My 100 Essential Albums – 16 – The Punk Singles Collection, The Adverts

A compilation of singles by The Adverts the 16th of my Essential Albums


The Adverts were a short lived punk band formed in 1976 and gone by the end of 1978. What singled the Adverts out was the quality of the lyrics written by the excellent TV Smith and that they had Gaye Advert as a member. Gaye was called the “first female punk star”, but I would have thought that Souxie Sioux had something to say about that!

This is a great punk album. It has their first single “One Chord Wonders” and the attitude that made punk so refreshing.

 “I wonder what we’ll play for you tonight

Something heavy or something light

Something to set your soul alight

I wonder how we’ll answer when you say

‘We don’t like you – go away

Come back when you’ve learnt to play.”

Also on this compilation is the other single that everyone remembers from The Adverts , Gary Gilmore’s Eyes. Gilmore was an American murderer who wanted his eyes to be donated to science. Obviously, some of the music press – let alone the Daily Mail – did not react well. Sounds called it “the sickest and cleverest record to come out of the new wave” reflecting the clever lyrics that were typical of Smith’s work.

Fame was fleeting for The Adverts. A couple of well received albums followed together with some supreme singles (on this album) that failed to bother the charts. I particularly like “Safety in Numbers”. After the death of their manager and threatened by lawsuits from disgruntled ex members the band sort of dissolved although TV Smith continued with a solo career.

Their legacy? Dave Thompson author and music critic said “nobody would make music like The Adverts and nobody ever has. In terms of lyric, delivery, commitment and courage, they were, and they remain, the finest British group of the late 1970s” I could not put it better myself.


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