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Sex Pistols

Sex Pistols

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Sex Pistols <tr style="text-align: center;"><td colspan="3">Image:Sex Pistols.jpg
The Sex Pistols in 1977. Left to right: Sid Vicious, Johnny Rotten, and Steve Jones, with drummer Paul Cook in the background. The photo was taken during the video shoot for "God Save the Queen".
Background information

<tr><td>Origin</td><td colspan="2">Image:Flag of England (bordered).svg London, England</td></tr><tr><td>Genre(s)</td><td colspan="2">Punk rock</td></tr><tr><td>Years active</td><td colspan="2">1975–1978, 1996, 2002, 2003</td></tr><tr><td style="padding-right: 1em;">Label(s)</td><td colspan="2">EMI, A&M, Virgin, Warner Bros.</td></tr><tr><td textalign="top" style="padding-right: 1em;">Associated
</td><td colspan="2">Public Image Ltd.
Malcolm McLaren
The Rich Kids
Neurotic Outsiders</td></tr><tr><th style="background: #b0c4de;" colspan="3">Former members</th></tr><tr><td style="text-align: center;" colspan="3">Johnny Rotten
Steve Jones
Glen Matlock
Paul Cook
Sid Vicious</td></tr>

The Sex Pistols were an iconic and highly influential English punk band, formed in London in 1975. The band originally comprised vocalist Johnny Rotten, guitarist Steve Jones, drummer Paul Cook and bassist Glen Matlock; Matlock left acrimoniously in 1977, and was replaced by Sid Vicious. Although their initial career lasted only three years and produced only four singles and one studio album, (1977's Never Mind the Bollocks), the Sex Pistols have been described by the BBC as "the definitive English punk rock band."<ref name="BBC1">Template:Cite web</ref> The Pistols are widely credited with initiating the punk movement in the United Kingdom<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> and creating the first generation gap within rock and roll.<ref name="Robb2">Template:Cite web</ref>

The Sex Pistols emerged as a response to what was perceived to be the increasingly safe and bloated progressive rock<ref name="thesexpistol">Template:Cite web</ref> and manufactured pop music of the mid-1970s. The band created various controversies during their brief career which captivated England,<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> but often eclipsed their music.<ref name="Robb">Robb, John, "Punk Rock: An Oral History", Elbury Press, 2006. ISBN 0-0919-0511-7</ref> Their shows and tours repeatedly faced difficulties from authorities, and public appearances often ended in disaster and riot. Their 1977 single, God Save the Queen, released to coincide with the Queen’s Silver Jubilee, was widely regarded as an attack on the British monarchy and British Nationalism.<ref name "nat">Template:Cite web</ref>

The group broke up in 1978 amid a turbulent tour of the United States, but reunited in 1996 for the "Filthy Lucre" tour, and have staged subsequent reunion tours in 2002 and 2003. On 24 February 2006, the Sex Pistols were officially inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame but they refused to attend the induction, calling the museum a "piss stain."<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>


[edit] History

[edit] Origins and early days

The Sex Pistols evolved from The Strand, a band formed in 1972 with Jones on vocals, Cook on drums and Wally Nightingale on guitar. Early line-ups also included Jim Mackin on organ (now a GP in Lincolnshire),[citation needed] as well as Stephen Hayes, and later Del Noones, on bass.<ref name="Anarchist">O'Shea, Mick, "The Early Days of the Sex Pistols: "Only Anarchists Are Pretty"", Helter Skelter Publishing (2004), p. 29. ISBN 1-9009-2493-5. </ref> By 1973 the band members were hanging out at Don Letts' "Acme Attractions", and the more upmarket Let It Rock,<ref name="Robb"/> a 1950s-themed clothes shop in the Kings Road, Chelsea area of London. "Let It Rock" was owned by former New York Dolls manager Malcolm McLaren and his partner Vivienne Westwood; the shop specialised in "anti-fashion",<ref name="thesexpistol"/> selling the drapes, slashed T-shirts, brothel creepers and fetish gear<ref name="Robb"/> later popularised by the punk movement. As Rotten observed: "Malcolm and Vivienne were really a pair of shysters: they would sell anything to any trend that they could grab onto."<ref name="Robb"/> The shop was to become a focal point of the punk rock scene, and brought together many of its primary members, including Jordan and Soo Catwoman (both of whom worked behind the counter of the shop), as well as Captain Sensible, John Ritchie (later Sid Vicious), Jah Wobble, Gene October, Mick Jones, Tony James, and Marco Pirroni.<ref name="Robb"/> All were reacting to a distaste to the prevailing fashion of long hair and flared jeans of the early 1970s. McLaren took over management of the band around this time.

