9 43047-2 Entertainment!
Produced by Andy Gill, Jon King and Rob Warr
Released on 1979
no chart information
Find it at GEMM
9 43047-2 cover
[high resolution scan]
 

T he revolution had begun in earnest! Actually, “revelation” was the impression I had as a kid when I first heard Entertainment! on my revolving record player. The band went right to the root of the problem (capitalism) and ripped it up in a way that could only be called liberating. None of the conventional rules applied here: guitars were harsh instruments of torture and aggression, drums pounded at their pleasure, two voices could talk at the same time, and a white punk could lay down some of the funkiest bass riffs imaginable smack in the path of a speeding train. (No wonder Flea lists this band as an influence in the expanded reissue liner notes.) The opening side of music on Entertainment! represents some of the greatest punk music to come out of England in the late ‘70s. The Pistols and The Clash and even The Stranglers arrived first, but the Gang treated them like an opening act for their own anti-sloganeering agenda. Anarchy in the UK? Okay. London’s burning. Yeah, I suppose. But Entertainment! resonated with my American mind in a way that the other angry Angles couldn’t. “Please send me evenings and weekends” (from “Return The Gift”), “The poor still weak the rich always rule” (from “Not great Men”), “This heaven gives me migraine” (“Natural’s Not In It”). We were awash in a sea of polluted principles and here was Gang of Four throwing us a life preserver. The songs on Entertainment represent the band’s best work: “Anthrax,” “Ether,” “Natural’s Not In It,” “At Home He’s A Tourist,” “Damaged Goods,” “Not Great Men.” The albums that followed were supplemental to the discussion here, despite their own share of great tracks. Although GOF were hard liners when it came to their musical vision, Entertainment! does have some variety, most of it on side two. Listening to “Glass,” “Contract” and “I Found That Essence Rare,” you’ll hear similarities to the early work of The B-52’s or XTC that suggest Gang and the greater gang (which would include Adam + The Ants) drew inspiration from the same source. None of those bands released a debut as stunning as Entertainment! however. It may have been anti-jingoism, but I was sold after the first minute. (Note: The 1995 reissue includes the contents of 1980’s eponymous EP, the yellow one.)

9 43047-2 inner sleeve
9 43047-2 inner sleeve

TRACK LISTING

  1. ETHER    3:48
  2. NATURAL'S NOT IN IT    3:04
  3. NOT GREAT MEN    3:03
  4. DAMAGED GOODS    3:25
  5. RETURN THE GIFT    3:03
  6. GUNS BEFORE BUTTER    3:46
  7. I FOUND THAT ESSENCE RARE    3:10
  8. GLASS    2:28
  9. CONTRACT    2:37
  10. AT HOME HE'S A TOURIST    3:29
  11. 5.45    3:40
  12. ANTHRAX    4:20

    All songs written and arranged by Gang of Four

CREDITS

DAVE ALLEN -- bass
HUGO BURNHAM -- drums
ANDY GILL -- guitar, art design
JON KING -- vocals, art design
Rick Walton -- engineer
Davy Phee, Edwin Cross -- tape operators

return to GANG OF FOUR discography

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
UK 1979 EMI LP 3313  
US 1979 Warner Bros. LP 3446  
CAN 1979 Warner Bros. LP XBS 3446  
JPN 1979 EMI LP EMS 81286  
UK 1995 EMI CDX CZ541 w. YELLOW EP
US 1995 Infinite Zero CDX 43047 digital remaster w. YELLOW EP
JPN   EMI/Toshiba CDX TOCP-8724 digital remaster w. YELLOW EP

 

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