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By early 1978, punk was all but history in the U.K.; the winners had either found commercial and/or critical sustenance (The Clash) or imploded (The Sex Pistols). Other groups writing great songs, such as The Vibrators, were either considered too backdated or lazily dismissed as musical carpetbaggers. Yes, it was a transitional era for punks on major labels. But for their second (and last) Columbia album, The Vibrators sidestepped sellout status and created a follow-up that nearly matched the greatness of their self-titled debut. In fact, V2 spawned the group’s only U.K. Top 40 hit: the great “Automatic Lover.” Elsewhere, “Public Enemy No. 1” soaked up the pub-rock pints while “Nazi Baby” swiped at racism using hormonal burdens to mock a fascist motherlode. But if any song spoke the truth of England’s musical milieu in 1978, it was “Troops of Tomorrow”: a five-minute stab at early post-punk ambience whose telling, group-sung line “We ain’t got a bright future/We bought it on the never-never” shows how punk’s promise was little more than a ruse in silly shades. Conversely, “24 Hour People” is a potent portent of the pop new wave to come.


Formed: 1976

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

One of punk rock's longest running bands, the Vibrators emerged from the UK punk scene in 1976 and quickly found themselves sharing the stage with such notable acts as the Sex Pistols. Their initial releases were minor hits in England, and the band was able to weather frequent lineup changes, which started with bassist Pat Collier's exit in 1977, until 1980 when the band called it quits. But, as with most UK punk acts, reformation was in the cards. The original lineup came back together in 1982 and...
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V2, The Vibrators
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