By then renamed "The Swankers",<ref name="Frame">Frame, Pete, "The Complete Rock Family Trees", Omnibus Press (1993), p. 29. ISBN 0-7119-3449-5.</ref> the band began rehearsing at the Crunchy Frog, a studio near the London Docklands. In 1974, they played their first gig at Tom Salter's Café in London. Noones was ejected from the band shortly afterwards, due to his unreliability and unwillingness to rehearse.<ref name="Anarchist"/>

[edit] Johnny Rotten joins the band

Promotional flyer for an early Sex Pistols gig
Image:John Destroy.jpg
Johnny Rotten c. 1977, photographed by Dennis Morris

Glen Matlock was recruited as bass player in early 1975. Around this time Jones and Nightingale began to argue over the band's musical direction, and Nightingale departed soon afterwards. In August 1975, John Lydon (Johnny Rotten), was spotted by Jones at the by now renamed and restyled SEX boutique. According to Jones: "He came in with green hair. I thought he had a really interesting face. I liked his look. He has his 'I Hate Pink Floyd' T-shirt on. John had something special, but when he spoke he was a real asshole - but smart."<ref name="jlydon">Lydon, John. "No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs", Keith & Kent Zimmerman, St. Martin's Press, May 1994. ISBN 0-3121-1883-X </ref> Though he had never considered singing before, Rotten was asked to join as vocalist.<ref name="savage"> Savage, Jon, "England's Dreaming: The Sex Pistols and Punk Rock", Faber and Faber, 1991. ISBN 0-3122-8822-0</ref> Rotten and his circle of friends (including Bromley Contingent members Siouxsie Sioux, Soo Catwoman, Steve Severin and Billy Idol),<ref name="bctg">Template:Cite web</ref> were by now dressing in the torn-shirt, sado-masochistic inspired clothing sold by Vivienne Westwood;<ref name="BBC1">Template:Cite web</ref> the trend quickly spread, and was adopted by the band's fans.<ref name="savage"/>

NME journalist Nick Kent used to jam occasionally with the band, but left upon Rotten's recruitment. According to Rotten: "When I came along, I took one look at him and said, 'No. That has to go.' He's never written a good word about me since".<ref name="jlydon" /> Rotten introduced the other members to New York bands such as The Modern Lovers and the New York Dolls, and the band began to perform covers of songs by Iggy Pop and The Small Faces. Following Kent's departure, Cook began to feel that Jones might not be capable enough alone on guitar, and placed an advertisement for another "Whiz Kid Guitarist".<ref name="mlock"> Matlock, Glen and Silverton, Peter, "I Was a Teenage Sex Pistol", Omnibus Press, 1990</ref> Steve New answered the advert, and played with the band for a few weeks, though he too left shortly afterwards.

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One of McLaren's first acts as manager was to rename the band. Among the options considered were 'Le Bomb', 'Subterraneans', 'Beyond', and 'Teenage Novel'. The band played their first gig as Sex Pistols at Saint Martins College, on 6 November 1975,<ref name="Frame"/> though they were thrown off before finishing their first song. The gig had been arranged by Matlock, who was studying there at the time. This gig was followed by other performances at colleges and art schools around London. In early 1976, the Sex Pistols began to play larger venues such as the 100 Club, and the Nashville. On 3 September 1976, the Pistols played their first concert outside of Britain, at the opening of the Club De Chalet Du Lac in Paris. Their first major tour of Britain soon followed, lasting from mid-September to early October.

[edit] EMI and the Grundy incident

Image:Filthand fury.jpg
The cover of The Daily Mirror published the day after the Grundy appearance.

Following a showcase gig held during London's first punk festival, at the 100 Club in Oxford Street, in September 1976, the Sex Pistols signed to the major label EMI. The band's first single, "Anarchy in the U.K.", released on 26 November 1976, served as a statement of intent—full of wit, anger and visceral energy. Despite a common perception that punk bands couldn't play their instruments, contemporary music press reviews and live recordings reveal the Pistols to have been a tight, competent, and ferocious live band.<ref name="punk77">Template:Cite web</ref><ref name="Coon">Coon, Caroline, "Parade Of The Punks", Melody Maker, October 2 1976</ref><ref name="rstn">Template:Cite web</ref>

