The Best of Secret Records (1980-1983)

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The Best of Secret Records (1980-1983)

Secret were an English record label that began in 1979/1980 with a series of mostly forgotten new wave singles. In 1981, with the signing of THE EXPLOITED, Secret quickly - and, it turned out, briefly - established itself as one of the leading punk (UK82 and Oi!) labels. The catalogue of singles varies in quality with several classics, a few chart toppers too. The shorter list of albums is almost flawless. They also signed a young TWISTED SISTER.


  • The Exploited

    Dogs of War

    Dogs of War 1981

    THE EXPLOITED signed to Secret in March 1981 and released "Dogs of War" the next month. Being so soon after signing it was technically released by the band's The Exploited Record Company and "Marketed by Secret". Simple and raw, the single reached #2 in the Indie charts.

  • The Business


    Carry on Oi! 1981

    Secret took over the 'Oi!' compilation series after the press controversy surrounding the previous installment, Strength Thru Oi! (Decca). Secret also released the fourth and final (and weakest), Oi! Oi! That's Yer Lot!, in 1982.

  • The Exploited

    Class War

    Dead Cities (Single) 1981

    This of course was the single that got them an appearance on Top of the Pops (reaching 31 in the pop charts), but this is the second song on the AA side.

  • The 4-Skins


    The Good, The Bad & The 4-Skins 1982

    From the studio side of their debut LP, which might be the greatest single side of any Oi! 12". All the elements, distilled and executed to perfection.

  • The Business

    Harry May b/w National Insurance Blacklist (Be a Rebel and You'll Always Be Wrong)

    Harry May (Single) 1981

    The debut single by Lewisham's finest. "Harry May" remained a favourite and one of their best known songs until the end.

    Harry May is a well-known south London celebrity and 'Robin Hood', in no way a villan, contrary to rumours spread by the Metropolitan Police.

    The Business interview, New Mania #5, 1981

    The b-side is equally great, a song that talks about the effects of organisations like the Economic League well before the press started to investigate their activities in the late 80s. "National Insurance Blacklist" was later adapted into "The Employers Blacklist", a much more aggressive song and one of the best on their debut album.

    It's about a blacklist for extreme trade unionists and rebels that cause a lot of greif for the government. They take the National Insurance number and when they go for another job, it cuts their chances down.

    The Business interview, New Mania #5, 1981
  • Chron-Gen


    Chronic Generation 1982

    CHRON-GEN had already made a name for themselves before signing to Secret; their 1981 single "Reality" spent weeks in the Indie charts, reaching #2. Their first release on Secret was a cover of "Jet Boy, Jet Girl" and also spent several weeks in the Indie chart. Their Secret album, Chronic Generation, is patchy and includes both of those songs.

  • The 4-Skins

    Bread or Blood

    Low Life 1982

    4-SKINS's last release on Secret. Heavier and darker than the LP. The b-side, "Bread or Blood", referencing the 1816 labour riots, is one of the best of their lesser known songs.

  • The Exploited


    Troops of Tomorrow 1982

    Secret did release EXPLOITED's debut LP but the improved production, especially the new guitar tone, sets ToT apart. The best songs highlight a MOTÖRHEAD influence, and ToT in turn will go on to influence bands like BATHORY.

  • Infa Riot

    Each Dawn I Die

    Still Out of Order 1982

    Great song, probably the highlight of the album, also included on the Carry On Oi!! compilation.

  • The Business

    Suburban Rebels

    Suburban Rebels 1983

    One of the best songs from their best album, released shortly before Secret went out of business. The lyrics were written by poet Garry Johnson. His readings open both the Strength Thru Oi! and Carry on Oi!! LPs.

  • The 4-Skins

    Chaos (Live)

    The Good, The Bad & The 4-Skins 1982

    Already mentioned the album, but worth repeating for side B - the Live side. Powerful recording of a song which originally appeared on the first Oi! compilation LP in 1980.

The Best of Secret Records (1980-1983)
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