Neat Neat Neat

Album: Damned Damned Damned (1977)
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Songfacts®:

  • This frenetic punk rocker was written by the group's guitarist, Brian James. The lyric makes reference to cops and guns ("No crime if there ain't no law"... "She can't afford no gun at all"), but James insisted his lyrics had no political inclinations. With that in mind, it's best to think of the lyric as a series of disjointed images meant to be sung at high speed.
  • The chorus is pronounced "Ni, Ni, Ni," as in the Monty Python Knights Who Say "Ni!" The Knights appeared in the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail, which was released in 1975.
  • This was the second single released by The Damned, following "New Rose," which became the first punk single by a British band when it was issued in October 1976. "Neat Neat Neat" was the opening track on their debut album, Damned Damned Damned.
  • The Damned had been playing this live for months by the time they recorded it. When they went in the studio, it was cramped quarters with little time or budget. In just three days, they cranked out the entire album.

    Instead of trying to enhance their sound with production flourishes and overdubs, they went for a live sound to capture their raw energy. Their producer, Nick Lowe, was the right man for the job. Nicknamed "Basher," he could git-r-done with no wasted time.

    In a Songfacts interview with Damned frontman David Vanian, he said: "Like everything at that point, it was a burst of pure energy and excitement. I think of all the albums, that first album - with 'Neat Neat Neat' and 'New Rose' - perfectly encapsulates what you would see when you came to see the band."
  • Elvis Costello covered "Neat Neat Neat," releasing it in 1978 as bonus single with some copies of his This Year's Model album.

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