Small Wonder.jpg

Small Wonder Records was a British independent record label owned and managed by Pete and Mari Stennett, that specialised in releasing records by punk rock and post-punk bands. It operated out of a record shop of the same name at 162 Hoe Street, Walthamstow, London. Artists to have released on the label include Bauhaus, Crass, The Cure, The Cravats, Patrik Fitzgerald, Cockney Rejects, The Carpettes, Poison Girls and Angelic Upstarts.

The shop and labels logo - as featured on its famous paper bags - was of an Edwardian/Victorian family in their finest clothes, the mother was white while the father and vicar were black. The baby in the picture was mixed race and according to Pete Stennett provided him with the inspiration for the name 'Small Wonder'.

The_Carpettes_-_Small_Wonder?_(UK_Punkrock_1978)

The Carpettes - Small Wonder? (UK Punkrock 1978)

The Carpettes named their follow-up single "Small Wonder" in the label's honour in 1978 with the cover of the record label slogan.

The shop/record label was also name-checked in The Clash's song "Hitsville UK" with the line 'when lightning hits SMALL WONDER, it's fast rough factory trade'.

Links to Peel

In a 2013 interview with the Music Like Dirt website, Pete Stennett mentioned Peel as an influence:

"The most important influence in the whole thing was John Peel, I’d listen to him every night. He was just back from America so he was playing all this new stuff. I was just taken aback by it… It was fascinating and that’s how I got into music. I actually went to his mews house in London once and painted his portrait. I phoned him up and said can I come round and paint your portrait? He said yeah ok, rang me and gave me his address. So off I went feeling ever so sort of cool because I had all my easel and stuff on the London Underground and I’m going to paint John Peels portrait! At the mews there were all these women around and they were drinking macrobiotic coffee, whatever the fuck that is! They kept stepping over me and they weren’t wearing any knickers, it was quite bizarre. Very surreal. For his 40th I went to a fancy dress do at ‘Nan True’s Hole’ (Peel Acres). Sheila his wife sent out 45rpm singles as invitations. You had to dress up as whatever the single was, and she sent me “Cupid”… Fuck! I had to dress up as Cupid so I turned up in this flarey shirt thing, regency type with this big arrow stuck in with blood all the way down. That was the best I could come up with! His kids were little then and they kept coming up saying is that arrow really stuck in you?" [1]

Also in the same interview he mentioned that Peel didn't like silly promotions and learnt not to do it again:

"We did try and do a silly promotion once with John Peel and it totally back fired. The Cravats had a track called ‘Off The Beach’ and I foolishly put the record in a plastic bag and then put sea shells and sand and all sorts of crap…rubber squids… and of course Peelie opened it and it all fell out. On that nights programme he said ‘I hate it when people use gimmicks like that’… and I thought ‘ohh whoops, better not do that again!’"

Following Peel's death, Stennett mentioned that music kind of lost interest with him:

"It all kind of stopped for me I think a lot to do with when Peel died. Even after everything he was still playing music I was interested in. When he was on Radio London with his ‘Perfumed Garden’, you could imagine him on this boat with sort of joss sticks going. He was constantly playing The Yardbirds and stuff from America, Country Joe and the Fish, Jefferson Airplane. Then when he got into the punk thing, genuinely like me we kind of went through it together in a way. When you went to his house and saw the collection of music… I mean he had this huge bathroom converted into this fucking great library of records. He was an icon." [2]

Sessions

Small Wonder artists who recorded Peel sessions. List includes sessions when the artists were not on Small Wonder

Festive Fifty

The list below covers Festive Fifty entries on Small Wonder; it does not include entries by Small Wonder artists on other labels.

Compilations

Peel plays of various artist (v/a) albums released on the Small Wonder label.

  • None

External Links

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.