Formed in Londons Canning Town in late '78 by Micky Geggus (vocals) and brother Jeff "Stinky" Turner (guitar)- completed by bassist Chris Murrel and drummer Paul Harvey - left demo through the door of indie label Small Wonder Records (at the time home of The Carpettes, The Wall, Menace, etc..) Suitably impressed, label heads Pete and Marie Stennet then got in touch and in July '79 they released the bands debut "Flares N Slipprs" which as well as the title track also featured "Police Car" and "I Wanna Be A Star".

By the end of the year the EP had sold over 5,000 copies and spent 18 weeks in the (then) Independant Chart eventually reaching N°24, helped by plays on the John Peel show and rave reviews in the influencial music mag, "Sounds". It was "Sounds" journalist Garry Bushell who then became the band's manager and he introduced them to Sham 69's vocalist Jimmy pursey who offered to produce their first recordings for their newly contract with EMI Records.

With new bassist Vince Riordan and 'borrowed' drummer Andy Scott (previously a member of The Tickets) the Rejects first EMI release was the brilliant "I''m not A Fool", the single managed to hit N°65 in the UK charts in december '79. They followed this is February '80 with another N°65 in the shape of the "Bad Man".
At Rock City studios the band recorded the fourteen songs Mickey and Stinky had written in their bedroom in little over two weeks and unleashed "Greatest Hits Vol 1" in March 1980. It crashed into the UK charts at N° 22 and spent a total of 11weeks in the Top 50. " Basically the album was based on our real live experiences", remembers Mickey. "You know, juvenile crime, fighting and standing up for yourself. we were all tearaways from te East end and the lyrics and music reflect that way of life". Not only the Rejects' lives but that of thousand of kids everywhere who could relate 100% to the working class anthems that stinky, Mickey and bassist Vince Riordan played with utter honesty. drums on the LP were supllied by Andy Scott though his name did not appear on the original sleeve at the time because he was contractually committed to another East end band, Wasted Youth.
The aforesaid "I'm Not A Fool" and "Bad Man" singles were inclued on the album as was a re-recording of "Police Car", a track first heard on the "Flares N Slippers" EP. "Join The Rejects" was actually a reworking of an old Tickets song called "Get Yourself Killed" (which for all you purists was originally on the "Farewell To The Roxy" compilation) whilst "Where the Hell is Babylon" became one of DJ John Peel's favourite tracks and one that The rejects recorded during their various sessions for Peeli's show.

For most bands the recording and releasing of two LP's in one year would be near impossibility. Fot the Rejects it was a doddle as they released "Greatest Hits Vol 2" in October 1980. only six months after "Vol 1".
Carrying on from where "Vol 1" left off, "Vol 2" contained a further 14 Rejects anthems that dealt with life on the road, life on the terraces and always about life up against the odds. ."War On The Terraces", the b-side to the band's N° 54 chart single "We are The firm", kicked the album off in typical Rejects ruck'n'roll style.
"Greatest Cockney Rip Off" had already hit N° 21 in the UK charts (and seen the band clad in West Ham shirts on Top of the Pops) prior to the release of "Vol 2" and they'd followed it with the call to arms of "We Can Anything".


However it was the track "Oi!Oi!Oi!" and its slogan of "The kids they come from everywhere the est end's all around" that was give a name to the movement of bands like The 4 Skins, The Business and The Partisans who were beginning to emerge nationwide. Mickey Geggus recalls that "Stinky used to say 'Oi! 'ave a listen to this' or 'Oi! Oi! get us a beer'. It was just his way of being heard but before we knew it Garry ushell's used it to christen our whole style and sound!"
Like 'Vol 1' the second album was recorded in just fourteen days and Mickey remembers that they also recorded at least another five or six songs including the original version of "Teenage Fantasy" and "Van Bollocks" which to this day have still never been released. New drummer Nickel Wolf had joined in time for the T.O.T.P. appearances but left soon after "Vol 2" had made it to N° 23 in the UK charts.

Reflecting on the amount of flak The rejects received Mickey says "I honestly believe we were the first and only band to walk it like we talked it but those days we were black-listed for doing what came naturally. Nowadays with the likes of Gun'n'Roses it's hip to be hard or at least pretending to be!"
Well, Guns'n'Roses might think they're wild men of rock and likes of the Manic Street Preachers might think they're 'for real' (maan!) but The Cockney rejects were THE Guv'nors and as the slogan on the back cover of 'Vol 2' states, "From Scotland down to Cornwall, we dun the lot we took' em all !"

With six Top 75 singles and two Top 30 albums to their credit in less than a year... [ one of which "Bubbles" (West Ham F.C.) although their biggest selling single featured their aggressive stance which was to be the start of their uncontrollable downfall. As legions of true fans built up so too did the opposing army of enemies, many from rival football clubs, as well as the once loyal back-stabbers. Serious violent incidents at Liverpool and Birmingham saw the band virtually unbookable in the U.K]...
The Cockney Rejects decided to record a live LP that not only captured the best of their early material but would also act as a pointer to their newer, rockier direction. "Greatest Hits Vol III - Live and loud" was that album and from the moment it kicked off with "The rocker" it was obvious that The Rejects meant to leave a lasting audio document to their raucous live shows.

Recorded at EMI's Abbey Road studios in front of an invited audience, the album inclued a new song "Easy Life" which was released as a single. In fact the band deliberately chose "Motorhead" to close the album to give their fans a taste of the heavier style they were planning to follow. The album spent 3 weeks in the UK charts, peaking at N° 27 in April 1981, and was to be the last 'hit' The Rejects would registrer. The album also marked the debut of ex-Angelic Upstarts drummer Keith Warrington.

With the release of June 1981's "On The Streets again" single The Cockney Rejects took their first steps into a more melodic Rock style than their previous studio outings and with the LP "Power And The Glory" those steps became strides as the band fully came to terms with their hard rock leanings. Explaining the slight change of direction guitarist Micky Geggus recalls, "At the time we were hanging out a lot with bands like UFO and me and Jeff (Stinky) realised that we did have a certain talent and now that we could play a lot better than when we started it seemed to be a natural progression to follow a more rock based route".

"Power And the Glory" still retained slices of The Rejects natutal aggreesiveness with tracks like "Teenage Fantasy" and "On The run" but mixed it with much more melodic tunes than previously associated with Rejects records. In fact the album owed more than a nod in the direction of The Professionals who were pursuing a similar Rock Punk style. The LP was recorded at Rockfield Studios in wales and produced by Steve Churchyard.

However a combination of EMI thinking that The rejects were going a little "too Metal" and the band worrying about becoming EMI's "Token Punk band" resulted in "Power and the Glory" being the final recordings The rejects would release for the label. Going for a fully fledged Heavy Metal sound they moved to AKA records and released "The Wild One" in 1982 and since then have continued sporadically to record and release a series of rock-orientated albums.

The Cockney Rejects reunited in 1990 for the album "Lethal" , which failed to make much of an impression...
By the millenium, Turner had Geggus had resurrected the COCKNEY REJECTS once more, installing a new rhythm section of erstwhile RED ALERT members, Tony Van Frater on bass and Les 'Nobby' Cobb on drums. An album, 'Out Of The Gutter' released by Captain Oi!, followed in 2003....

 

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