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Angelic Upstarts

Formed in South Shields, England in 1977, the Angelic Upstarts was one of the period's most politically charged and thought-provoking groups; though technically a skinhead band, their records attacked the racism and fascism so prevalent throughout the skinhead community, and while also technically a punk unit, their music quickly evolved beyond the movement's limited scope.

The Angelic Upstarts were led by the rather nasal vocalist Mensi (born Thomas Mensforth), whose impoverished childhood became a frequent lyrical touchstone. Along with a highly fluid lineup which initially comprised guitarist Mond, bassist Ronnie Wooden, and drummer Sticks, the group debuted with the 1979 single "Murder of Liddle Towers," a scabrous attack on police brutality. The record caught the attention of Sham 69's Jimmy Pursey, who produced their debut album Teenage Warning, which, like its 1980 follow-up, We Gotta Get Out of This Place, roundly ridiculed the oppressive policies of Margaret Thatcher while offering an outpouring of sympathy for the working class.

As the Upstarts' popularity surged, so did the levels of violence at their live shows; they became mortal enemies of National Front fascist supporters, who railed against the band after first misinterpreting their leftist songs as supportive of their cause. At the same time, the band's music was becoming more complex and accomplished; by 1983's Reason Why?, the strongest Angelic Upstarts record, Mensi's songwriting skills had become tighter and more melodic, even branching out into reggae and folk, while the group's base broadened with the addition of keyboards and saxophones.

After issuing the inflammatory single "Brighton Bomb," a celebration of the IRA's attempt to assassinate the Conservative cabinet, the band released the LP The Power of the Press; lackluster sales triggered their breakup not long after. In 1988, the Angelic Upstarts briefly re-formed; in 1992, they reunited again, this time long enough to cut an album, Bombed Out. Mensi subsequently arose as a leader of the Anti-Fascist Action group. They managed to reunite occasionally, cutting a live album for Mordam Records (2001's Live from the Justice League), and even revisiting the United States for their first live show in almost 20 years. ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

f**k all skinheads Oi!, sharps, Nazi's, I don't care, f**k all you bald headed f**k wads
Were any of you knob heads there. You don't have a clue.
I agree ..really ...skinheads were in small isolated numbers but Geraldo exploited that for ratings back in 80s ...
This Bio is ridiculous. Even if the Skinhead movement at the time had some serious followers, they were never any larger than 12-15000 compared to the 60000+ Anti racist or non political skins in the group.
You're all funny....... Not haha funny but.......
Hey Jason ill see you in the alley mate! Get yur boots on!!!
mariah.vavra
"Original" skinheads were known for paki bashing so yeas they were too racists just not against blacks or Jews.
Stupid SHARPS & Trads are a bunch of poseurs who think the skinhead movement is a fashion satement! Ignorant a** bigots.
Heard power of the press, and I was hooked ever since. Love em.
Good to see so many trads and SHARPS speaking up to correct the writer's painfully obivous ignorance. Cheers!
graberassoci a t e s
This is ignorant crap PANdora: though technically a skinhead band, their records attacked the racism and fascism so prevalent throughout the skinhead community,-- i n 1977?, there but NOT prevalent!-- J a s o n Ankeny needs a boot to the head...
Oh and SHARPs tend to be as bad as the Nazi's when it comes to violent politically driven behavior. Traditional skins, aside from not listening to much punk, while definitely not being fascists weren't reactionarie s like the SHARPS. We'll brawl with the boneheads if they pipe up but generally we want to be left alone.
Seeing as skinheads weren't originally neofascists Angelic are far closer to being real skinheads then the boneheads who corrupted the scene in the mid to late seventies (and into the eighties) ever where.
gonna go up in a puff of smoke!
!!!
Oi Pandora the skinhead movement was not originally working class not Nazi we of the old school and members of the SHARP community prefer the usurpers to be called Boneheads. F@^$ racism no war but the class war
roy.douglas9 7
great band one of the first punk bands i listened to been hooked ever since 84
Hope Pandora finds ths Case's Smiling my Life away. But Upstarts are a good start
Go away and leave me alone best song 7" green vynle
poum_1936
The Upstarts have always been one of my favorite bands from the 80's. Love these guys. Then I found out they eventually became red skins and my admiration for the band soared when they covered Bandiera Rossa
l11950
Oh Im sure there's other fans of angelic upstarts on here, springstroh4 5 . It's just that everyone is either too pissed off or too apatheticall y lazy to even bother admitting to liking them!
wow, no one listens to angelic upstarts? whats the deal
bromide01
I gots me sum boots and ah bommer jacket.

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