Recently discovered letters found in our archives have confirmed that legendary punk pioneers The Damned approached the Royal Albert Hall in 1977, requesting to perform a concert at the iconic venue following the release of their latest studio album. Unfortunately the Hall’s management at the time decided to decline the band’s offer on the basis that they were ‘not considered to be a suitable group for appearance here.’
As has been previously documented, the Hall implemented a ban on all rock and pop concerts in 1972, resulting from the fact that the previous year had been characterised by a swathe of violence and destruction during gigs by artists such as Deep Purple, Yes, Gordon Lightfoot, Mott the Hoople, James Brown and The Byrds. In fact, out of the 23 rock and pop concerts that took place in 1971, only one performance passed without incident.
The ban officially ended in 1974 but the Hall was still wary of booking acts specifically known for subversive and riotous live shows. When The Damned’s promoter, Derek Block, reached out to the Hall enclosing a copy of the group’s latest album, the Hall’s management was quick to graciously inform him of their decision to not go ahead with the planned concert.
Known for their anarchic live shows, fast-paced music and biting lyrics, The Damned were one of the seminal punk bands of the 1970s, paving the way for groups to come by becoming the first UK punk acts to release a single, New Rose, in 1976, an album, Damned Damned Damned, in 1977, as well as being the first to tour the United States.
During the eighties the group started to distance themselves from their established punk sound, successfully navigating their way to the forefront of the UK’s burgeoning gothic rock scene. Their last studio album, 2008’s So, Who’s Paranoid? resulted in a combination of their earlier punk style with the more melodic, gothic sound they pioneered later on in their career.
The Damned made their long-awaited Hall debut on Friday 20 May 2016 with a special performance celebrating their 40th anniversary.