Continuous Hit Music – a weekly exploration of vinyl finds.
Artist: The Only Ones
Title: Special View
Original Release: 1979
Store: Egg Records, Newtown, Sydney
Eggs Records has become an essential part of the Newtown record scene. It has the biggest range of second hand vinyl, and a fine selection it is. Plenty of 70s and 80s stuff – I picked up lots of Replacements vinyl here. Also the originals of all the Wilco records and other great finds. The only shame about Egg is that they certainly know how to price a record.
It’s old school vinyl-ing. The guys go on buying trips around the world. They are always at the record fairs. They sponsor trivia prizes and are generally part of the record community of Sydney, of Australia and beyond.
But onto this record. The Only Ones.
There was actually several years where the first thing I did in a record store was go to the “O” section. Because I was looking for this album and Oasis’s What’s the Story Morning Glory. I have clear memories of finding one with Isabelle in Perth in 1999 or so. I wanted one ever since.
Special View is not actually an album, but a compilation compiled from two albums, and marketed as an album to the US market (they did the same thing for Robbie Williams’ The Ego Has Landed). And because of that, it is by far the best Only Ones album.
I loved this band for a while. They were looped into the punk scene, but had a great guitar player and a snarly singer, and didn’t seem to just be angry. I always loved the melodic, new wave-y side of punk best, and this was one of the very first albums that started me down that road.
Of course, I came to them through Another Girl, Another Planet, their timeless hit, probably on a compilation like ‘The World’s Greatest Punk Album Ever’. Then everyone seemed to cover the song – most famously for me, the Replacements. The Reservations covered Another Girl, Another Planet many times.
It is just a blistering song. The sly build up, that rush of guitar soloing, and that snarl! Something about girls, something about planets, and maybe something about drugs. It was endlessly hip.
It is by far the best song on the record, but there are some excellent songs that fill this record out. The Whole Of the Law is a very pretty tropicalia love song. Peter And the Pets should have been a hit. And some decent new wave fare in Out There In the Night, City Of Fun and more. It’s better than, say, Blondie.
So after over a decade of hunting for it, I was pretty happy to find this on vinyl, finally. I don’t really listen to the band anymore, but was really happy to revisit it. As far as I know, this record has never been reissued and so this is an original Epic printing (with the awesome Epic label on the record). $24.99 is a pretty Egg records price. Expensive but where else are you going to get it?
Special View has now been superceded by deluxe editions of their three albums, a hits collection and a complete collection. Shame, because lots of American fans, and myself, know and love this album in this order and sequence. And this album cover – once again great.
Oh well. They can erase it from history. I have my copy now.
PS. I saw a reuinited Only Ones on telly a couple of years ago and they looked awful. I could not even fake interest to go.