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4 Skins

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Biography

As their name suggests, this London, England band comprised four skinheads, who specialized in vitriolic three-chord ‘yob-rock’. Their membership was fluid, including no less than four lead singers, with only Hoxton Tom (bass) still resident between their first and second albums. Taking their musical brief from outfits such as Sham 69, the Angelic Upstarts and the Cockney Rejects, they were a third generation punk band heavily associated with the Oi! Movement, alongside fellow travellers the Business. With a blatantly patriotic image, the band attracted National Front supporters to their live shows, which occasionally erupted into full-scale riots. Lyrically they expounded on racism, police brutality and corrupt governments. However, musically they were not so adventurous, being rigidly formularized and unable to develop from their simplistic origins (basic punk spiced by the odd foray into skinhead’s ‘other’ music, ska). From a creative standpoint, the band had ground to a halt by 1983. Their fanbase continued to contract and they soon faded into oblivion, although re-releases and compilations have reminded many of their enduring street popularity.

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