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The Damned are responsible for the first UK punk single (1976’s “New Rose”) and first UK punk album (Damned Damned Damned -1977). They are also the first UK punk band to tour the United States and were punk’s first major band to break up, in early 1978. Quickly reforming in early 1979 with original members, baritone crooner vocalist Dave Vanian, Keith Moon heir apparent drummer Rat Scabies, and irrepressible bassist-turned-lead guitarist Captain Sensible, The Damned shredded the rule book that was already beginning to define “proper” punk behavior. They began adding psychedelic, baroque and garage rock influences into their music, pioneered epic-scale goth pop with a dash of prog (1980’s The Black Album, with its 17-minute opus “Curtain Call”), and never lost their sense of humor, fun, and wild abandon. Active for over 45 years, The Damned’s influence looms large over gothic rock, horror punk, and hardcore, yet The Damned itself remains utterly inimitable.

Did you know?

  • The Damned’s first live performance was as support for the Sex Pistols in July 1976
  • The Damned released the first U.K. punk single (1976’s “New Rose”) and the first U.K. punk album (1977’s Damned Damned Damned)
  • Captain Sensible topped the UK singles chart in 1982 as a solo artist, with his version of “Happy Talk” from the musical South Pacific