Why ‘Captain Swing’?

The name Captain Swing originates from a dubious English character from the 19th century, famous for allegedly inspiring the riots which led to the 1832 Reform Act. The name was used as a cover to sign letters and it is doubtful such a person ever existed (as the portrait on the right makes fairly clear).

Captain Swing has also been used as the title of a stage play produced by the RSC in 1978; a book by Larry Duplechan about an American jazz singer; an album by Michelle Shocked; the name of a wrestler; the trading name of a defunct festival catering service, used in some song lyrics by the 1970s punk band the Sex Pistols; and recently the title of a music magazine. Apart from the historical character, none of this was known to the band when the name was adopted!