I recently watched Punk Britannia at the BBC, an hour of performances (some live, some Top of the Pops...) from some great bands who were around at the back end of the 1970s...
Arguably the highlight was The Clash with a brilliant live version of Clash City Rockers from a show called Something Else, but there was one track in particular that I hadn’t heard in years that took me right back to my teenage years...
On 17th January 1977, Gary Gilmore was executed by firing squad, after having been sentenced to death for the murder of motel manager Bennie Bushnell in Provo, Utah. Gilmore had also fatally shot Max Jensen the previous day, but this killing never went to trial due to the absence of eye witnesses.
Gilmore was insistent that his sentence be carried out and tried to take his own life when a stay of execution was granted against his wishes. His last words are supposedly “Let’s do it...” and five police marksmen duly ended Gilmore’s life.
Notwithstanding his crimes, Gilmore’s lasting notoriety probably stems from the fact that his eyes (along with other organs) be donated for transplant following his death. Within hours of the execution, Gilmore’s corneas were received by two patients and the fact that these two people were now looking through the eyes of a convicted killer would be immortalised in the song Gary Gilmore’s Eyes by a punk band called The Adverts.
The picture at the top of the page is of bassist Gaye Advert (Gaye Black) – I thought this would be preferable to a photo of Gilmore himself and whether you fancy a trip down memory lane, or want to hear the song for the first time, I’ve attached a link to a clip from Top of the Pops 2 (with apologies for Steve Wright’s intervention...).
“Gary and his eyes have now parted company...”
All my own work... almost.