Festive 50 (1978)


I was having a chat my mate Fib, about our favourite New Years musical play lists, of days gone by.

I remember in 1978; when I had been listening to punk throughout that year, I listened to John Peel’s (R.I.P) radio Christmas show. My ear was jammed to the radio, secreted beneath the bed covers, listening to his “Festive 50” late at night. His list of his favourite records before the Xmas period (was it Xmas eve or New Year’s Eve?) with a build up to the number 1 slot played before the year began again. This was my “musical window to the world” and a huge leap from Radio Luxembourg.

Besides hearing Punk music and New Age music being played; this was the first time I heard “Anarchy in the UK” in the number 1 slot, in the winter of 1978. I had read about the song before I heard it in the “Pistols File”; a black and white photographic documentation of the history of the Pistols and the early days of punk, told through the quills of journalists who saw them play.

There was a myth about the song even before I had heard it. The title was provocative in those days. The journalists discussed the meaning of it in the Pistols File, and through their writings the song became a myth, a slogan and a teenager’s ideology.

Typically, when I heard the song being played on John Peel’s radio programme. I did not connect it with the writings in the File! I heard this beautiful, gut wrenching, hormonal exciting, ore inspiring… piece of art and I never connected it to the journalistic writings of “Anarchy in the UK”.

In those days I taped the JP show on my radio cassette player (the same with the Sunday Countdown on radio 1) and it was not until the day after when listening to it again, that I connected the two as one; and I only made the connection after studying the lyrics on the recording.

In a way, the record made me like it independently, like there were 2 records out there with the same title. I admired the writing…the myth, and I liked the recording…the song.

“Anarchy in the UK” was number 1 on John Peels show for 3 years, but one year it was not. It had been replaced by Joy Division’s “Atmosphere” in 1981. I remember John saying “an end of an era” and it was. Looking back at those play lists is like looking through a historical document from a lost civilization, an archaeological artefact. It speaks of people.

An example of the 1978 Festive Fifty is here, a link is below to the original web site.

John Peel’s All Time Festive Fifty – 1978

1: “Anarchy in the UK” (Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols, 1977) Virgin Records
2: “Complete Control” (7″ single, 1977) CBS
3: “God Save the Queen” (Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols, 1977) Virgin Records
4: “Suspect Device” [single version] (7″ single, 1978) Rough Trade / Rigid Digits
5: “Shot by Both Sides” (Real Life, 1978) Virgin Records [version unconfirmed] 6: “Pretty Vacant” (Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols, 1977) Virgin Records
7: “(White Man) In Hammersmith Palais” (7″ single, 1978) CBS
8: “What Do I Get?” (7″ single, 1978) United Artists
9: “Public Image” (Public Image, 1978) Virgin Records
10: (7″ single, 1978) Sire
11: “Alternative Ulster” (Inflammable Material, 1979) Rough Trade
12: “Boredom” (Spiral Scratch EP, 1977) New Hormones
13: “New Rose” [single version] (7″ single, 1977) Stiff Records
14: “Stairway to Heaven” (IV, 1971) Atlantic
15: “White Riot” [album version] (The Clash, 1977) CBS
16: “”Heroes”” [album version] (“Heroes”, 1977) RCA
17: “Another Girl, Another Planet” (The Only Ones, 1978) Columbia
18: “Holidays in the Sun” (Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols, 1977) Virgin Records
19: “Free Bird” [album version] ((pronounced ‘lĕh-‘nérd ‘skin-‘nérd), 1974) MCA
20: “I Can’t Stand My Baby” [single version] (7″ single, 1977) Sensible Records
21: “Madame George” (Astral Weeks, 1968) Warner Bros. Records
22: “Hong Kong Garden” (7″ single, 1978) Polydor
23: “Police & Thieves” (The Clash, 1977) CBS
24: “Down in the Tube Station at Midnight” [single version] (7″ single, 1978) Polydor
25: “Watching the Detectives” (7″ single, 1977) Stiff Records
26: “Born to Run” (Born to Run, 1975) Columbia
27: “Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll” (7″ single, 1977) Stiff Records
28: “Sultans of Swing” [album version] (Dire Straits, 1978) Vertigo
29: “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” [parts I – V] (Wish You Were Here, 1975) Harvest
30: “Moving Away from the Pulsebeat” (Another Music in a Different Kitchen, 1978) United Artists
31: “Layla” [album version] (Layla and other assorted Love Songs, 1970) Polydor
32: “Hanging Around” (Rattus Norvegicus, 1977) United Artists
33: “No More Heroes” (No More Heroes, 1977) United Artists
34: “Helter Skelter” (The Scream, 1978) Polydor (however the version played is a clean radio promo, with rerecorded, not muted, vocals)
35: “Dancing the Night Away” [album version] (1, 1977) Virgin Records
36: “Like a Rolling Stone” (Highway 61 Revisited, 1965) Columbia
37: “Alison” (My Aim Is True, 1977) Stiff Records (played from the 7″ single)
38: “Overground” [album version] (The Scream, 1978) Polydor
39: “My Generation” (My Generation, 1965) Brunswick
40: “London Lady” (Rattus Norvegicus, 1977) United Artists
41: “Switch” (The Scream, 1978) Polydor
42: “Mirage” (The Scream, 1978) Polydor
43: “Jigsaw Feeling” (The Scream, 1978) Polydor
44: “In the City” (In the City, 1977) Polydor [version unconfirmed] 45: “E.M.I.” (Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols, 1977) Virgin Records
46: “Desolation Row” (Highway 61 Revisited, 1965) Columbia
47: “Summertime Blues” [7″ version] (7″ single, 1978) Virgin Records
48: “Like a Hurricane” [album version] (American Stars ‘n Bars, 1977) Reprise
49: “Emerald” [live] (Live and Dangerous, 1978) Warner Bros. Records
50: “Metal Postcard (Mittageisen)” (The Scream, 1978) Polydor

To see the original web page and additional text, please refer to:

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