For the 1970s American rock band, see Chelsea (American band).
Chelsea are an English punk rock band, formed in London in 1976.
Three of the four original band members went on to help found Generation X. More than two decades after its release, "Right to Work", Chelsea's debut single, was included in Mojo magazine's list of the best punk rock singles of all time.
The original line-up was frontman Gene October, William Broad (later and better known as Billy Idol) (guitar), Tony James (bass) and John Towe (drums, who had come from London SS along with James). After a few gigs, the other three left October to form Generation X. October then recruited Carey Fortune (drums), Martin Stacy (guitar) and Bob Jessie (bass), with the last two soon replaced by Henry Daze (Henry Badowski) and James Stevenson (who also later joined Generation X). This rapid turnover of band members (Simon Cade Williams, aka Simon Vitesse, joined the band as bassist in 1977 for UK tour and the single: "High Rise Living") was characteristic throughout Chelsea's existence, with October the only constant presence.
Their first single, "Right to Work", dealing with unemployment, was their most popular song. After spending 1977-78 touring in the UK and overseas, they released their first album, Chelsea, in 1979. Their second LP, Alternative Hits, was released in 1980. At this time the band split and October put together a new line-up, including guitarist Nic Austin, which recorded the critically acclaimed album Evacuate'.
October put out albums sporadically with various line-ups throughout the 1980s, including Rock Off, Original Sinners and Underwraps. In the early 90's Chelsea toured The Alternative and Traitors Gate albums with the return of Nic Austin and new recruit Mat Sargent on bass. In 1999 the line-up from the first album reformed for the 'Social Chaos Tour' across North America. The live album Metallic F.O. was recorded at CBGBs in New York during this tour. The band released the studio album, Faster, Cheaper and Better Looking in 2005 with Tony Barber from The Buzzcocks on bass.
In 2011 Nic Austin & Mat Sargent returned to the band along with James Stevenson. Chelsea continue to tour and are reputedly recording new material for a new album.