Captain Sensible
Get Captain Sensible essential facts below. View Videos or join the Captain Sensible discussion. Add Captain Sensible to your topic list for future reference or share this resource on social media.
Captain Sensible

Captain Sensible
Captain Sensible, performing live with the Damned in 2006
Captain Sensible, performing live with the Damned in 2006
Background information
Raymond Ian Burns[1]
Captain Sensible
Born (1954-04-24) 24 April 1954 (age 66)[2]
OriginBalham, London
Musician, songwriter
InstrumentsGuitar, bass, organ, vocals

Raymond Ian Burns (born 24 April 1954), known by the stage name Captain Sensible, is an English singer, songwriter and guitarist, best known as a founding member of punk rock band the Damned.

Sensible co-founded the punk rock band the Damned, originally playing bass before switching to guitar. He embarked on a solo career during the 1980s, following a UK number one hit with his cover of "Happy Talk".

Sensible's distinctive appearance includes a red beret and sunglasses, typically with white frames.

Early life

Sensible was born in Balham, London, in 1954.[2] He went to Stanley Technical School for Boys in South Norwood, Croydon. The first musical instrument he played was a Bontempi organ. Growing up, he listened to Brian Auger, Syd Barrett, Small Faces, Egg, Stray, Soft Machine and the Groundhogs.[6]

The Damned

Originally a member of the Johnny Moped band, Sensible joined the Damned in 1976 on the suggestion of his colleague Rat Scabies, the band's drummer, filling a number of positions during his tenure (including bassist, lead guitarist and keyboardist), and eventually becoming the band's main songwriter following the departure of Brian James. He left in the 1980s to concentrate on solo projects, but rejoined in 1996 after Scabies left, and co-wrote Grave Disorder, the band's first new studio album for 8 years, in 2001. He continues to tour and record with the band.[7][8]

Solo career

Sensible's first solo release came in 1978 with the single "Jet Boy, Jet Girl", recorded while the Damned were on hiatus.[9] He followed this in 1981 with the This is Your Captain Speaking EP on Crass Records.[9] He signed to A&M Records and had a UK number one hit in 1982 with a cover of "Happy Talk", the Rodgers and Hammerstein song from South Pacific, featuring backing by Dolly Mixture and a band including Robyn Hitchcock on guitar.[9] This was later sampled for rap artist Dizzee Rascal's 2004 song "Dream".[10] Other songs which became hits in the UK and various European countries were "Wot", "One Christmas Catalogue" and anti-Falklands War "Glad It's All Over", which was co-written and produced by Tony Mansfield. After quitting A&M Records he continued recording for various independent labels, including Deltic Records and Humbug Records. He has also toured with his solo band Punk Floyd.

His recording of "The Snooker Song" from Mike Batt's musical The Hunting of the Snark was used as the theme music for the BBC gameshow Big Break, and he also wrote and performed a song called "Brain's Theme" for the movie Skinned Deep in 2004.

Playing live in Abergavenny in 1994

Captain Sensible is also a member of Dead Men Walking, a supergroup featuring Mike Peters (The Alarm), Kirk Brandon (Spear of Destiny) and Slim Jim Phantom (Stray Cats),[11] and The Sensible Gray Cells with former Damned mate Paul Gray.

On 25 June 2019, The New York Times Magazine listed Captain Sensible among hundreds of artists whose material was reportedly destroyed in the 2008 Universal fire.[12]


"I always wanted to put a brick through the TV when I saw Blair pop his head up. It's quite easy to write lyrics when politicians are so corrupt. I had to start my own political party I was so angry. I called it the Blah Party. It was 50 per cent joke, 50 per cent serious but was my way of dealing with it."

Burns in November 2008[13]

In September 2006, he formed a new British political party known as the Blah! Party,[14] saying, "We believe that voting is an important part of the democratic process, and we want the Blah! Party to be the party of protest, a channel through which the people of the U.K. can vent their dissatisfaction at nonsensical everyday things, and protest against the government and the current crop of political parties."[15] The party was largely modelled on the principle of direct democracy, with suggestions being made by anyone on the party website. These suggestions would then be voted on by the membership, resulting in a "rolling manifesto."[16][17] The party was launched on 24 September 2006 at a conference in Manchester.[18] Initial policies included stopping "chav culture and the idolisation of airhead celebrities like the Beckhams, Paris Hilton and Jade Goody", alongside more serious policies of opposing the Iraq War and ID cards, instead spending money on public transport, hospitals and renewable energy.[17]

