Urgh! A Music War

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Urgh! A Music War
Directed byDerek Burbidge
Produced byMichael White
Edited byJim Elderton
Distributed byFilmways (1981, original)
Warner Bros. (2009, DVD)
Release dates
  • 29 October 1981 (1981-10-29)
VHS/Betamax 1985 (CBS/Fox Video #7720)
(US home release)
Running time
122 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom

Urgh! A Music War is a 1981 British concert movie featuring performances by punk rock, new wave, and post-punk bands and artists.

Production[change | change source]

Filmed in August to September 1980 it was directed by Derek Burbidge and produced by Michael White and Lyndall Hobbs. Among the acts featured in the movie are Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD), Magazine, the Go-Go's, Toyah Willcox, the Cure, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, X, XTC, Devo, the Cramps, Oingo Boingo, Dead Kennedys, Gary Numan, Klaus Nomi, Wall of Voodoo, Pere Ubu, Steel Pulse, Surf Punks, 999, the Alley Cats, Alberto y Lost Trios Paranoias, John Otway, UB40, Echo & the Bunnymen and the Police. These were many of the most popular groups on the New Wave scene; in keeping with the spirit of the scene, the film also features several less famous acts. However, the artists featured in the movie didn't make it in the final cut, including Talking Heads, the Beat, Human League, Madness and the Specials.

Original release[change | change source]

Urgh! A Music War consists of a series of performances, without narration or explanatory text. All performances are live, recorded around 1980, mainly in London, Manchester, Melbourne, San Diego, Los Angeles, Santa Monica and New York. Clips were also taken from a concert in Fréjus, Var, France with the Police, XTC, Skafish, UB40 and Jools Holland.

In 1981, a year before release of the film, A&M Records released a double-album soundtrack. The selection of songs was almost the same as the movie. But there were a few minor changes and several acts featured in the film did not make it to the album (Dead Kennedys, John Cooper Clarke, Chelsea, Surf Punks, Invisible Sex, Splodgenessabounds, UB40).

Track listing[change | change source]

  1. Opening credits
  2. The Police – "Driven to Tears"
  3. Wall of Voodoo – "Back in Flesh"
  4. Toyah Willcox – "Danced"
  5. John Cooper Clarke – "Health Fanatic"
  6. Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark – "Enola Gay"
  7. Chelsea – "I'm on Fire"
  8. Oingo Boingo – "Ain't This the Life"
  9. Echo & the Bunnymen – "The Puppet"
  10. Jools Holland – "Foolish I Know"
  11. XTC – "Respectable Street"
  12. Klaus Nomi – "Total Eclipse"
  13. Athletico Spizz 80 – "Clocks Are Big; Machines Are Heavy/Where's Captain Kirk?"
  14. The Go-Go's – "We Got the Beat"
  15. Dead Kennedys – "Bleed for Me"
  16. Steel Pulse – "Ku Klux Klan"
  17. Gary Numan – "Down in the Park"
  18. Joan Jett and the Blackhearts – "Bad Reputation"
  19. Magazine – "Model Worker"
  20. Surf Punks – "My Beach"
  21. The Members – "Offshore Banking Business"
  22. Au Pairs – "Come Again"
  23. The Cramps – "Tear It Up"
  24. Invisible Sex – "Valium"
  25. Pere Ubu – "Birdies"
  26. Devo – "Uncontrollable Urge"
  27. The Alley Cats – "Nothing Means Nothing Anymore"
  28. Alberto y Lost Trios Paranoias – "My Feets Go Soul"
  29. Gang of Four – "He'd Send in the Army"
  30. 999 – "Homicide"
  31. The Cure – "Boys Don't Cry"
  32. X – "Beyond and Back"
  33. Skafish – "Sign of the Cross"
  34. Splodgenessabounds – "Two Little Boys"
  35. UB40 – "Madame Medusa"
  36. The Police – "Roxanne"
  37. The Police – "So Lonely"
  38. Klaus Nomi – "Aria" ("Mon cœur s'ouvre à ta voix" from Camille Saint-Saëns' opera Samson and Delilah) (End credits)

Other websites[change | change source]