The Ruts were an English reggae-influenced punk rock band, notable for the 1979 UK Top 10 hit "Babylon's Burning", and an earlier single "In a Rut", which was not a hit but was highly regarded and regularly played by BBC Radio 1 disc jockey, John Peel ... (read more at Wikipedia)

Links to Peel

Peel was hugely impressed with the group's debut single, "In A Rut" (released on the People Unite label of Misty In Roots), as the number of plays on the programme demonstrates. On 12 April 1979 he stated that it was for him the best single of the year so far. On the evening of 24 April 1979 he enjoyed an Indian meal with the band before presenting that night's programme (in which the band's debut session was repeated). Before the first airing of breakthrough 45 "Babylon's Burning", on 28 May 1979, the DJ proclaimed, "this is gonna knock you dead."

Peel played the first side of the group's debut LP "The Crack" on 26 September 1979. The second side was broadcast on 01 October 1979. On 29 October 1979, Peel gave their latest single 'Jah War' its first airing, commenting, "that's much more like it lads," saying he'd found their debut LP to be "slightly disappointing".

After the early death of Malcolm Owen, Peel repeated all of the band's three sessions on 22 July 1980 as a tribute to the singer. He was later to comment, "you'll never forget about Malcolm Owen as long as I've got a radio programme, if that's not an over-emotional thing to say." [1] The remaining members later recorded a session as Ruts DC and subsequent releases under that name were also played by Peel.

In a 2015 interview, Ruts bassist John "Segs" Jennings recalled:

"After John Peel raved about us we went from playing to a few people to having lines around the block. John really moved life forward for us, he was a champion of the outsider. He was a true guy, quite shy. Whenever he had to DJ on TV he had to really force himself to do that. He was a genuine guy who is really missed." [2]

Festive Fifty


Three sessions as the Ruts (plus one backing Laurel Aitken), two as Ruts DC (one of these with Zion Train). The first three were all repeated on 22 July 1980 as a tribute to Malcolm Owen. Tracks from the first three Peel sessions released on (CD The Peel Sessions Album), Strange Fruit.

1. First broadcast 29 January 1979. Repeated 20 February 1979, 24 April 1979, 01 January 1980, 22 July 1980

  • Savage Circle / Babylon's Burning / Dope For Guns / Black Man's Pinch / Criminal Mind

2.First broadcast 21 May 1979. Repeated 31 May 1979, 22 July 1980

  • Sus / Society / You're Just A... / It Was Cold / Something That I Said

3. First broadcast 18 February 1980. Repeated 18 March 1980, 21 April 1980, 22 July 1980, 30 December 1980

  • Staring At The Rude Boys / Demolition Dancing / In A Rut / Secret Soldiers

(With Laurel Aitken)

First broadcast 12 May 1980. Repeated 26 May 1980

  • Big Fat Man / Rock Me Baby/Caledonia / Rudi Got Married / Jessie James

(As Ruts DC)

4. First broadcast 10 March 1981. Repeated 02 April 1981

  • Different View / Parasites / Fools Lead The Fools / Mirror Smashed

(Ruts DC & Zion Train)

First broadcast 16 March 1996. Repeated 02 June 1996.

  • Teenage Dub / Suspect Dub / Bass Adds Growth / Waiting For The Dub

Featured in shows


See Also


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