The party entered into a sponsorship deal with Seabrook Crisps in September 2006, with the party logo and details on joining for free printed on their packets.[18][19] The party also received non-financial support from PR company Propaganda. The party received £168,309 in the last quarter of 2006.[20] The party was debt-free in 2008, with a membership of 8,544, up from 5,000 in 2007.[21]

The first candidate was Carl Finlan, who stood in the 2007 local elections in Thornton and Allerton ward, Bradford.[22] He gained 69 votes (1.6%).[23] Deputy leader Melodie Staniforth stood in the Holme Valley North ward of Kirklees as 'Boney Maroney' in 2008.[24] She gained 38 votes (0.68%).[25] She resigned shortly afterwards.[26]

On 11 September 2007, Propaganda (the PR company responsible for the founding of the party) stepped down from the running of the party and handed total control to Captain Sensible, former Official Monster Raving Loony Party deputy leader Melodie Staniforth, Robert Staniforth, Sadie Ingoldby, Shaun Nightingale and Gary Spate.[26] In December 2008, Propaganda closed the website. The party ended its association with Propaganda and Seabrook, launching a new website. At the same time it de-registered from the register of political parties, deciding to instead be a protest group.[26]

Personal life

Captain Sensible was once married to Rachel Bor of Dolly Mixture.[27] Sensible and Bor have three children together.[27] He later remarried and now has four children.[27][28]

Burns adopted his stage name Captain Sensible ironically because he used to be a "debauched maniac" who had fun "regardless of the consequences."[29] However, after living at Dial House (the commune where the anarcho-punk band Crass lived) for a week to record an EP in 1981, his life changed and he became a vegetarian who adhered to Crass' pacifist and creative aims.[29][30] Sensible has written several songs about animal rights, including "Torture Me" and most notably the 1985 single "Wot! No Meat?".[31][32]

Solo discography



  • Sensible Singles (1984), A&M
  • A Day in the Life of ... (1984), A&M
  • A Slice of Captain Sensible (1997), Humbug
  • The Captain's Box (1997), Humbug - [contains A Slice of Captain Sensible and Meathead]
  • Sensible Lifestyles: The Best of Captain Sensible (1997), Cleopatra
  • The Masters (1998), Eagle [reissue of Mad Cows and Englishmen, including bonus tracks]
  • The Collection (2003), Spectrum Music



  • "Jet Boy, Jet Girl" (1978), Poker (Netherlands) - credited to 'Captain Sensible and the Softies' [also appeared as the B-side to the Damned's "Wait for the Blackout"]
  • "Hey Jo" (1982), Pax - [split promo single with Dead Kennedys, Infa Riot and Flux of Pink Indians titled "Extracts from Wargasm"]
  • "Happy Talk" (1982), A&M - UK No. 1[34] AUS No. 35[35]
  • "Wot" (1982), A&M - UK No. 26,[34] AUS No. 30[35]
  • "Croydon" (1982), A&M
  • "Stop the World" (1983), A&M - UK No. 82
  • "I'm a Spider" (1983), A&M
  • "Glad It's All Over" (1984), A&M - UK No. 6[34]
  • "There Are More Snakes than Ladders" (1984), A&M - UK No. 57[34]
  • "One Christmas Catalogue" (1984), A&M - UK No. 79
  • "Wot, No Meat?" (1985), Animus - credited to 'Captain Sensible & the Missus' (duet with Rachel Bor of Dolly Mixture)
  • "Come on Down" (1985), A&M
  • "Revolution Now" (1987), A&M
  • "The Snooker Song" (1988), Trax
  • "The Toys Take Over" (1988), Deltic
  • "I Get So Excited" (1988), Deltic
  • "Smash It Up (part 4)" (1990), Deltic - [B-side of the 12" version is by the Brotherhood of Lizards]
  • "Holiday in My Heart" (1993), Humbug
  • "Wot '93" (1993), XYZ
  • "The Hokey Cokey" (1994), Humbug - UK No. 71[34]
  • "Flip Top World" (1995), Humbug
  • "While Wrecking the Car" (1997), Empty
  • "Cigarette Sandy" (1998), Musical Tragedies - [split single with the Real People]
  • "Missing the Boat" (1999), Jarmusic
  • "Wot - I Say Captain" with Erkan & Stefan (2005)
  • "Wot!" with LaBrassBanda (2014)


