The Ruts were a reggae-influenced British punk rock band, notable for the 1979 Top 10 hit "Babylon's Burning", and an earlier single "In a Rut", which was not a hit but was much played and highly regarded by the UK BBC Radio 1 disc jockey, John Peel.
The band consisted of Malcolm Owen (vocals), Paul Fox (guitar), John "Segs" Jennings (bass) and Dave Ruffy (drums). As part of the People Unite collective based in Southall in West London the band were active in anti-racist causes, and their song "Jah War" is about the Special Patrol Group's violence in Southall in 1979, in which Blair Peach was beaten to death and Clarence Baker was severely injured.
The Ruts backed Laurel Aitken who was then signed to the Secret Affair record label, I-Spy Records on a John Peel session for BBC Radio 1, in April/May 1980, and also backed Aitken on his support tour to Secret Affair - The line-up was Aitken, Fox, Jennings, Ruffy, Owen and Barnacle.
Malcolm Owen died from a heroin overdose on 14 July 1980 at the age of 26. The b-side "H-eyes" of "In a Rut" was a song against heroin use, and two other songs, "Dope for Guns" from the album The Crack, plus "Love in Vain" (b-side of "Staring at the Rude Boys") were also anti-drug songs.
On 16 July 2007 the band reformed for the first time in 27 years and played a special one off benefit gig for Paul Fox, following his diagnosis with lung cancer. Henry Rollins (of Black Flag), stood in for Owen. They were supported by Tom Robinson, The Damned, Misty in Roots, U.K. Subs, Splodge (Splodgenessabounds), John Otway; and the Peafish House Band which featured Lee Harris, (The Blockheads), Tony Barber (Buzzcocks) and Rowland Rivron, plus Edward Tudor-Pole and T. V. Smith.
Fox, who was diagnosed with terminal cancer in mid 2007, died on 21 October of the same year at the age of 56.
"The Crack" is The Ruts first album, released in 1979 and containing the UK hit singles: "Babylon's Burning" (No. 7 in the UK chart in June 1979) and "Something That I Said" (No. 29 in September 1979) The white-reggae-ish "Jah War" which was written in the aftermath of the Southall unrest and the over-use of force by the Metropolitan Police Service's Special Patrol Group in 1979 was also released as a single but didn't make the UK chart.
Tracklist: 1. Babylon's Burning, 2. Dope For Guns, 3. S.U.S., 4. Something That I Said, 5. You're Just a...., 6. It Was Cold, 7. Savage Circle, 8. Jah War, 9. Criminal Mind, 10. Backbiter, 11. Out of Order, 12. Human Punk (Live), 13. Give Youth a Chance (Bonus), 14. I Ain't Sofisticated (Bonus), 15. The Crack (Bonus).
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The Ruts @ MySpace / The Ruts @ Wikipedia