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SPEED- Down the Road, b/w Man in the Street 7″ (Speed Records, UK, 1980)

Another scorcher from the NWOBHM. Before the glorious days of internet, SPEED were one of the most obscure outfits you could think of, with this 7″ being so incredibly hard to find, not even the singer knew of its existence.

And the singer was, as you most likely will know, Bruce Dickinson, formerly highly entertaining SAMSON. After Paul Di’Anno was sacked from IRON MAIDEN, Bruce Dickinson took over his job.
So how come this 7″ is (or was) so obscure? In 1997, Bruce explained the background of these takes in an interview:

“That’s [the SPEED songs, Admin] a studio recording from when I was still at college. The original SPEED had already formally disbanded by that time, but Noddy White asked me whether or not I’d come back and sing on this number, which he intended to record with a couple of his mates. So I agreed to help him out, and we even got as far as laying down a second track, a boogie number, the title of which I’ve forgotten [he means “down the Road”, Admin]. SPEED were, even back then, a kind of NWOBHM outfit, we played PRIEST and STRANGLERS songs alongside our own material and toured in and around London in the late 70s.”

And the PUNK thing you can definitely hear on “Man on the Street”, a smoking hot Metalpunkpopsmasher of the master league. The boogie number “Down the Road” reveals a lot of Pub Rock charme once it’s halfway through. Road and Street – sounds like this was some sort of a concept mini album about ways and stuff.

It’s unclear how many copies were made of this 7″, but the recording date was 1978 and not 1979 and it was released in 1980, when the whole NWOBHM went off like a pissbag under a bulldozer. Quantities must have been fairly low however. This 7″ was impossible to find, one of the unholiest grails of NWOBHM and it wasn’t until recently that stock copies began to show up on Ebay. Apparently an ex-member has found a box of singles under his bed.

Down the Road.mp3
Man in the Street.mp3

PS: If you have subscribed to Goodbadmusic, you will from now on receive a notification email as soon as a new blog posting has been published.It doesn’t work and I don’t know why.

26 Comments

  1. Frank Mossi

    Funny but I have never heard about this so far! Love Bruces voice, he is so unique. Extreme thanks!!!!!!

    [Reply]

    Posted on 14-Nov-08 at 10:04 | Permalink
  2. Na, this was pretty bad. Down the road sounded like a bad Status Quo song and the flip side had a bad hammond in the background and that was all I heard.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 15-Nov-08 at 00:56 | Permalink
  3. ::beatMe::

    it’s about that organ dude! great single especially man in the streets kicks ass and should be on “killed by death – the metal years!”

    [Reply]

    Posted on 15-Nov-08 at 03:11 | Permalink
  4. chano

    Too many metal . More hc/punk , please . 😉

    [Reply]

    Posted on 15-Nov-08 at 03:54 | Permalink
  5. Man in the Streets is totally brilliant! What a perfect combination of hard rock, punk and powerpoop. The hammond rules of course! Down the Road is total adult music ;).

    [Reply]

    Posted on 15-Nov-08 at 04:21 | Permalink
  6. There’s no such thing as bad hammond or too much metal 🙂

    Yeah Peter – totally adult, hahaha.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 15-Nov-08 at 04:55 | Permalink
  7. Simon

    Apparently some people listen to this and hear “metal” or “pub” or whatever. I listen to this and hear a couple of really good songs.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 15-Nov-08 at 07:18 | Permalink
  8. Jean F.

    U got such a weird taste Erich 🙂

    [Reply]

    Posted on 15-Nov-08 at 07:32 | Permalink
  9. Hypothesis: D-beat NWOBHM rules, OK.

    Methods: Listen to Speed “Man in the Street”, Satan “Heads Will Roll”, Angel Witch “Sweet Danger”, Diamond Head “Helpless.”

    Results: Hypothesis is supported by available evidence. Satan offers the most clear application of the d-beat. Other bands use some variation thereof due to songwriting prior to codification of drumbeat.

    Discussion: The coincidental use of the d-beat by NWOBHM acts increases their punk quotient. Research suggests higher levels of punk-metal crossover may have occurred and been accepted if both camps realized their best practitioners were using the same drumbeat.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 15-Nov-08 at 09:21 | Permalink
  10. hörsth

    usually, those collectors items bore me; loved this though; really getting into this swiss cheese thing, apparently

    [Reply]

    Posted on 15-Nov-08 at 20:28 | Permalink
  11. That’s a interesting hypothesis, Stuart. Never paid too much attention to the drum beats of NWOBHM band but it wouldn’t surprise me if it were as you said. Only idiots believe the two genres were strictly separated back then.

