So as they are form the same gene pool, they are considered, in my head at least, as a double album, and for the purpose of this musing I am maintaining that belief.
From 1991, 'Sound Of The Suburbs' is basically a "starter kit" for late 70s/early 80s post-punk and new wave.
I recall it's release being salivated over in the pages of Select Magazine, who also bigged up the release of 'Singles from The Specials around the same time.
Re-discovery of a period not so long past was in the air - a couple of years later Select were the one's who first mentioned Britpop - could these compilations be the catalyst that started a movement? (probably not).
'Sound Of The Suburbs' picks the prime tracks of the period, and every one is a winner. And like all the best, heavily listened to compilations, one track MUST follow another. Once the sequence is in your mind (and ears), if the playout of Only Ones "Another Girl Another Planet" is not immediately followed by the drum crack and guitar intro of Undertones "Teenage Kicks" then there is something going wrong inside my brain.
'Sound Of The City' gives the bigger names a second outing (proving they are not One Hit Wonders), adds a nod to the US with The Ramones, Blondie and The Pretenders (OK, they're only 25% American) and gives a spotlight to some of the lesser known names (less obvious choices?) of the era, like The Ruts, Spizz Energi and The Jags (who were an actual One Hit Wonder).
So what do you get?
Well, rather than pick out highlights (which is too damn difficult, because they are all highlights), the track listings are:
Sound Of The Suburbs
- Jam - The Eton Rifles
- Adam & The Ants - Antmusic
- Buzzcocks - Ever Fallen in Love
- Only Ones - Another Girl Another Planet
- Undertones - Teenage Kicks
- Martha & The Muffins - Echo Beach
- Altered Images - Happy Birthday
- Elvis Costello & The Attractions - Oliver's Army
- Tom Robinson Band - 2-4-6-8 Motorway
- Ian Dury & The Blockheads - Hit Me with Your Rhythm Stick
- Blondie - Call Me
- Teardrop Explodes - Reward
- Boomtown Rats - I Don't Like Mondays
- Psychedelic Furs - Pretty in Pink
- Stranglers - No More Heroes
- Vapors - Turning Japanese
- Eddie & The Hot Rods - Do Anything You Wanna Do
- The Members - The Sound of the Suburbs
Sound Of The City
- Boomtown Rats - She's So Modern
- Ramones - Sheena Is a Punk Rocker
- Blondie - Denis
- The Ruts - Staring at the Rude Boys
- The Buzzcocks - Promises
- The Damned - Love Song
- The Jags - Back of My Hand
- Spizz Energi - Where's Captain Kirk
- The Jam - Down in the Tube Station at Midnight
- The Stranglers - Hanging Around
- Sham 69 - If the Kids Are United
- Ian Dury and The Blockheads - Reasons to Be Cheerful (Part Three)
- The Pretenders - Brass in Pocket
- Elvis Costello & The Attractions - (I Don't Want to Go To) Chelsea
- Adam and the Ants - Dog Eat Dog
- Generation X - Dancing With Myself
- Stiff Little Fingers - At the Edge
More compilations of this type would follow, invariably titled Teenage Kicks (I have 5 different compilations with that title) or No More Heroes or Alternative 80s or Punk & New Wave Classics, and would contain much of the same tracks.
This is the original, and the one responsible for re-igniting populist interest in this period/genre of music (and allowing record companies to trawl and re-package their archives)
It may not be to everyone's taste (especially with the word "Punk" in the title), but theses sets contains some absolutely sublime pop records of the period, and some surprisingly popular "Big Hits"
(Surprising? Sham69 - a possibly niche concern, and certainly now a "cartoon" of their former selves manged 4 Top 10 singles in this period)
The Members - Sound Of The Suburbs (the track that gives it's name to the original compilation)
Buzzcocks - Ever Fallen In Love (probably one of the finest Punk/New Wave/Pop Singles ... ever)
Blondie - Denis (a nod to the US, and one their very best)
The Jags - Back Of My Hand (one hit wonders (with a soupçon of Elvis Costello-ism going on))