Stiff Little Fingers

Amid the tension of 1970s Northern Ireland, Stiff Little Fingers came roaring out of Belfast to take the punk scene by storm with their DIY, adrenaline-charged, heart-on-sleeve rushes of teen spirit and political anger. They were originally a covers band named Highway Star until front man Jake Burns started writing songs about their experiences and they were soon championed by Radio 1 DJ John Peel. Signing to the Rough Trade label, debut record Inflammable Material (1978) became the first independent album to chart in the UK, reaching Number 14 and selling over 100,000 copies. Tracks like Alternative Ulster, Suspect Device and At The Edge became shouty, full-throttle punk anthems, but the band were keen to move forward and turned to a more pop-friendly sound with Now Then...(1982). It led to a split in 1983, but they reformed in 1987 with The Jam bassist Bruce Foxton briefly joining for the albums Flags And Emblems (1991) and Get A Life (1994). Still performing together, the band left an indelible influence on Belfast's music scene, having been one of the few youthful, politicised and impassioned voices of the region's troubles.

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