    Swiss cheese thing? 🙂

    [Reply]

    Posted on 16-Nov-08 at 03:37 | Permalink
  12. I’ve thought of this drum beat hypothesis too. I suppose the Lemmy/Damned friendship was also a big factor in the consolidation of the d-beat.
    The common drum beat definitely made this cross polination easy. I just wish the same had happened in the US between hardcore and polka though.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 16-Nov-08 at 05:52 | Permalink
  13. Fucker

    weird but this reminds me of BAD RELIGONS Hippie album :)) GREAT!!!!!!!

    [Reply]

    Posted on 16-Nov-08 at 17:42 | Permalink
  14. Brocas Crelm

    This is a great record, the organ almost gives it a 60s punk-via-early HM feel. Also, this is the third rip I’ve encountered of it and the best by far! Thanks.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 17-Nov-08 at 09:15 | Permalink
  15. Jay Thurston

    This is a great record. Thanks. I have always heard of this record, but never heard it.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 17-Nov-08 at 20:06 | Permalink
  16. e normous

    Yup, I love this one. Always wondered why this it’s only “Bruce was in this band” and never “this absolutely rocks!”

    [Reply]

    Posted on 18-Nov-08 at 11:11 | Permalink
  17. e normous

    forgot to add, you might want to check out Chainsaw’s Police and Politicians/Hole in the Road single. Has a fairly skippy/bouncy/punky vibe that reminds me of this Speed single, though much more out-and-out metal in style than Speed. It’s a really good one, both songs rock, and “Hole in the Road” has an absolutely ripping lead break.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 18-Nov-08 at 22:57 | Permalink
  18. e normous

    holy cow! this rip is absolutely miles better than the one I had.

    …and what the heck is it with the people who don’t like “Down the Road”? Nuts.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 21-Nov-08 at 12:23 | Permalink
  19. keeper

    please send me the lyrics for “down the road”
    I got something, but some words don’t makes sense send me to shadowzman@gmail.com
    This is as far as i can get:

    Down the road they’l give you an answer
    to everything that you want to know
    they won’t ignore, will dance and refuse you ?
    they know it’s only part of the show
    take you where they offer you confort
    while they buy whiskey some tea
    talk you until your mixed up and crazy
    then they hope you would agree

    living only for the right train
    giving knowing it’s the wrong way

    you should know, what ever the reason
    they are always gonna want you around
    thou, little care is just an illusion
    at least they got a beat of the gound

    gather up your friends and your neighbors
    put a cross on next to the mens
    don’t care if it’s next to the wrong
    you know afwul well that they are the same

    living only for the right train
    giving knowing it’s the wrong way

    Close your eyes
    can feel those lies
    creeping in your bones
    with your heart turn to stone
    they don’t care, they will flench your hand
    when your gone, they will cary on
    Ooooh they will cary on
    they will cary on

    [Reply]

    Posted on 07-Jan-09 at 06:01 | Permalink
  20. elliott

    love it! thanks so much! it’s amazing! i could tell who the singer was instantly. this rocks.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 21-Dec-09 at 02:25 | Permalink
  21. This is a true underdround gem from the NWOBHM explosion!
    For folks like me there’s no separation for Metal and Punk. I love NWOBHM but also 70’s+80’s Punk…the D-Beat comparision was cleverly put to table here and of course many bands like CHAINSAW or ARAGORN obviously had some musicians involved previously in the 70’s Punk scene.
    For the Punx: GOOD Metal is never enough METAL!

    Stay Loud and go listen to some Arc, Demon Pact, Black Axe, Xero, Bashful Alley, Discharge, Anti-Nowhere League, Abrasive Wheels, Slaughter and the Dogs, etc.!

    [Reply]

    Posted on 02-Jan-10 at 19:23 | Permalink
  22. Right on, FJ!!!!

    [Reply]

    Posted on 02-Jan-10 at 19:30 | Permalink
  23. Mike

    this is fantastic, thank you so much!

    [Reply]

    Posted on 14-Apr-11 at 15:22 | Permalink
  24. Nathan.G

    This is one of the best posts on the net ever!!!!

    [Reply]

    Posted on 16-Jul-11 at 08:14 | Permalink
  25. sam

    I have the oringal mastertape of this song and man on the street on 16 track tape where speed recorded the songs with bruce dikinson in great wakering(my dad was in this shit band) lol

    [Reply]

    Posted on 28-Apr-12 at 03:17 | Permalink
  26. Allan Manning

    I used to go to school with Speed guitarist Steve Adams and was a roadie for the band at the time when Bruce provided guest vocals for “Down the Road” Steve and I were 15 or 16 at the time. It was great fun playing the circuit back then but I was drunk 80% of the time and shit out with my school exams as a result.

    I recently bumped in to Steve after 30 years or so and it was good to catch up. Top bloke and excellent musician.

    Other notable Basildon bands at that time were; Anthem. I was best friends with the excellent drummer Paul Blackwell. Google Dave Arch…..What a guitarist.

    Next up and best of all Prowler. Big up! Trevor Patterson and the boys.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 25-Sep-15 at 10:26 | Permalink

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