  1. ^ Valcourt, Keith (4 May 2017). "The Damned's Captain Sensible: 'What Is Punk?'". The Washington Times. Retrieved 2020.
  2. ^ a b "Captain Sensible Official Site - Bio". Archived from the original on 4 June 2014.
  3. ^ Turner, Luke (10 November 2009). "The Damned's Captain Sensible on Why He Likes Trains". The Quietus. Retrieved 2014.
  4. ^ a b Eder, Bruce. "Captain Sensible - Artist Biography". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 2015. Damned member's quirky solo work ranges from showtunes to psychedelic rock.
  5. ^ Abjorensen, Norman (2017). "New wave music". Historical Dictionary of Popular Music. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 367-368. ISBN 978-1-538-10215-2.
  6. ^ Coyote, Ginger. "Captain Sensible Interview". Punk Globe. Retrieved 2014.
  7. ^ "The Damned Return With First Album Since 2001". Uncut. Retrieved 2014.
  8. ^ Kielty, Martin (23 January 2018). "The Damned Announce New Album, 'Evil Spirits'". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved 2018.
  9. ^ a b c d Strong, Martin Charles (2003). The Great Indie Discography. Canongate. pp. 23-24. ISBN 1-84195-335-0.
  10. ^ "Happy Rascal". NME. Retrieved 2014.
  11. ^ "Dead Men Walking". Archived from the original on 10 February 2009.. BBC Online. 5 October 2006.
  12. ^ Rosen, Jody (25 June 2019). "Here Are Hundreds More Artists Whose Tapes Were Destroyed in the UMG Fire". The New York Times Magazine. Retrieved 2019.
  13. ^ "The Damned are back". Derby Telegraph. 28 November 2008. Archived from the original on 23 September 2015. Retrieved 2010.
  14. ^ "The Blah! Party". Archived from the original on 12 November 2006..
  15. ^ "Captain Sensible Starts Political Party". Retrieved 2014.[permanent dead link]
  16. ^ Campling, Katie (10 August 2007). "It's a load of Blah! as punk and politics mix". Huddersfield Daily Examiner. Retrieved 2010.
  17. ^ a b Balakrishnan, Angela (3 May 2007). "Voter apathy? Here's the Sensible solution". The Guardian. Retrieved 2010.
  18. ^ a b Loweth, Jenny (27 September 2006). "Crisp firm backs the new force in politics!". Telegraph & Argus. Retrieved 2007.
  19. ^ Varley, Melinda (29 September 2006). "Seabrook sponsors political party". Retrieved 2010.
  20. ^ "Tories' donations outstrip rivals". BBC News Online. 26 February 2007. Retrieved 2010.
  21. ^ White, Roland (1 June 2008). "Atticus". The Times. Retrieved 2010.
  22. ^ Winrow, Jo (9 April 2007). "Election hopefuls line up for ballot". Telegraph & Argus. Retrieved 2010.
  23. ^ "District Council Election" (PDF). City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council. 3 May 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 June 2011. Retrieved 2010.
  24. ^ "Candidates for the 01 May 2008 District Council Election by party". Archived from the original on 5 May 2008.. Kirklees Council. 2008.
  25. ^ "Results for the 01 May 2008 District Council Election". Archived from the original on 5 May 2008.. Kirklees Council. 2008.
  26. ^ a b c "Welcome to your new home". Archived from the original on 18 March 2009.. Blah! Party. 13 December 2008.
  27. ^ a b c De Silva, Lisa (April 2009). "Almost Famous: Dolly Mixture". South Downs Living (47). Retrieved 2013.
  28. ^ Dewhurst, Tony (11 July 2013). "The Damned, Clitheroe Grand". Lancashire Telegraph. Retrieved 2013.
  29. ^ a b Sullivan, Jim (21 October 2014). "40 Years and Counting: The Damned and Captain Sensible Still Rock the Stage". WBUR-FM. Retrieved 2018.
  30. ^ Gentile, John (1 November 2016). "The Damned's Captain Sensible on "punk," Lemmy, and the band's new LP". Retrieved 2018.
  31. ^ "Damned : "Torture Me"". La Terre d'abord ! (in French). 23 September 2015. Retrieved 2018.
  32. ^ Tamarkin, Jeff; Rockmaker, Deirdre (November 1985). "Greening of Rock". Vegetarian Times. No. 99. pp. 32-36. ISSN 0164-8497.
  33. ^ Lazell, Barry (1997). Indie Hits 1980-1989. Cherry Red Books. Archived from the original on 5 June 2011. Retrieved 2020.
  34. ^ a b c d e "Captain Sensible". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 2014.
  35. ^ a b Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970-1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 54. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



Music Scenes