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Cock Sparrer

Cock Sparrer live in London
Background information
Origin London, England
Genres Punk rock, Oi!
Years active 1974-1978, 1982-1984, 1992-Present
Labels Decca, Carrere, Razor, Bitzcore, Captain Oi!
Website Official website
Colin McFaull
Mickey Beaufoy
Steve Burgess
Steve Bruce
Daryl Smith
Former members
Garrie Lammin
Chris Skepis
Shug O'Neill

Cock Sparrer (initially Cock Sparrow) are a punk rock band formed in 1972 in the East End of London, England.

Although they never enjoyed much commercial success, the band is considered one of the most influential streetpunk bands in history, helping pave the way for the late-1970s punk scene and the Oi! subgenre. Their style was influenced by pub rock, glam rock and raw 1960s beat music as delivered by bands like the Small Faces and The Who. Their lyrics mostly dealt with topics related to the daily lives of working class people. Cock Sparrer's songs have been covered by many punk, Oi!, and hardcore bands.

Their name is sometimes thought to refer to cock fighting (as in 'sparring'), although as evidenced by their original name, Cock Sparrow,[1] it refers instead to a Cockney term of familiarity.



Cock Sparrer was founded by Colin McFaull, Mick Beaufoy, Steve "Burge" Burgess and Steve Bruce - who had known each other since the age of 11. Playing in nightclubs in and around London, they developed the style that was later to be known as streetpunk or Oi!. In 1976, the band met with Malcolm McLaren, who allegedly offered to sign the band alongside to his newest discovery, the Sex Pistols. According to the members of Cock Sparrer, the deal never happened because McLaren refused to buy them a round of beers. Another explanation is that they refused to cut their hair as McLaren wanted.

In 1977, Garrie Lammin (Burge's cousin) joined in as second guitarist and the band secured a deal with Decca Records, who were hoping to cash in on the now blooming punk movement. The first Cock Sparrer single was "Runnin' Riot", released in May 1977. It did not sell well, nor did the following singles, and Decca dropped the band in 1978. The band members had already recorded an album's worth of material, which remained officially unreleased until 2006. Cock Sparrer disbanded in 1980, but in 1981, old Cock Sparrer songs were included on several Oi! compilation albums, and interest in the band began to rise again. They reformed in 1982 and signed to Carrere Records, which released the "England Belongs to Me" single. The next release was the band's debut album Shock Troops in 1983. It included the songs "Where Are They Now", "I Got Your Number"' and "Riot Squad." In 1984, Beaufoy left the band and was replaced by Shug O'Neill, who was later replaced by Chris Skepis. The album Running Riot in '84 was released in October 1984.

The band performed several reunion concerts in 1992 (with Daryl Smith as the new second guitarist), and in 1994 they released a new album, Guilty as Charged. In 1997, they released the album Two Monkeys. Since then, Cock Sparrer has occasionally toured and has performed sporadically at punk festivals including the Wasted/Rebellion festival. In April 2008 they headlined Rebellion Vienna [2] and also headlined Rebellion Blackpool in August 2008.[3] They also headlined the Punk & Disorderly-Festival in Berlin in 2009. They also played Riotfest in Chicago playing at the Congress Theater on 10/10/09 and headlined the Metro on 10/11/09.

The band released their fifth studio album, Here We Stand, in November 2007.[4]

UFC fighter Dan Hardy has used the song "England Belongs to Me" as his walk on music at UFC 95, UFC 99 and UFC 105.

Cock Sparrer members



Title Label Date of Release UK Chart Position
Shock Troops Carrere 1982 Did not chart
Running Riot in '84 Syndicate 1984 Did not chart
True Grit Razor 1987 Did not chart
Guilty as Charged Bitzcore 1994 Did not chart
Two Monkeys Bitzcore 1997 Did not chart
Here We Stand Captain Oi! 2007 Did not chart

10" EP

  • Run Away EP, 1995, Bitzcore

Live albums

  • Live and Loud, 1987, Link
  • Live: Runnin' Riot Across the USA", 2000
  • Back Home, 2003, Captain Oi!


  • England Belongs To Me, 1997, Harry May
  • Bloody Minded, 1999, Dr. Strange/Bitzcore
  • The Decca Years, 2006, Captain Oi!

7" Singles

  • "Running Riot" b/w "Sister Suzie", 1977, Decca
  • "We Love You" b/w "Chip on my Shoulder", 1977, Decca
  • "England Belongs to Me" b/w "Argy Bargy", 1982, Carerre
  • "Run Away", 1995, Bitzcore
  • "Too Late" b/w "Because You're Young", 2007, Captain Oi!
  • "Did You Have A Nice Life Without Me?" b/w "So Many Things", 2008, Dirty Punk (French Import)
  • "True To Yourself" b/w "Chip On My Shoulder (Live)", 2008, TKO Records
  • "Spirit of '76" b/w laser etching, 2008, Pirates Press Records


External links

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