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The Saints are an Australian rock band, formed in Brisbanemarker in 1974. They are considered to be one of the first and most influential punk groups. By 1975, contemporaneous with the Ramones, The Saints were employing the fast tempos, raucous vocals and "buzzsaw" guitar that characterised early punk rock. With their first single " Stranded", in late 1976, they released a record ahead of better-known punk acts like the Sex Pistols and The Clash. Bob Geldof has been quoted as saying, "Rock music in the Seventies was changed by three bands — the Sex Pistols, the Ramones and The Saints".


1974 - 1976: Formative years

The original members of the band were schoolmates Chris Bailey (singer-songwriter, later a guitarist); Ed Kuepper (guitarist-songwriter); and Ivor Hay (drummer). Their musical inspiration came from sources as diverse as 1950s rock 'n' roll such as Little Richard and Elvis Presley (an early incarnation of the group was called Kid Galahad and the Eternals) and 1960s proto-punk bands like The Stooges and MC5.

1976 - 1977: (I'm) Stranded

In September 1976, with bass player Kym Bradshaw, The Saints independently recorded and distributed copies of their debut single " Stranded". In the UK, Sounds magazine declared it "Single of this and every week", and the band was signed to a three-album contract with EMI.Later the same year they recorded their first LP, released in February 1977, also called Stranded.

In mid-1977 the Brisbane punk rock band moved to the UK, where it became apparent that they and their label had different ideas as to how they should be marketed. EMI planned to sell The Saints as if they were a typical English punk band, complete with ripped clothes and spiky hair. The Saints insisted on maintaining a more downbeat image. Nevetheless one single, "This Perfect Day", showed potential of a commercial breakthrough when it made #34 in the UK; further movement up the charts was frustrated by EMI's failure to press enough copies of the record to satisfy demand.

1977 - 1978: Eternally Yours and Prehistoric Sounds

Later in 1977, with bass player Alisdair "Algy" Ward, The Saints recorded a second album, Eternally Yours. This showed the band moving towards a more R&B style of rock, including a brass section (very reminiscent of Kuepper's subsequent band The Laughing Clowns) on songs like "Know Your Product".

Another track on the album, "Private Affair", focussed on what the band members saw as the pigeon-holing, hype and commercialisation of punk:

And now you think that you got a first in fashion
New uniforms we all look the same
A new vogue for the now generation
A new profit in the same old game

We got new thoughts, new ideas it's all so groovy
It's just a shame that we've all seen the same old movies

The Saints continued their musical development with the jazz-blues influenced LP Prehistoric Sounds in 1978; some critics see the 'jazz-punk' sound of Kuepper's next band, The Laughing Clowns, germinating on this record. Its commercial failure led to EMI dropping the band.

1979: The Departure of Hay, Kuepper and Ward

Amidst the stew of frustrated talent and pressure cooker attention, relations between Kuepper and Bailey deteriorated beyond repair. Kuepper, Hay and Ward left the band soon afterwards and Kuepper began pursuing a more avant-garde direction with The Laughing Clowns. He continues to be one of Australia's most influential and highly regarded musicians with over twenty solo albums to his credit.

Bailey continued to use the name of The Saints with a variety other musicians including, briefly, Ivor Hay; in 1984 Kuepper was about to rejoin for a tour but in the end pulled out.

1980 to present day: The Ongoing Adventures Of The Saints

1980 - 1985

Bailey's first release after Kueppers departure was the live EP Paralytic Tonight, Dublin Tomorrow. This was followed by the Bailey led band's first full length The Monkey Puzzle in 1981. On Monkey Puzzle The Saints moved away form the abrasive punk and the R&B driven sound of the earlier three albums to a more melodic pop-rock sound. This was followed in 1982 by Out in the Jungle...which in Australia was retitled Casablancamarker.

In 1984, the band released A Little Madness to Be Free which contained one of the band most popular tracks: Ghost Ships.

1987 - 1989: The Ship Sails On

The band eventually achieved a commercial breakthrough with All Fools Day in 1987 (see 1987 in music), which sold moderately well across most of the world, as did the follow-up, Prodigal Son. In 1989 The Saints had a top 40 hit with a cover of The Easybeats song "The Music Goes Round My Head" for the Young Einstein soundtrack.

1990 - 2006: Soap Opera

During the 1990s Chris Bailey released a few solo albums, amongst others 54 Days at Sea, which displayed a melodic and melancholic side mixed with South American influences. In 1997 came a new Saints album, Howling, a grungy low-fi recording. Spit the Blues Out in 2001 paid tribute to Bailey's blues roots. Bailey's old friend Patrick Mathé, of French label New Rose, played harmonica on the album.

Kuepper's riposte to Bailey's ongoing use of the name was to call one of his own bands The Aints. Later, Bailey and Kuepper buried the hatchet and, in September 2001, the original line-up came together for a one-off reunion when they were inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame.

Bailey and the current incarnation of The Saints released a new album in 2006, Imperious Delirium, undertaking a European tour to promote it. They will continue to tour America in the summer and autumn of 2007.

2007 - 2009: Reunion Concerts

On 14 July 2007, Chris Bailey, Ed Kuepper and Ivor Hay re-united for a one-off gig as part of the 'Pig City: Queensland Music Festival'. Caspar Wijnberg, who is in current line up of The Saints, played bass.

