I thought I would do a short piece of the origins of Oi music – many people have compared Oi to modern day folk music – tales of real life etc Its commonly held belief and rightly so that bands like Cock Sparrer who were doing the London Pubs scene as early as 1976 were huge influences on bands like the Cockney rejects and the first wave of London Oi bands.
But… I want to take it back way further than that – in my mind with out legendary acts like Slade from Wolverhampton the foundations of Oi would not exist – everyone knows Slade for their catch foot stomping sing along songs and outrageous outfits but not everyone knows that in the late 60s they were skinheads – told by their management and label to change the way they dress to build a successful career they co-opted the first wave of Glam look .
While its commonly accepted that Slade influenced the 2nd wave of glam rock Posion, Motley Crue Quiet Riot etc not many people have made the connection between them and Oi – if you watch concert footage of them in Australia from the mid 70s you will see many skinheads in the crowd (mainly exp-pat Brits living in Aussie land) Another band that deserves an honorable mention from the Glam rock scene is Sweet who had a decent Skinhead following back in the day too.
Now bare with me here and I will probably get some flack for this as I don’t think many music historians have ever put forward this before – but follow along with me – the first time I ever heard the OI OI OI chant in a song was not The Cockney rejects but back in 1974 with AC/DC and their song TNT – go back and check it out if you don’t believe me. AC/DC were mainly made up of Scottish immigrants (and a few Aussies of course) and after their initial success in Australia took off to London to conquer the UK in 1978….I can’t prove it but I am sure when they were playing the London pubs people would have noticed TNT and the Oi chorus.
Another Aussie group that not many people would have perceived as an influence on the Oi genre is the classic Rose Tattoo – if nothing else look at lead singers Angry Anderson look – shaved head and fully sleeved with tattoos – before I ever heard the band I used to look at their records and wonder if they were a skinhead band or an Aussie pub rock band.
I will acknowledge that their Football chant Song “we can’t be beaten” was written after their stay in London in the early 1980s so that is more like the tail wagging the dog if ya get me.
Check this 1974 concert footage of a concert – these guys are called “Sharps” not as in the anti racist skins but like proto type posts kins early rockers (bogans we call them in Australia) you almost see skins and punks at this gig before Oi and before punk rock – classic eh
Anyways not everyone is going to agree on my ideas of the roots of OI – no worries feel free to leave me a comment if you agree or disagree – thanks for reading