The Cramps  

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"The Cramps's sound was heavily influenced by Sun Records rockabilly and proto-rock'n'roll like Link Wray and Hasil Adkins, 1960s surf music acts such as The Ventures and Dick Dale, 1960s garage rock artists like The Standells, The Gants, The Trashmen, Green Fuz and The Sonics, as well as the post-glam/early punk scene from which they emerged. Production-wise they were influenced by Alex Chilton. Their influences and/or the songs they covered were compiled in the Born Bad series."--Sholem Stein

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

The Cramps were an American band, formed in 1976 and active until 2009, best-known for their song "Human Fly" (1978).

They were part of the early CBGB punk rock movement that had emerged in New York. The Cramps were one of the first punk bands, and also widely recognized as one of the prime innovators of psychobilly.



Their music is mostly in rockabilly form, played at varying tempos, with a minimal drumkit. An integral part of the early Cramps sound was dual guitars, without a bassist. The focus of their songs' lyrical content and their image was camp humor, sexual double-entendre, and retro horror/sci-fi b-movie iconography.

Their sound was heavily influenced by early rockabilly, rhythm and blues, and rock and roll like Link Wray and Hasil Adkins, 1960s surf music acts such as the Ventures and Dick Dale, 1960s garage rock artists like the Standells, the Trashmen, the Green Fuz and the Sonics, as well as the post-glam/early punk scene from which they emerged, as well as citing Ricky Nelson as being an influence during numerous interviews. They also were influenced to a degree by the Ramones and Screamin' Jay Hawkins, who were an influence for their style of theatrical horror-blues.

Despite being a Blues band by concept according to Ivy, the Cramps have influenced countless subsequent bands in the garage, punk and revival rockabilly styles, and helped create the psychobilly genre. "Psychobilly" was a term coined by the Cramps, although Lux Interior maintained that the term did not describe their own style.

Influential to

In turn, they have strongly influenced subsequent punk and rockabilly revival bands, even creating a genre in their wake. "Psychobilly," a style played by bands like The Meteors and the Sharks, is a term coined by the Cramps, although Lux Interior maintains that the term does not describe their own style. The Cramps also influenced or anticipated acts like The White Stripes, The Gun Club, The Fuzztones, James Chance and the Contortions and The Birthday Party.

It is debatable that the Cramps coined the phrase psychobilly. It is perhaps mentioned for the first time in Johnny Cash's song "One Piece at a Time," released in 1976.


Albums and EPs

Album Title Year Record Label UK Chart UK Indie US Chart
Gravest Hits EP 1979 Illegal Records/I.R.S. Records
  • Released: June 1979
  • Catalogue number: ILS 12013
<center>- <center>-
Songs The Lord Taught Us 1980 Illegal Records
  • Released: March 1980
  • Catalogue number: ILP 005
<center>- <center>1 <center>-
Psychedelic Jungle 1981 I.R.S. Records
  • Released: April 1981
  • Catalogue number: IRS SP 70016
<center>- <center>- <center>-
Smell of Female 1983 Big Beat Records
  • Released November 1983
  • Catalogue number NED 6
<center>74 <center>4 <center>-
...Off The Bone 1983 Illegal Records
  • Released: May 1983
  • Catalogue number: ILP 012
<center>44 <center>- <center>-
Bad Music for Bad People 1984 I.R.S. Records
  • Released: 1984
  • Catalogue number: IRS SP 70042
<center>- <center>- <center>-
A Date With Elvis 1986 Big Beat Records
  • Released: February 1986
  • Catalogue number: WIKA 46
<center>34 <center>1 <center>-
Rockin n Reelin in Auckland New Zealand 1987 Vengeance Records
  • Released: September 1987
  • Catalogue number: Vengeance 669
<center>- <center>4 <center>-
Stay Sick 1990 Enigma Records
  • Released: February 1990
  • Catalogue number: ENVLP 1001
<center>62 <center>- <center>-
Look Mom, No Head! 1991 Big Beat Records
  • Released: 1991
  • Catalogue number: PDWIKD 101
<center>- <center>- <center>-
Flame Job 1994 Creation Records
  • Released 1994
  • Catalogue number: CRECD 170
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Big Beat From Badsville 1997 Epitaph
  • Released: 1997
  • Catalogue number: 86516-2
<center>- <center>- <center>-
Fiends of Dope Island 2003 Vengeance Records
  • Released 2003
  • Catalogue number Vengeance 675
<center>- <center>- <center>-
How to Make a Monster 2004 Vengeance Records <center>- <center>- <center>-


Year Title Chart positions Album
Billboard Hot 100 US Modern Rock US Mainstream Rock UK Singles Chart
1978 "Surfin Bird" / "The Way I Walk" (US)
  • Vengeance 666
            Gravest Hits
"Human Fly" / "Domino" (US)
  • Vengeance 668
1980 "Fever" / "Garbageman" (UK)
  • ILS 0017
Songs The Lord Taught Us
"Garbageman" / "TV Set" (Fr)
  • CBS 8401
"Garbageman" / "Drug Train" (US)
  • IR 9014
"Drug Train" / "love Me" "I Can't Hardly Stand It"
  • ILS 021
Off The Bone
1981 "Goo Goo Muck" / "She Said"
  • IR 9021
Psychedelic Jungle
"The Crusher" / "Save it" "New Kind of Kick"
  • PFSX 1008
1984 "Faster Pussycat" / "You Got Good Taste"
  • New28
Smell of Female
"I Ain't Nuthin' But a Gorehound" / "Weekend on Mars"
  • NEW33
1985 "Can Your Pussy Do the Dog?" / "Blue Moon Baby"
  • NS 110
#68 A Date With Elvis
1986 "What's Inside a Girl?" / "Give Me A Woman"
  • NS 115
"Kizmiaz" / "Give Me A Woman"
  • NEW 71
"Get Off The Road" (Sweden)   
1989 "Bikini Girls With Machine Guns" / "Jackyard Backoff"
  • Enigma
#10 #35 Stay Sick!
"All Women Are Bad" /"Teenage Rage"
  • ENV 19
"The Creature From the Black Leather Lagoon" / "jailhouse Rock"
  • Enigma
1991 "Eyeball In My Martini" / "Wilder Wilder Faster Faster"
  • NS 135
Look Mom, No Head!
1994 "Lets Get Fucked Up" / "How Come You Do Me"
  • 7-1804 5
      Flame Job
"Ultra Twist" "Confessions of a Psycho Cat"
  • CRE 180
1995 "Naked Girll Falling Down the Stairs" "Lets Get Fucked Up"
  • CRE 196
2003 "Like A Bad Girl Should" / "I Walked All Night"
  • LC 256
      Big Beat From Badsville
"Big Black Witchcraft Rock" / "Butcher Pete"
  • Vengeance 676
Fiends of Dope Island


  • Human Fly (1978)
  • Garbageman (1979)
  • Urgh! A Music War (1982)
  • Bikini Girls With Machine Guns (1990)
  • Creature From the Black Leather Lagoon (1990)
  • Ultra Twist (1994)
  • Naked Girl Falling Down the Stairs (1994)
  • Like a Bad Girl Should (1997)

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "The Cramps" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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