeymen utilities. Some had long since played their best game, living off past glories, others were using this as a stepping stone to world domination (that’s you Geldof).

Albums were the team sport of the music biz; everyone’s a golfer or tennis player now.

In the same way that Aaron Keating is known as a Crows Premiership player, Little Bob Story is forever associated with the New Wave compilation.

The label New Wave was coined to market the acceptable face of punk, and was variously attached to eventual mainstream acts like The Police, Blondie or The Cars as well as more left of the dial acts such as The Nerves, The Rezillos or Lene Lovich.

Several versions of this comp were marketed around the world, replicating Wiggles-like according to local tastes. The Saints made it onto one of them.

As a portal to a world of new (to me) music, this compilation was the pick of them.

About Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt

Saw my first SANFL game in 1967 - Dogs v Peckers. Have only ever seen the Dogs win 1 final in the flesh (1972 1st Semi) Mediocre forward pocket for the AUFC Blacks (1982-89) Life member - Ormond Netball Club -That's me on the right


  1. I still have my vinyl copy of Patti Smith’s “Horses”. Great album. “Piss Factory’ must have been on another album. Loved Talking Heads, but the rest of ‘New Wave’ is a bit wild and loud for me.
    ‘Cherry Bomb’ is like BT and the Ch9 cricket commentary. Best watched on mute.
    I think I had “Ripper” – more ‘nice boy’ music for me.
    You must have a garage full of cardboard boxes containing all the 70’s and 80’s trivia, ephemera and memorabilia that I threw out in 1990. Dammit.
    Thanks for sharing Swish.

  2. Swish- the compilation album was always important in my home too. The Ripper series and Choc-o-block most notably. Even at the time I was often surprised by how wildly the quality could vary, from song to song.

    Of those included here I mostly delved into Talking Heads. I loved Naked from about 1988. On an earlier album (Stop Making Sense?) the extensive liner notes included the statement, “Toast is the national dish of Australia.” Fair call.

    I look forward to your piece on Jonathan Livingston Seagull, the 8-track version. We read the book at school and even as a wide-eyed innocent of fifteen, thought it a pile of dreamy shite.

    I’m guessing New Wave didn’t get talked up by Molly. No favours from him on Humdrum.

    Might listen to Patti Smith later today. Thanks for this.

  3. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    What a great collection Swish. Never got into the NY Dolls, but the Ramones had the ability to put some life into even the crappiest compilations.

    This was my first compilation tape just before starting High School in 1982. Stiil listen to it occasionally on hot summer and cold winter nights:

  4. Compilations that rock, try Sunbury 1973, 1974. 1973 a triple album featuring , amongst others, Lobby Loyde and the Coloured Balls, Thorpey and the Aztecs, Band Of Light, good hard rocking music made to give your speakers damn good work out. the later saw two single albums, again featuring Thorpey and the Aztecs, with others such as Buster Brown and the Dingoes being showcased.

    Just had a great weekend at the Echuca Riverboats festival and a compilation album with artist like Sarah Blalsko, Sal Kimber, Diesel and the Whitlams, amongst others, would be top value.


  5. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Thanks all.

    PB, unfortunately the prog rock compilations only had two tracks each side. Most of the ephemera is stored between my ears, but I’ve managed to squirrel away enough physical evidence of my tragic past. Piss Factory was tucked away on an early single.

    Mickey, to think that the ‘Hooks were labelled as New Wave in some parts. Molly was probably responsible for Blondie’s ascension, and even The Ramones hosted Countdown, but he took a strong set against others (Stranglers, Pistols).

    Phil, if you look at the early 80s comps, you can see the emergence of alternative, yours worth it just for the Sunnyboys. Girls on Film video big in your house?

    Glen!, Yep, some heavy stuff there at the legendary Sunbury.

  6. Luke Reynolds says

    Swish, I’d never seen The Runaways before. Thank you.

    My interest in Skyhooks started with their 1990 release ‘Jukebox in Siberia’. I was 11. But became a big ‘Hooks fan after hearing the only song of theirs my Mum had, ‘Million Dollar Riff”, on her vinyl copy of “Ripper ’76”. Must revisit that great compilation.

  7. Yes the Runaways, I first read about them in Spunky magazine, late 1976, then I saw another good article on them in Ram early 1977. They were the front page photo, for a young pubescent boy, it certainly caught my attention.. How’s my memory working; Leta Ford, Cherie Currie, Joan Jett, the other two escape the memory, though i’m happy to be reminded.


  8. Glen

    I’m pretty sure a gig with Spunky magazine kicked off Geraldine Doouge’s career in journalism. I thought you would’ve been more comfortable reading Juke!

    Best compilation album – Scorcher ’77 – Just cos it contained More, More, More by Andrea True Connection. Former porn star becomes pop star.


  9. Yes, Your Honour. I was also a Spunky magazine subscriber (Mum arranged it for me).

  10. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Thanks again.

    To tie this all together, I remember Shirl changing the lyrics to Million Dollar Riff on the TV Week Music Awards, ‘ … Your face in every Spunky magazine…”

  11. Michael, as you’d recall i was an avid reader of an eclectic range of publications. Juke was also a magazine i regularly obtained.

    Re the Andrea True Connection, i previosly had a copy of More, More, whch was , on the Buddha label. Funny tune, it always reminded me of that skit from Oliver, featuring Harry Secombe. Correct me if i am wrong, was she based in Germany ?


  12. I bought this compilation in a Notting Hill second hand record shop in the early 80s and I could still remember every song before I stumbled here. It was a great introduction to non pop music but tbh a lot of it has more real ‘pop’ than the chart stuff ever did. Progressed on to Peel, live gigs, bootlegs, collecting and had a whale of a time – cool compilation :)

  13. Jeff Shipman says

    I’m still looking for a copy of this album!!! Vinyl and cassette. 8 track if possible.

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