The London Punkharmonic Orchestra are what appears to have been a one-off musical collective. Little or no information is available on them (although AllMusic insinuate that it is a pseudonym of the London Philharmonic)[1], and their only available recording is Classical Punk, a CD originally released on the budget label Music Club in 1995. It comprises orchestral transcriptions of punk classics, cleverly done so that the melody of the original song is not always immediately apparent. Peel picked up on it at once, and played it regularly throughout early summer 1995. As can be seen below, he thought it was "excellent", generally following each track with a play of the original version and rebuffed derision from reviewers who felt it did not pay respect to the music "which surely was what punk was all about in the first place". However, AllMusic avers that it is "a concept that works marvellously, as the London Philharmonic negotiates their way through the angst and comes up with a batch of unlikely tunes holding a whole lot more melody and music in them than one would originally believe.....(the tracks) bristle with a depth one wouldn't think possible, making for a classical approach that's visceral as well. A quirky idea for an album to be sure, but again, one that works on every level, a sort of gabba-gabba-hey with strings and oboes." [2]

A year later, Peel briefly revisited the CD, delighted that it had not been lost in the mountain of music at Peel Acres: it was reissued in 1998 under the title Symphony Of Destruction: Punk Goes Classical. The orchestra's version of Teenage Kicks is featured at the opening of The Story Of The Undertones: Teenage Kicks.

Festive Fifty Entries

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    London Punkharmonic Orchestra Holiday in Cambodia

    London Punkharmonic Orchestra Holiday in Cambodia


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Track listing

  • Note that Peel appears to have played only five out of the 18 tracks. The original artists are shown in brackets.
  1. No More Heroes (Stranglers)
  2. Babylon's Burning (Ruts)
  3. Sheena Is A Punk Rocker (Ramones)
  4. White Riot (Clash)
  5. Down In The Tube Station At Midnight (Jam)
  6. Holiday In Cambodia (Dead Kennedys)
  7. Gary Gilmore's Eyes (Adverts)
  8. Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn't Have) (Buzzcocks)
  9. Love Song (Damned)
  10. Another Girl Another Planet (Only Ones)
  11. Where's Captain Kirk? (Spizzenergi)
  12. Alternative Ulster (Stiff Little Fingers)
  13. Germ Free Adolescents (X-Ray Spex)
  14. Teenage Kicks (Undertones)
  15. Stranglehold (UK Subs)
  16. Hersham Boys (Sham 69)
  17. Sound Of The Suburbs (Members)
  18. Pretty Vacant (Sex Pistols)

Other Shows Played

All selections were played from the CD 'Classical Punk!' (Music Club)

  • 20 May 1995: 'Teenage Kicks'
  • 27 May 1995 (BFBS): 'Teenage Kicks'
  • 26 May 1995: 'Sheena Is A Punk Rocker'
  • 03 June 1995 (BFBS): 'Sheena Is A Punk Rocker'
  • 09 June 1995: 'Love Song'
  • 10 June 1995: 'Holiday In Cambodia'
  • 10 June 1995 (BFBS): 'Holiday In Cambodia'
  • 16 June 1995: 'Another Girl Another Planet'
  • 19 June 1995 (BBC World Service): Another Girl, Another Planet (CD - Classical Pink!) Music Club
  • 01 July 1995 (BFBS): 'Another Girl Another Planet' (JP: 'And here's another one of the tracks from that LP by the London Punk Orchestra. It's got terrible reviews, which of course is only to be expected: interestingly enough, from kind of ex-punks who feel that their favourites of yesteryear are not being treated with enough respect. Which surely was what punk was all about in the first place.')
  • 16 March 1996: 'Teenage Kicks'
  • 23 March 1996 (BFBS): 'Teenage Kicks' (JP: 'I thought I'd lost this excellent LP....and I blamed our son actually, William, for not having filed it properly, 'cos we paid him to file my CDs last summer, you know, 'cos he was too lazy to get a holiday job, frankly, so we thought we might just as well employ him ourselves because he did virtually nothing all summer except sit in the room and listen to CDs, which is rather an agreeable way of spending the summer, I suppose.')

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