However this was not to be the last time the trio would reunite. As part of the All Tomorrows Parties touring festival (which was this time curated by Nick Cave), The Saints (this time with long time Saint bassist "Archie" Larizza) played shows in Brisbane, Sydney and Mt.marker Bullermarker in Victoria. This was followed by a Melbourne show on the 14th of January as part of the 'Don't Look Back' sideshow concerts, where the band performed the "I'm Stranded" album in its entirety.


Studio albums

Live albums

  • Live in Mud Hut ... Somewhere in Europe (1985)
  • The Most Primitive Band in the World (Live from the Twilight Zone, Brisbane 1974) (1995)

Compilation albums

  • Best of the Saints (1986)
  • Scarce (1989)
  • The New Rose Years (1989)
  • Songs of Salvation 1976-1988 (1991)
  • Permanent Revolution (1991)
  • Know Your Product - The Best of... (1996)
  • 7799: Big Hits on the Underground (1999)
  • Wild About You (2001)
  • All Times Though Paradise (4-disc box set) (2005) Collection of the original band's first three albums including two complete live performances and numerous out-takes; remastered by Don Bartley with Ed Kuepper (EMI Australia)
  • The Greatest Cowboy Movie Never Made (2006) (4-disc box set) Disc 1 - The Monkey Puzzle, Disc 2 - Out in the Jungle, Disc 3 - A Little Madness to be Free, Disc 4 - A Gallon of Rum Is a Harsh Mistress in the Morning After, Live in Oz. The compilation features albums from the early 1980s, after The Saints' punk phase. The "lost" EP Paralytic Tonight Dublin Tomorrow appears on Disc 1. "Live in Oz" is previously un-released and features a concert from 1981. (Cadiz)


  • " Stranded" / "No Time" (Fatal MA-7186 (Australia); Power Exchange PX-242 (UK); Sire 1005) (USA)) (1976)
  • "Erotic Neurotic" / "One Way Street" (EMI Harvest SHAR-5123 (UK)) (1977)
  • "This Perfect Day" / "L-I-E-S" (EMI Harvest SHAR-5130; also as 12" with bonus track "Do the Robot" HAR-5130 (UK)) (1977)
  • "Lipstick on Your Collar" / "River Deep - Mountain High" (EMI 1C 006-82416 (UK)) (1977)
  • "Know Your Product" / "Run Down" (EMI Harvest 11673 (UK)) (1978)
  • "Security" / "All Times Through Paradise" (EMI Harvest SHAR-5166 (UK)) (1978)
  • "Always" / "In the Mirror" (New Rose NEW-3 (France); Larrikin RISS-003 (Australia)) (1980)
  • "Let's Pretend" / "Gypsy Woman" (Lost Rec 13093 (Australia)) (1981)
  • "Follow the Leader" / "Animal" (Flicknife FLS-215) (1982)
  • "Ghost Ships" / "Wrapped Up and Blue" (New Rose NEW-37 (France)) (1984)
  • "Imagination" / "The Prisoner" (live) (New Rose NEW-43 (France)) (1984)
  • "Just Like Fire Would" / "Storm" (Mushroom (Australia)) (1986)
  • "(You Can't Tamper with) the Temple of the Lord" / "East is East" (Mushroom K-21 (Australia)) (1986)
  • "See You in Paradise" / "Casablanca" (Mushroom (Australia)) (1986)
  • "The Music Goes Round My Head"/ "Tomorrow" (K694 Mushroom (Australia)) (1988)
  • "Stay"/ "Idiot Blues" (K-559 Mushroom (Australia)) (1988)


  • "(I'm) Stranded" / "No Time" // B-side by Stanley Frank (split promo EP; Power Exchange (UK)) (1977)
  • One Two Three Four (1977)
  • Paralytic Tonight, Dublin Tomorrow (1979)
  • "Ghost Ships" / "Wrapped Up and Blue" // "Angels" / "Roses" (12" EP; New Rose (France)) (1984)
  • "See You In Paradise"/"In The Mirror" // "Casablanca" / "Curtains" (12" EP X14336 Mushroom (Australia) (1986)
  • Cheap Erotica (1993)


Year Title Chart positions Album
US Hot 100 US Modern Rock US Mainstream Rock UK Singles Chart
1977 "This Perfect Day" - - - 34 Eternally Yours
1989 "Grain of Sand" - 11 - - Prodigal Son
"Music Goes Round My Head" - 19 - -


  1. Glenn A. Baker. (I'm) Stranded CD liner notes
  2. Triple J - J Files Page
  3. Andrew Stafford (2004, 2006). Pig City: From The Saints to Savage Garden: pp.57-76
  4. "Laughing Clowns - Cruel but Fair" (Timeoff Magazine, Brisbane, November 2005) cited at The Kuepper Files on 25 November 2006
  5. "Old Friends, Old Feuds - and, Finally, a Point" (The Sunday Age, Melbourne, 16 September 2001) cited at The Kuepper Files on 25 November 2006
  6. Matt Connors, "Historic rock'n'roll revival" (The Courier Mail, 16 July 2007) cited on 16 July 2007
  7. [1]

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