10 great Cock Sparrer covers by Rancid, Dropkick Murphys, Bouncing Souls, Ted Leo & more

10 great Cock Sparrer covers by Rancid, Dropkick Murphys, Bouncing Souls, Ted Leo & morePublished: March 12, 2021Rancid & Dropkick Murphys (via Rancid IG)

BrooklynVegan has teamed with Cock Sparrer and Pirates Press Records on a new, limited green/red/clear/gold splatter vinyl variant of their 1982 punk classic 'Shock Troops.' Pre-order it here.

Earlier this week, we took a look back on Cock Sparrer's 1982 debut album Shock Troops, a stone cold classic of UK punk that remains timeless and influential today. Even if you're unfamiliar with it, you're probably familiar with some of the huge, beloved bands that this album influenced, many of whom have shown their love for this album by covering songs from it. We've collected 10 great covers of Shock Troops songs that do justice to the originals and are worthy recordings in their own right as well.

The Bouncing Souls (and Hot Water Music) – "We're Coming Back"

As we said in our retrospective review, Shock Troops was as filled with hooks as it was with rage, so it's no surprise that melodic punk kings The Bouncing Souls took a few notes from them. They covered one of Shock Troops' sweetest sounding songs, "We're Coming Back," for the second volume of Roger Miret and Onno Cro-Mag's The Worldwide Tribute to The Real Oi compilation, and if you didn't know any better, you'd mistake it for a Souls original.

Also: the quality sucks but The Bouncing Souls did this cover live with Hot Water Music and YouTube has proof.

Tim Timebomb (Rancid) and Friends – "Working"

When Rancid brought street punk to the American mainstream in the '90s, it was obvious that they were huge Cock Sparrer fans, so it only makes sense that Tim Armstrong would do justice to one of their classic songs. With his Tim Timebomb and Friends project, he put out a ska-infused cover of the Shock Troops classic "Working" (which works really well as a ska-punk song), and it's a treat to hear this song in Tim's unmistakable rasp. "Rancid had the honor of playing with Cock Sparrer in the UK during their 40th Anniversary," Tim wrote when he released this cover in 2013. "Everyone in Rancid considers these guys our brothers." (They also released a split 7" for the tour.) The "friends" on this cover are Interrupters members Aimee Interrupter, Justin Bivona, and Jesse Bivona.

Dropkick Murphys – "Working" & "Watch Your Back"

A few years after Rancid popularized UK-style street punk in America, Dropkick Murphys came along with a unique sound that owed as much to Cock Sparrer and other Oi!/street punk bands as it did to traditional Celtic folk. They've covered Cock Sparrer on multiple occasions, including gritty, revved-up takes on "Working" and "Watch Your Back," both of which you can find on the second volume of the band's compilation of "B-sides, covers, comps & other crap." While Tim Armstrong put a slightly lighter twist on "Working," Dropkick's versions of both of these songs sound even tougher than the originals.

Rancid & Dropkick Murphys – "Take 'Em All"

Not only did Tim and Dropkick Murphys cover Cock Sparrer separately, they also covered them on stage together at several stops of their 2017 co-headlining tour. Here's both bands together in Cleveland doing "Take 'Em All." Those gang vocals were built for something like this.

Agnostic Front – "Take 'Em All"

Here's another "Take 'Em All" cover from a NYHC band that both Rancid and Dropkick Murphys consider heroes and friends, Agnostic Front. This is from the first volume of The Worldwide Tribute to The Real Oi (which AF's own Roger Miret co-curated), and Roger's snotty bark is perfect for this.

Bonus: Roger Miret and the Disasters do a rippin' version of "England Belongs To Me" (retitled "New York Belongs To Me," naturally).

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists – "I Got Your Number"

Ahead of their 2010 album The Brutalist Bricks, Ted Leo and the Pharmacists put out the four-song, internet-exclusive Rapid Response EP with an early version of "Mourning In America" (which was later redone for The Brutalist Bricks) and covers of Amebix and Cock Sparrer. They took on "I Got Your Number," which — like "We're Coming Back" — is also one of the sweetest sounding songs on Shock Troops. That made it a great fit for Ted Leo, who's always had an underlying classic pop vibe in his punk songwriting. He really makes this one his own.

Swingin' Utters – "I Got Your Number"

Here's another take on "I Got Your Number," this one from Bay Area punk vets Swingin' Utters, whose version is a little faster and raspier than Ted Leo's. The song sounds great done like this as well, and Swingin' Utters version also has a video.

Vision – "Where Are They Now"

For the second volume of The Worldwide Tribute to The Real Oi, NJHC greats Vision (RIP Dave Franklin) took on Shock Troops' iconic opening song "Where Are They Now." They stay pretty faithful to the original, but Dave's more shouted delivery and Vision's chunkier East Coast hardcore style shake things up just the right amount.

Titus Andronicus – "Riot Squad"

The newest and most indie rock-friendly band on this list is Titus Andronicus, and it makes total sense that they'd be Cock Sparrer fans. The NJ band grew up on stuff like The Bouncing Souls and Rancid, and they'd eventually share a drummer with Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, and they've been sneaking real-deal punk rock into the indie rock scene for over a decade. Back in 2011, they did a live cover of "Riot Squad," and it's a real treat to hear this one with Patrick Stickles' shambolic roar. They also nail the "whoa-ohs."

Read our look back on Shock Troops here and pick up the the new splatter variant in the BrooklynVegan store.

Also available in the BV store is Tim Armstrong's former band Operation Ivy's Hectic EP on 12" vinyl.