Rising to the fore during the second generation of punk, London group The Ruts became one of the few from that genre to truly reach a wider audience.
The beginnings of the imposing foursome actually veered towards the burgeoning “Oi!” movement before musical leanings saw them drift into grounds defined by reggae and dub.
Part of their sound was also guided by their association with numerous rock and roll cover bands of the period.
Despite these, the Ruts’ sense of anger concerning social issues became embedded in their sound. Amongst their angst’s was the escalation of heroin use within punk’s outer communities, noted on the early B-Side, “H-Eyes”- a dark irony considering lead singer Malcolm Owen death from a heroin overdose in July 1980.
The Ruts would reach their peak with the singles “Babylon’s Burning” and “Something That I Said” in the summer of 1979. The single’s, taken from the band’s sole album The Crack, garnered a place on the BBC’s Top of the Pops, with a third single, “Jah War” following in November.
With Owens’ demise, the remaining members reconvened as Ruts DC, but split in 1983 after releasing two albums. The band would reform for a one-off show in 2007, with Henry Rollins taking singing duties for a benefit show for guitarist Paul Fox, who had recently been diagnosed with lung cancer.
Sadly, Fox would die later that year at the age of 56.