Formed: Croydon, Greater London, England, UK
These bandwagon-climbers from Croydon (manifesto: "Today: Croydon. Tomorrow: Bromley") made a point of adopting suitably punky names (Ben Dover, Paul Sordid, John Thomas) and had a minor hit single in Britain in 1977 with an amateurish and tame but nonetheless charming version of the Syndicate of Sound's Little Girl. The Dead Boys version, however, is far superior.
Rumours that they were seasoned professionals are true. The Banned actually began life as a mainstream sounding rock/pop band called Precious Little, which featured Timmy Mallet lookalike Pete Aitken on vocals and, Richard Harvey and Jonathan Davies, who were former members of medieval prog irritants Gryphon. Precious Little began playing in 1976 and, whilst gigging in Copenhagen they were met John Perry, guitarist from The Only Ones.
According to the Little CD liner notes: "He brought the band a whole bunch of new songs - which we used to thrash out like they were Punk songs, playing from eight at night to four in the morning for six nights a week".
In 1977, Gryphon's A&R manager came up with a wheeze to exploit the current punk/new wave craze. With help from Harvest Records he assembled a new band called The Banned - comprising the following line-up:
Paul Sordid rn Paul Aitken - drums/vocals
John Thomas rn Jonathan Davie - bass/vocals
Rik Manswoth rn Richard Harvey - guitar/vocals
Pete Fresh rn Pete Airey - guitar/vocals
This band was put together for the express purpose of recording a punk version of 'Little Girl'. So, in all respects, they were a manufactured band. Initially released it on their own Can't Eat Records with stamped hand-written labels, it got rave reviews and was picked up by Harvest and given the deluxe reissue treatment (i.e. in a sleeve and with proper labels). Copies of the Can't Eat edition are now valued at £40, a very high price for such an innocuous piece of pubby punk. (Actually, some copies of the single came in a very punky-looking handmade sleeve, which you can just about see on the crap scan on the right.)
By the time the single entered the Top 40 and they appeared on Top Of The Pops the group's line-up had changed into this:
Paul Sordid - drums/vocals
Pete Fresh - guitar/vocals
Tommy Steal rn Jimmy Hughes - bass/vocals
Dave 'Sugar' Smith - guitar
Smith was then replaced by Ben Grove (ex-Precious Little) in time for a series of gigs throughout London. This version of the group is pictured below.
Flushed with success, The Banned recorded a second single Him Or Me. Obviously deciding that a wining formula was one worth sticking to, this was another cover version of an obscure song from the 60's, originally performed by Paul Revere. Unfortunately the record sank without trace when Harvest withdrew it.
After this blow the group struggled on for a few years, and in 1981 recorded an unissued single with the following line-up:
Graeme Taylor (ex-Gryphon, ex-Precious Little)
Malcolm Bennett (also ex-Gryphon, and also ex-Precious Little)
This trio also released a single under the name Precious Little, 'Clean Living Boy'. By the mid 80's Aitken, Grove and Taylor were once again together, in a band called The Retros, and continued to gig as such for the next twenty tears or so. The Banned reformed again in 2007 and recorded a promotional CD, headed by a new version of you-know-what.
Truth be told, they sounded only slightly better than a Lightning records band.
Note: Punky Gibbon is greatly indebted to Michael Huntley's 'Little Girl' CD liner notes for the above band bio!
Singles / Albums
|Little Girl (7”, 1977)||Him Or Me (7”, 1978)|
|Little Girl (CD, 2004)||Little Girl (CDR, promo, 2007)|
Meet The New (Punk) Wave Holland LP 1978 (EMI): Little Girl
The Rare Stuff? New Zealand LP 1979 (EMI): Him Or Me, You Dirty RatThe Best Punk Album In The World ... Ever! 2 UK 2xCD 1996 (Circa): Little Girl
God Save The Punks UK 2xCD 1997 (Disky): Little Girl
Greatest Hits Of Punk & New Wave UK 3xCD 2004 (EMI): Little Girl