A punk outfit formed in London in 1977 by vocalist Gene October. Original members Billy Idol and Tony James swiftly departed to form Generation X, but October continued to front Chelsea through myriad line-up changes.
Chelsea were a band with a strong social conscience. Specialising in sub-three minute vitriolic outbursts on unemployment, inner-city decay and the deconstruction of society under the rule of Margaret Thatcher, their lyrics were always more interesting than their music.
While other new wave bands used the dole queue mentality and played at being oppressed, Chelsea’s angry dismay seemed depressingly genuine.
The songs were generally identikit uptempo numbers, marred by low-tech studio techniques.
Gene bellowed like a wounded bull on their debut single Right To Work which became a working-class anthem.
They continued to record throughout the 80s but with an ever-changing lineup and an image that became rather anachronistic.
Steve J Jones