Formed: London, England, UK

Foreign Picture Sleeves

Original line-up:
Colin McFaull (vocals)
Garrie Lammin (guitar)
Micky Beaufoy (guitar)
Steve Burgess (bass)
Steve Bruce (drums)

Cock Sparrer 1977

Cock Sparrer - We Love You PosterFormerly a raucous R ‘n’ B band, these East End Londoners – led by singer Colin McFaull and bassist Steve Burgess - had been gigging since 1974 but found themselves adopting a more bellicose stance in the wake of the Sex Pistols. In the process they, along with Sham 69, Slaughter & The Dogs and Menace lay down the foundations of Oi! Unfortunately, due to their 1982 single England Belongs To Me they were accused (unfairly) of being racists, a blow they never recovered from.

Signed to Decca in 1977 they issued two splendid, sneering singles, Runnin' Riot and a cover of the Stones’ We Love You, before vanishing again. Interestingly, an album appeared in Spain, of all places, later that year. Cock Sparrer consisted of both sides of the singles and half a dozen demos. A very mixed bag indeed, it alternates between what the Sparrers called ‘skinhead rock’ (punk in layman’s terms) and spirited R ‘n’ B that recalls the rabble-rousing of The Small Faces. It surfaced in Britain a decade later as True Grit and was recycled in superior, remastered form as The Decca Years.

After being coaxed out of retirement by Gary Bushell, the group released 'England Belongs To Me', which saw them lumped in with the Oi! crowd. A strong case has been made for their first proper LP, Shock Troops, as being the best Oi! album ever. MacFaull is in possession of a unique and supple voice, with a far greater range than any of his fellow Oi!-sters, which lends the album a touch of class entirely lacking in the work of his compatriots. Furthermore, his band is talented and capable of pounding out basic riffs with aplomb. Embittered by their brush with a major label, it is a very angry piece of work, with ‘Take ‘Em All’ directed squarely at Decca, amid attacks on Rotten, Strummer et al (‘Where Are They Now’). Elsewhere, they still find time to sing the praises of cash-in-hand employment (‘Working’) and being with your mates (‘Droogs Don’t Run’).

Runnin' Riot - UK 7" 1977 (Decca	- FR 13710) Promo - FrontRunnin' Riot - UK 7" 1977 (Decca	- FR 13710) Promo - Back

ABOVE: UK promo 7" single from 1977

Runnin’ Riot In 84 has a meatier production job but suffers from a second album shortage of material and a snare drum that is mixed way too loudly, although some of the tracks are uniformly strong: ‘The Sun Says’ addresses tabloid papers, ‘Think Again’ lays into stupid machismo.

After this the band went into retreat once more, resurfacing in the 1990s.


Subsequent studio albums: Guilty As Charged (1994), Two Monkeys (1997), Here We Stand (2007), Forever (2017).

Singles / Albums

Cock Sparrer - Runnin' Riot Cock Sparrer - We Love You Cock Sparrer - Cock Sparrer Cock Sparrer - England Belongs To Me 7" Cock Sparrer - Shock Troops
Runnin' Riot
(7", 1977)
We Love You
(7"/12", 1977)
Cock Sparrer
(LP, 1978)
England Belongs To Me
(7", 1982)
Shock Troops
(LP, 1983)
Cock Sparrer - Running Riot In '84        
Running Riot In '84
(LP, 1984)

Extraneous Releases

Cock Sparrer - True Grit Cock Sparrer - Live And Loud!! Cock Sparrer - Shock Troops / Runnin Riot In '84 Cock Sparrer / The Business - Live And Loud!! CD Cock Sparrer - The Best Of Cock Sparrer
True Grit
(LP, 1987)
Live And Loud!!
(LP, 1987)
Shock Troops / Runnin Riot In '84
(CD, twofer, 1992)
Live And Loud!! (CD, twofer, split with The Business, 1993) The Best Of Cock Sparrer
(CD, 1993)
Cock Sparrer - Rumours Carry More Weight Than Fact (The Best Of Cock Sparrer) Cock Sparrer - Rarities Cock Sparrer - England Belongs To Me CD Cock Sparrer - Chip On My Shoulder Cock Sparrer / The Oppressed - Out On The Streets Again
Rumours Carry More Weight Than Fact
(CD, 1994)
(CD, 1995)
England Belongs To Me
(CD, 1997)
Chip On My Shoulder
(CD, 1999)
Out On The Streets Again
(7", split with The Oppressed, 1999)
Cock Sparrer - Diamonds & Pearls Cock Sparrer - England Belongs To Me: Best Of Cock Sparrer Cock Sparrer - Running Riot In '84 / Live And Loud Cock Sparrer - The Best Of Cock Sparrer - The Decca Years
Diamonds & Pearls (LP/CD, 2000) England Belongs To Me
(2xLP/CD, 2001)
Running Riot In '84 / Live And Loud
(CD, twofer, 2002)
The Best Of
(2xCD, 2004)
The Decca Years
(CD, 2006)
Essentials Live Essentials Cock Sparrer - Running Riot In '84 (No. 1) Cock Sparrer - Running Riot In '84 (No. 2) Cock Sparrer - Running Riot In '84 (No. 3)
(Box Set, 2010)
Live Essentials
(Box Set, 2010)
Running Riot In '84
(2x7", 2011)
Running Riot In '84
(2x7", 2011)
Running Riot In '84
(7", 2011)
Cock Sparrer - True Grit Outtakes Cock Sparrer - 40 Years Cock Sparrer ‎– The Albums 1978-87    
True Grit Outtakes
(LP, 2011)
40 Years
(CD, 2014)
The Albums 1978-87
(4xCD, box set, 2018)


Cock Sparrer - Bootlegs & Rarities Cock Sparrer - Still A Teenager At Heart Cock Sparrer - Rarities And More Cock Sparrer - Made In England Cock Sparrer - Running Riot Across Europe
Bootlegs & Rarities
(7", 1993)
Still A Teenager At Heart
(7", 1994)
Rarities And More
(LP, 1996)
Made In England
(CDR, 2001)
Running Riot Across Europe
(CD, 2004)

Various Artists

Oi! The Album UK LP 1980 (EMI): Sunday Stripper

Strength Thru Oi! UK LP 1981 (Decca): Taken For A Ride (We Think You Don't) / Running Riot (Live)

Son Of Oi! UK LP 1983 (Syndicate): Chip On My Shoulder (Live)

The Oi! Of Sex UK LP 1984 (Syndicate): The Sun Says

Oi! Chartbusters Volume 1 UK LP 1987 (Link): Running Riot

Oi! Chartbusters Volume 2 UK LP 1987 (Link): Run For Cover

Oi!.. The Picture Disc UK LP 1987 (Link): England Belongs To Me

Oi! Chartbusters Volume 3 UK LP 1988 (Link): Teenage Heart

Pop Oi! UK LP 1989 (Link): England Belongs To Me

The Joys Of Oi! UK LP 1990 (Link):A Price Too High To Pay

Oi! The Singles Collection Vol 1 UK CD 1995 (Captain Oi!): England Belongs To Me / Argy Bargy


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