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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
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: The EMI Years

1. Two Million Voices

2. Guns For The Afghan Rebels

3. I Stand Accused

4. Last Night Another Soldier

5. Kids On The Street

6. I'm A Upstart

7. Soldier

8. Cry Wolf

9. Ghost Town

10. Police Oppression

11. Different Strokes

12. England

13. Heath Lament

14. I Understand

15. Mr. Politician

16. Never Had Nothing

17. Sticks Diary

18. Teenage Waring

x

Track List: 2,000,000 Voices

1. Two Million Voices

2. Ghost Town

3. You're Nicked

4. England

5. Heath's Lament

6. Guns For The Afghan Rebels

7. I Understand

8. Mensi's Marauders

9. Mr. Politician

10. Kids On The Street

11. Jimmy

12. We're Gonna Take The World

13. Last Night Another Soldier

14. I Wish

15. The Man Who Came In From The Beano

16. Sticks Diary

17. The Sun Never Shines

19. I Understand

x

Track List: We Gotta Get Out Of This Place

Comments

Report as inappropriate
Any true skin or person who lived in the days knows the truth. The heritage has Jamaican roots. So boneheads can f**k all and anyone else that gets their info from telly can do the same. We know where we come from , do you? Antifa sharp tradd's Jamaican rudes and anyone else. Keep the faith. Crucified till we die
Report as inappropriate
Duck my sick,,,,,
Suck my skin head Dick!
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bullingdon b**tards!!!! ! ! ! keep up pandora
Report as inappropriate
kenknopp1984
Just heard police oppression live so keep listening. Heard it on my Chaotic discord. station
Report as inappropriate
Wish they played Police Oppression on here... or anything other than just Capital City over and over...
Report as inappropriate
Destroy what you dont understand A.D.
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f**k all skinheads Oi!, sharps, Nazi's, I don't care, f**k all you bald headed f**k wads
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Were any of you knob heads there. You don't have a clue.
Report as inappropriate
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.
Report as inappropriate
You're all funny....... Not haha funny but.......
Report as inappropriate
Hey Jason ill see you in the alley mate! Get yur boots on!!!
Report as inappropriate
mariah.vavra
"Original" skinheads were known for paki bashing so yeas they were too racists just not against blacks or Jews.
Report as inappropriate
Stupid SHARPS & Trads are a bunch of poseurs who think the skinhead movement is a fashion satement! Ignorant a** bigots.
Report as inappropriate
Heard power of the press, and I was hooked ever since. Love em.
Report as inappropriate
Good to see so many trads and SHARPS speaking up to correct the writer's painfully obivous ignorance. Cheers!
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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...
Report as inappropriate
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.
Report as inappropriate
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.
Report as inappropriate
gonna go up in a puff of smoke!
Report as inappropriate
!!!
Report as inappropriate
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
Report as inappropriate
roy.douglas9 7
great band one of the first punk bands i listened to been hooked ever since 84
Report as inappropriate
ecseidel
Hope Pandora finds ths Case's Smiling my Life away. But Upstarts are a good start
Report as inappropriate
Go away and leave me alone best song 7" green vynle
Report as inappropriate
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
Report as inappropriate
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!
Report as inappropriate
wow, no one listens to angelic upstarts? whats the deal
Report as inappropriate
bromide01
I gots me sum boots and ah bommer jacket.

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