The Ruts were a reggae-influenced British punk band notable for the 1979 top 10 hit "Babylon's Burning" (right), and an earlier single "In a Rut", which was never a hit but was much played and highly regarded by disc jockey John Peel. The band consisted of Malcolm Owen (vocals), Paul Fox (guitar), John "Segs" Jennings (bass) and Dave Ruffy (drums). As part of the People Unite collective based in Southall the band were active in anti-racist causes, and a song "Jah Wars" is about the Special Patrol Group's violence in Southall in 1979, in which Blair Peach was beaten to death and a member of the collective Clarence Baker was severely injured.
After Malcolm Owen's death from a heroin overdose on the 14th of July 1980, aged just 26, the band continued as "Ruts D.C." but never repeated their earlier success. As Ruts D.C. the band toured Germany in the autumn of 1980, playing a noteworthy concert at the small cult club 'To Act' in rural Bavaria (WeiÃčenohe, near Nuremberg). However, without the charismatic voice of Malcolm Owen (and guitarist Paul Fox now handling the vocals), the band just wasn't as brilliant.