Along with the Sex Pistols, The Clash and The Damned, The Boys were part of the first wave of the mid-1970’s UK punk explosion. Armed with an arsenal of killer Steel/Dangerfield songs The Boys became the first UK punk band to sign an album deal in January 1977. Highly regarded by the music press and their contemporaries, their well-crafted songs, together with Steel and Dangerfield’s love of harmonies, led to them being described as ‘The Beatles of Punk’ but they could (and should) just as deservedly have been compared to the Ramones – fast, alternately brattish and tongue-in-cheek, and gloriously anthemic.
As Last.FM puts it: “The Boys made arguably one of the best LPs of the 70s with their self-titled first album and provided the template for superior Pop Punk before even the Buzzcocks had got out of first gear”.
The Boys were born in September 1975 when singer/guitarist Matt Dangerfield left Mick Jones and Tony James’s fledgling punk band London SS to form a new band with ex-Hollywood Brats songwriter and keyboard player Casino Steel. Dangerfield’s art college pal, guitarist Honest John Plain, was quickly recruited. The following year they held auditions for the bass and drum roles with Kid Reid and Jack Black completing the line-up.
In September 1976, The Boys played their first gig at the Hope and Anchor pub in Islington, London, to a crowd that included Mick Jones, Billy Idol, Tony James, and Gene October. Several gigs later, The Boys signed to NEMS in January 1977, and were at that time the only British punk band to have a record deal.
To support the release of their first single, “I Don’t Care”, they toured with John Cale, formerly of The Velvet Underground. Their seminal 16-track debut album, The Boys, was recorded in early May 1977, though its commercial release was delayed until September 9, 1977. The album charted at No. 50 in the UK Album Charts. A second single, “First Time” — about losing one’s virginity — was released on July 27, 1977. John Peel invited the band to record a live session on his show, which became ‘Single Of The Week’ in Sounds magazine. The single climbed the charts steadily until August 1977.
Decades later, the album still sounds as fresh and exciting as it did when it debuted in 1977.