Sunday, January 24, 2010

New Wave for the New Week #50

Comprised of original Sex Pistols bassist Glen Matlock, future Ultravox frontman Midge Ure, future founding member of Visage Rusty Egan, and drummer Steve New, who would go on to play briefly in Public Image, Ltd., Rich Kids were one of the first "supergroups" on the Punk/New Wave scene. With that much talent in one group, their first record was eagerly anticipated by fans and music journalists alike.

Their first album would turn out to be their only album, but oh what a record it is! Ghosts of Princes in Towers landed on store shelves in the summer of 1978, its grooves fairly bursting with energy, its tracks ranging from simply very good to stunning. Unfortunately, for as good as the music was, the recording sounded terrible. Mick Ronson had been brought on board to produce the album, and the resultant recording was a muddied rumbling mix that thoroughly disappointed everyone from critics to fans to the band alike.

Still, there's no hiding talent. From the title track to the eponymous first single to cuts like "Marching Men," Rich Kids blasted out a punky power-pop vibe with a little tinge of '60s mod sounds a la The Small Faces (whose "Here Come the Nice" they covered as an early b-side). The songs are well worth the audiophile's nightmare to listen to. Years later, CD re-issues of the album would try to improve the sound through remastering, with fair to middling results, but we vinyl junkies are stuck with Ronson's folly.

After that fiasco, Rich Kids went their separate ways. Supergroups seldom have a long shelf-life anyway, but it sure would have been nice to hear what these guys would have come up with as a sophomore effort.

This week's NW4NW entry is a clip of Rich Kids performing their debut single "Rich Kids" on Top Of The Pops. Enjoy!

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  1. but we vinyl junkies are stuck with Ronson's folly - you try working with Ure.

  2. Point taken, Colin. Can't speak from first-hand knowledge, but the stories are out there that Ure could be a bit, shall we say, "difficult"?