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LISTENING IN: Having fun with The Monks

If you remember The Monks you’re probably Canadian, which is notable because the short-lived UK pop punk band (not to be confused with an early ‘60s German-based band of the same name) were only a hit in this country.

Comprised of three former members of Strawbs, The Monks were never accepted as a punk band in the UK and publicly derided by Johnny Rotten himself, perhaps because the Sex Pistols frontman was cheekily name-checked in their song “Johnny B. Rotten”:

“I’m something else in the clothes I wear, The papers quote me when I swear, It’s all a lie, but I don’t care… ¬Johnny B. Rotten tonight, You’d better hold that lid on tight…”

But for The Monks it was all in good fun and Canadians seemed to be in on the joke, unlike the audience in Britain, which deemed the band “inauthentic,” or Americans, who didn’t get the cockney lingo.

In 1979, their debut album “Bad Habits” hit it big in Canada, with the song “Drugs in My Pocket” peaking at No. 4 on the CHUM chart (“I’ve got drugs in my pocket and I don’t know what to do with them… I say its really crazy, they say it makes us sick, To me its all the same, cuz I’m just plain and thick.”

Another hit was the infectious, “hilarious” blind-date-gone-wrong ditty “Nice Legs Shame About Her Face,” which has raised the eyebrows of a few modern observers (but listen to the whole song for the redeeming fun twist at the end).

Such was the success of Bad Habits (double platinum in Canada) that The Monks released a follow-up, “Suspended Animation,” which was uniquely released only here in 1981, ultimately going gold. And in 2012, a version of the band even returned for a tribute concert at The Horseshoe club in Toronto.

Lead singer John Ford re-released “Nice Legs” as a solo effort in 2004, but we offer this energetic Top of the Pops performance of the band at its peak in 1979. Shame about their faces.


Met her on a blind date
Helping out an old mate
Waiting at the corner
She’d be dressed in black
There was I expecting a really tasty bird
He said she was good looking
I should I doubt his word
When I saw her there
She was a real disgrace
I thought nice legs shame about the face

I had to take her dancing
I couldn’t let her down
So we caught the bus
To the other side of town
Out upon the dance floor
I wasn’t getting far
So I had a drink with my friends
Up at the bar
I asked them what they thought of her
They fell about the place
And they said nice legs
Shame about her face

She said could we go bowling,
I said that would be fine
But when I bought the tickets
She’d already changed her mind
She was turning out
To be a real hard case
Nice legs shame about the boat race

Downed a gin and soda
Tapped me on the shoulder
Whispered in my ear
It’s getting kind of late
When I took her home
We hardly said a thing
I walked her to the door
Expected to go in
She looked me up and down
And really put me in my place
She said nice legs, shame about your face
Nice legs, shame about your face

First published at Travel Industry Today

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