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4 Skins, The

The undisputed heroes of the early 80s skinhead scene, The 4 Skins were one of the mainstays of the second-wave of British punk commonly known as Oi! They endured major line-up changes, going through four lead singers including, at one point, their manager, and recorded three albums in the early 80s.

In the studio the band were capable of surprising quality – check out the ska tune Plastic Gangsters from The Good, The Bad & The 4 Skins album.


When performing live they tended to resort to angry terrace-flavoured skinhead shout-a-longs like JusticeACAB (“All Coppers Are Bastards”) and Yesterdays Heroes.

The seven-song live side of The Good, The Bad & The 4 Skins is indicative of this forbidding – and at times, unpleasant – sound.

With only bassist Hoxton Tom remaining from the first LP, A Fistful of 4 Skins featured a more musical punk sound.

The group’s lyrics were always pretty sharp while musically they were easy to take but hard to remember (with a few exceptions).

Packaged in one sleeve, the first two albums were later reissued as A Few 4 Skins More Volume 1.

The 4 Skins’ last release before splitting in late 1984 was Live From Chaos to 1984, recorded in a studio before an audience of invited friends.

A sixteen-track retrospective called Wonderful World provided a definitive sampling of singles, album cuts and compilation contributions.

As is almost inevitable for a skinhead band, The 4 Skins were ultimately branded as racist, sexist (which many people still were in the early 80s) and violent.

Gary Hodges

Roi Pearce

Hoxton Tom McCourt

Steve Pear

Paul Swain

John Jacobs

Drums, Guitar
Pete Abbott

Ian Davis