Holly & The Italians: The Right To Be Italian (1981)

Here's a fun little new wave-era gem that never really got its due. Think Joan Jett and the Go-Go's: crunchy Ramones-derived guitars, a bit of 60s girl-group style, a lot of lighthearted power pop. It's a thoroughly fun if inessential affair, and while you can hear the album's influence on later bands like Katrina & The Waves and the Darling Buds and Transvision Vamp, it's unfortunately largely relegated to the outskirts of early 80s nostalgia.

Holly Beth Vincent and her band started out in L.A. but migrated to London (she was seeing Dire Straits' Mark Knopfler at the time). They had a moderate hit in 1979 with "Tell That Girl To Shut Up," one of those absolutely perfect singles of the era (later covered by Transvision Vamp); but the LP apparently took a long time to complete, by which time (despite gigs opening for the Ramones and the Clash) the band had run its course.

The album, highlighted by the inclusion of "Shut Up," is chock full of songs built more for party mixtapes and jukeboxes than for enduring relevance -- which isn't a bad thing. Opener "I Wanna Go Home" has one of those fist-pumping shout-along choruses, pure Ramones/Jett energy; "Youth Coup" mines the same territory; "Miles Away" is slower and more textured, a ballad that feels ready-made for the soundtrack of an early 80s teen movie.

The album doesn't stream (the single aside) and may be out of print, but it's a worthy souvenir from that initial new wave/power pop skinny tie era. You can listen to the entire album over on YouTube.

Here's an audio rip for "Tell That Girl To Shut Up":
Here's the (blurry) video for "Miles Away":
Here's a live performance of "Youth Coup" and "Rock Against Romance."


  1. Humanfund here.
    Not bad!
    Hear a little Patti Smith in there.


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