Originally to be called The Doomed, The Damned formed in May of 1976 with Brian James (Real Name: Brian Robertson; ex-London S.S.; guitar) and Rat Scabies (Real Name: Chris Miller; ex-London S.S.; drums) who soon found Captain Sensible (Real Name: Ray Burns; bass/vocals) and former undertaker Dave Vanian (Real Name: Dave Letts; vocals). Signing to U.K. indie Stiff', they would release the classic track New Rose as their debut. Damned would subsequently become the first New Wave Punk act to chart with an album. Indeed their Damned Damned Damned album in 1977 became one of the all-time classic Punk debuts with a full platter worth of three-chord wonders. While their debut made U.K. 36, their sound would further be boosted later that same year when Lu Edmonds debuted on second guitar for their follow-up Music For Pleasure later that same year. But this new set was universally hated and Scabies left. Although both Dave Berk (ex-Johnny Moped) and then John Moss (future of Culture Club) were drafted briefly as replacements, the band split soon into the New Year.
After a brief period of solo work Vanian, Sensible and Scabies would re-form the Damned early in 1979 to release the Love Song single and obtaining a U.K. top 20. After several line-up attempts, Algy Ward completed the line-up to get a second hit with Smash It Up and their follow-up album Machine Gun Etiquette (1979) following that November. Somehow the band had obtained Pop dynamics and would now enter into their most successful time, starting with 1980s Untitled (Black Album) with Paul Gray replacing Ward. Featuring rampant experimentation the double set flew past the standard Punk regulations and got them a U.K. 29. Strawberries (1982) saw the back of Captain Sensible who left for a solo deal on A&M' being replaced by Roman Jugg, with Bryan Gunn stepping in for their live Live In Newcastle live release in 1983. Now their music was in its commercialized pseudo-Goth era filled with cover tunes and wanna-be rockers. Nonetheless it was a formula that seemed to work for the time for Phantasmagoria (1985) got them a solid U.K. 11. The follow-up Anything, the following year, got them only a U.K. 40 and slowly but surely the bright light that was the Damned dimmed as the 1980s come to a close, although reunion gigs with ever changing line-ups were common leaving some to say old Punks never die, they just tour with Damned.