Formed by brothers Jeff and Mickey Geggus (Jeff adopted the name “Stinky Turner”), the original line-up was completed by their brother-in-law Chris Murell on bass and Paul Harvey on drums. They recorded their first demo “Flares n Slippers” which caught the attention of Small Wonder Records who then in turn got them introduced to producer Bob Seargent who recorded it as a single which sold out in its first pressing. After this their first line-up change occurred when Murrell and Harvey were replaced Vince Riordan on bass and Andy Scott on drums, completing what is considered their classic line-up which recorded their first album Greatest Hits Volume 1 released in 1980.
The had a reputation for violence in their early days with their early gigs often ending in fights. The Geggus brothers had both been amateur boxers in the past and often used their skills to intervene with fighting audience members. They also had accusations thrown at them of being supporters of the British Movement, something which they have always strongly denied. Here is a collection of their ten greatest songs…
10. Your Country Needs You
Taken from their most recent album, 2012’s East End Babylon “Your Country Needs You” is a very powerful anti war track attacking those in power who send young men and women off to fight their wars. Proving that the band still have a lot to say after thirty years, the message is an important one that many people can relate to. Musically, it is a melodic sounding track with an emotional feel.
9. It’s Alright Bruv
From 2007’s Unforgiven, this track is about the bands roots and growing up together. An upbeat number about nostalgia, it has a positive feel good vibe to it. Cushty!
8. The Power of the Glory
The title track from their third album released in 1981 which saw them veering away from their punk style and going in a more rock/metal direction, which is the kind of music that they were fans of before the punk movement came along. As a result it demonstrates them becoming better at their instruments and Turner abandoning his football chant style and adopting a more American-sounding voice. Lyrically, it is about the Second World War and is a patriotic number about being proud of their forefathers for fighting against fascism.
7. We Can Do Anything
A defiant track about individualism taken from their second album, 1980’s Greatest Hits Volume 2 (like their first album, obviously not a greatest hits set), it is a fast rabble-rousing anthem with a strong message. It generally is about being young and carefree and it still holds true now. The chorus is one of the Reject’s most memorable.
6. Oi Oi Oi
Generally seen as the Reject’s most definitive anthem, this track also from Volume 2 is the song that coined the name of the entire Oi! subgenre. It is about being a young skinhead and living it as a lifestyle, calling for unity from everywhere, complete with Doc Martens and Harrington’s Jackets.
5. War on the Terraces
An ode to the love of the band’s life- football, this cut from Volume 2 harks back to Turner’s past as a hooligan fighting with fans of opposing teams. Dealing with getting arrested by the police for it as well as fighting others team’s fans, it also has a memorable riff and is one of the definitive Oi! anthems as football is something that is largely associated with the genre and because of this they obviously make use of the football chant during the chorus.
4. Fighting in the Streets
Another track that deals with another aspect of working class life-that of the street punch up, from 1980’s Volume 1. To some, it probably comes across as boneheaded and glorifying violence which in all fairness could be the case, however for many people who have grown up on a working class estate, it is often a fact of life. Featuring another definitive riff, it certainly packs a punch literally and figuratively speaking.
3. Police Car
“Freedom ? There ain’t no freedom!” screams Turner in this not so positive homage to the boys in blue. Clocking in at two minutes, this raw sounding ditty chronicles the struggles between young punks and skins who want to live life on their own terms and the thin blue line attempting to stop them from doing so. Another cut from Volume 1, it is very short and to the point, which is all it needs to be.
2. Bad Man
One of the Reject’s more lyrically intricate songs, this track from Volume 1 deals with an individual who has mistreated those around them. Musically, it also veers away somewhat from their typical formula in the sense that the riff is more complex than their other songs, resembling something more from the original punk wave rather than Oi!. All in all it is a standout track that the shows a different side to the band.
1. I’m Not a Fool
The first track off the first album is still to this day one of their most celebrated classics which is why it is deserving of the Number 1 slot on this list. It opens with the intro riff and gradually builds up into the verse where Turner lets the listener know that he is not as daft as some might think. It is is a very likeable number somewhat reminiscent of Sham 69’s “If the Kids are United”. It encompasses a lot of what the Rejects are about which is working class frustration and not being listened to. However, there are people listening four decades later!