Boasting one of punk's essential band names, The Vibrators played their first show 30 years ago, when punk was still a baby pulling the safety pins out of its diaper, supporting The Stranglers. By the end of that first year, they had a classic single out ("We Vibrate") and had backed Chris Spedding on the goofy punk-rock cash-in "Pogo Dancing." Signed to Epic in '77, they toured with Iggy Pop and Ian Hunter, and released a debut album, Pure Mania, that Trouser Press would one day honor as "a treasure trove of memorable ditties that strip down pop in a parallel to The Ramones' streamlining of it . . . a brilliant record." While they've seen their share of lineup changes and even a breakup since the golden age of Pure Mania, this year's model still sounds great on Punk: The Early Years, a spirited revival of their favorite punk hits, from their own immortal punk-rock ballad "Baby Baby" to the early best of The Ramones, the Dead Boys, and The Clash, with guests Wayne Kramer of the MC5 and The Dickies' Leonard Graves.
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