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Sham 69 is an british punk rock band that formed in 1976 in Hersham. The group was among the most successful punk bands in the UK, reaching five Top 20 singles. The first unit broke up with frontman Jimmy Pursey moving to pursue a solo career, in 1979.
In guitarist David Parsons and 1987 Pursey reformed the group, joined by brand new employees. Sham 69 stays active and is still playing shows by 2016 although later going through several lineup changes.
Sham 69 formed in 1976 in Hersham. The name of the group can be said to have derived that founder Jimmy Pursey found on a wall. It initially said Walton and Hersham ’69 but had partly faded away, and made reference to when Walton & Hersham F.C. secured the Athenian League title in 1969.
The 12 November 1976 issue of NME noted that Sham 69 was rehearsing in 1976, although only Pursey would remain from this early line up twelve months afterwards. The group pulled a big skinhead following (left wing, right wing and nonpolitical). Violence harassed their concerts, after National Front broke up a 1979 concert at the Rainbow Theatre in Finsbury Park and the group stopped live performances -supporting white power skinheads fighting and rushing the stage.
Their major label debut was “Borstal Breakout” in January 1978, followed by UK Singles Chart success with “Angels with Dirty Faces” (reaching No. 19 in May 1978) and “If the Kids Are United” (No. 9 in July 1978). These weren’t contained on the group’s debut album, Tell Us the Truth, a mix of live and studio recordings.
The group had additional chart success with “Hurry Up Harry” (No. 10 in October 1978), which came from their second LP and first complete studio album, That Is Life. The group’s popularity was enhanced by their performances In Addition To The Pops, and the band performed in the 1980 movie, D.O.A.. Sham 69 would ultimately be one of the most successful UK punk rock bands, releasing five singles that cracked the Top 20 chart in the United Kingdom.
The band eventually started to move from punk rock, to embrace a sound heavily influenced by classic British rock bands like The Rolling Stones, The Who, Mott the Hoople and The Faces. Their third record, The Adventures of the Hersham Boys presented this.