Dropping their shady punk past as The Sockets (not ‘Jack Plug & The Sockets’, contrary to popular belief), this Romford four-piece were figureheads for the Essex Mod stronghold, along with their label mates, The Chords.
Together the groups formed a two-pronged spearhead which heralded the birth of the mod revival movement in London clubs like the Moonlight and Wellington.
Millions Like Us was the debut 45 from the band – a call-to-arms for Mods everywhere which stalled at #57 in the UK charts. Their next single, Frustration, revisited the same post-pubescent emotions as The Who‘s I Can’t Explain, with a brilliant pop art sleeve to match. The flip-side was Extraordinary Sensations, the title given to one of the era’s most influential Mod fanzines in Britain.
Undoubtedly inspired by the lead character in the Mod movie Quadrophenia (1979), Jimmy was the Purple Hearts last single on the Fiction label and peaked at #60. It was released three months before their very promising debut album, Beat That! with its shades of psychedelia and the odd knowing cover version.
Like The Undertones, The Purple Hearts ran the gamut of classic teen themes – from the stupid marriage syndrome in Beat That! to the archetypal mixed-up juvenile reject in Jimmy, Frustration and – best of all – Can’t Stay Here, while their sound was a potent potpourri of The Monkees, The Yardbirds, The Sex Pistols and The Clash.
The band reappeared on the Safari label with My Life’s A Jigsaw. Thereafter, the band struggled to maintain a profile, despite the odd comeback (like 1982’s Plane Crash) and occasional live reunions.