By the late 70s it had become clear that an indie record label like Stiff could do many things. It could build and develop a new act over a period of time – as it did with artists as diverse as The Belle Stars and Jona Lewie. But it could also provide a jump-start to new acts. One-off single deals that would go no further, just to help bands get noticed and build up profile.
It’s a route still being taken by Stiff in the late 00s, with signings like The Displacements, Eskimo Disco and The Enemy. And in 1978 a set of 7” singles were lined up to do this too, the One Off series. OFF 1 was The Subs’ Gimme Your Heart, Ernie Graham and The Members were allocated OFFs 2 and 3 and the final installment, OFF 4 was for Deptford’s The Realists.
Lead by vocalist/guitarist Paul Astles, they recorded I’ve Got A Heart, a decent slice of punk pop that still gets discussed in the internet era on sites like The Mod Pop Punk Archives. The Realists may not have gone on to greater things but Astles has continued recording – albeit in a more psych/country vein - both in his own right and as part of Shedload of Love.