Biography of "The Sockets"


The Purple Hearts began life as an Essex Punk band called The Sockets, changing their name and fortunes in 1978 to in perfect anticipation of the Mod explosion that was about to blast the nation.

This bright new combo revealed themselves to be:

Jeff Shadbolt (Bass), Simon Stebbing (Guitar), Bob Manton (Vocals) & Gary Sparks (Drums)


By 1979, media coverage of the 'Mod Revival' was at an all time high. Secret Affair front man Ian Page even appeared in a news item on BBC TV's 'Nationwide' proclaiming that "Being a Mod was about sitting on a train next to a businessman, and knowing you looked better than he did!" Thanks Ian.

Of course none of this could really hurt anybody, and after a British tour with Secret Affair and Back To Zero, the Purple Hearts signed to Polydor's 'Fiction' imprint.

There debut 45 'Millions Like Us' achieved there highest UK chart placing, Peaking at number 57 in 1979.

They followed this up with 'Frustration' and the B side which, 'Extraordinary Sensations" gave inspiration to the young Mod mover and shaker Eddie Piller, who started a fanzine of the same name. Piller later became a founder of the Acid Jazz label.


The third Fiction 45 was 'Jimmy', which also charted, reaching it's peak at number 60 in 1980 (in fact the first five Purple Hearts singles all made the UK charts).

The Purple Hearts debut album, 'Beat That! ' was released by Fiction in May 1980. The LP was a mixture of 60s cover-versions and original band compositions. The Mod scene was still relatively healthy at this time and the album was well received. But by the summer of 1980, the Mod Revival was in need of CPR and the Purple Hearts were dropped by Fiction Records.

The band was quickly picked up by Safari Records who released the fourth Purple Hearts single 'My Life's A Jigsaw'.


In 1981, details were announced of a forthcoming single on Demon Records. Some time passed and the single 'Plane Crash' eventually surfaced on the Road Runner label, run by Fanzine editor Steve Whiffin.

After 1981

After a brief split, during which bassist Jeff Shadbolt joined The Rage - whose line up also included former Chords drummer Buddy Ascot - by 1985, the Hearts were back together for a live album 'Head On Collision Time' (recorded at London's famous 100 Club in Oxford Street) and a new studio album 'Pop-ish Frenzy' (1986) both of which were released by Razor Records. They also recorded one last 45 on Mark Johnson's Unicorn Label 'Friends Again' (1986).

This history is taken from the sleeve notes of 'Head On Collision Time Again' by Tony Garp.

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