Formed in Hersham, Surrey in 1975, Sham 69 was the ultimate “lads” band. All pints of lager, football terrace chants and menacing cocksure attitudes.
Jimmy Pursey (pictured above) was a fierce, working-class idealist and avenging angel of the unemployed. Ironically, he sacked most of the original line-up of the band within a year due to their lack of commitment.
A streamlined aggregation featuring Dave Parsons (guitar), Dave Tregunna (bass) and Mark Cain – aka Doidie Cacker (drums) helped Pursey reach the UK charts with a series of hits, including Angels With Dirty Faces, If The Kids Are United and Hurry Up Harry.
Pursey’s idealistic working-class warrior philosophy backfired, however, as the air-punching Oi!-by-numbers began attracting more and more face-punching neo-Nazi skinheads causing wary promoters to shun the band.
In 1978, the band was sacked from the film Quadrophenia. A spokesman for the film company said it was because the group’s two numbers were not satisfactory for dancing.
After a troubled couple of years attempting to reconcile his ideals and their results, Pursey finally disbanded the group in the summer of 79 – announcing he and bassist Dave Tregunna were joining Pistols survivors Steve Jones and Paul Cook in a new supergroup – only to reform a couple of months later with a final album, The Game.
This failed to chart, and Jimmy subsequently pursued a low-key solo career.
In 1987, he resurrected Sham 69, releasing a largely ignored LP, Volunteer. Their sound ultimately softened – and went a bit weird, adding a saxophone to their line-up.
The band revisited the TOP 10 in the summer of 2006 with their World Cup anthem Hurry Up England, a reworking of their 1978 Top 10 single Hurry Up Harry.
Albie Slider (Maskell)
Mark ‘Doidie Cacker’ Cain