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Their behaviour, as much as their music, brought them to the national attention. On 1 December 1976 the band and members of the Bromley Contingent created a storm of publicity by swearing during an early evening live broadcast of Thames Television's Today programme. Appearing as last-minute replacements for fellow EMI artists Queen, band and entourage took full advantage of the Green Room facilities, and consumed large amounts of alcohol. During the interview, Rotten used the word "shit", and host Bill Grundy, who was drunk at the time, flirted openly with Siouxsie Sioux ("We'll meet afterwards, shall we?"). This prompted Jones to call Grundy a "dirty old man". Grundy responded by requesting that the band "say something outrageous",<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> to which Jones replied: "you dirty fucker . . . what a fucking rotter".<ref name="Barkham ">Template:Cite web</ref>

Although the programme was only broadcast in the London region, the ensuing furore occupied the tabloid newspapers for days. The Daily Mirror famously ran the headline "The Filth and the Fury", while the Daily Express led with "Punk? Call it Filthy Lucre"—phrases Lydon adopted for Pistols projects many years later. Thames Television suspended Grundy, and though he was later reinstated, the interview effectively ended his career. <ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

The episode created mass publicity for the band and brought punk into the mainstream. The 'Anarchy' tour of the UK followed, though many of the concerts were either dogged by hostile press or cancelled by local authorities.<ref name="savage" /> London councilor Bernard Brook Partridge, during a television interview conducted at the time, declared: "The Sex Pistols would be vastly improved by sudden death . . . I would like to see someone dig a huge hole and bury the lot of them in it".<ref name="fatf">Template:Cite web</ref>

Following the end of the tour in December 1976, EMI arranged a series of concerts for January 1977 at the Paradiso in Amsterdam.<ref name="BBC2">Template:Cite web</ref> But before boarding the plane at London Heathrow Airport, the band reportedly spat on each other and verbally abused airport staff. "One witness claimed the Sex Pistols were doing something so disgusting that she could not repeat it for publication . . . it became generally believed Jones had been vomiting on old ladies in the preflight lounge," reported Rolling Stone.<ref name="rstn"/> EMI released the band from their contract two days later.<ref name="BBC2" /> "I don't understand it," Rotten remarked at the time. "All we're trying to do is destroy everything."<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

[edit] Sid Vicious joins the band

The Paradiso gigs would be their last with Matlock, and he parted company with the band in February 1977. According to popular legend he was sacked because he "liked The Beatles",<ref name="BBC1" /> but Steve Jones later claimed the reason was that Matlock didn't "fit in" with the others, stating, obliquely, that Matlock was "always washing his feet".<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> Matlock now claims to have quit voluntarily, mainly because of an increasingly acrimonious relationship with Rotten.<ref name="coon2"> Coon, Caroline, "1988: The New Wave Punk Rock Explosion", Omnibus Press, 1977. ISBN 0-7119-0051-5</ref>

Matlock was replaced by Rotten's friend and self-appointed "ultimate Sex Pistols fan"<ref name="Butt"> Butt, Malcolm, "Sid Vicious - Rock'n'roll Star", Plexus Publishing Ltd, 2003. ISBN 0-8596-5340-4</ref> Sid Vicious (John Simon Ritchie), previously of The Flowers of Romance. McLaren approved Vicious as a member on account of his look and "punk attitude", despite his limited musical abilities.<ref name="mlock" /> According to McLaren: "When Sid joined he couldn't play guitar but his craziness fit into the structure of the band. He was the knight in shining armour with a giant fist."<ref name="popmatters">Template:Cite web</ref> Lydon later recalled: "The first rehearsals with Sid were hellish. Everyone agreed he had the look. Sid tried real hard... but boy, he couldn't play guitar."<ref name="jlydon" />

Marco Pirroni: "After that, it was nothing to do with music anymore. It would just be for the sensationalism and scandal of it all. Then it became the Malcolm McLaren story..."<ref name="popmatters"/> Vicious' amplifier was often turned down, or off, during live performances,<ref> Savage, Jon, England's Dreaming: The Sex Pistols and Punk Rock, Faber and Faber, 1991</ref> and most of the bass parts on the band's later recordings were played by either Jones or Matlock.<ref name="jlydon" />

Membership of the Sex Pistols was to have a destructive effect on Vicious' personality. As Rotten observed: "Up to that time, Sid was absolutely childlike. Everything was fun and giggly. Suddenly he was a big pop star. Pop star status meant press, a good chance to be spotted in all the right places, adoration. That's what it all meant to Sid."<ref name="popmatters"/> Vicious responded by actively cultivating a notorious persona. Early in 1977, he met Nancy Spungen, a drug addict and occasional prostitute<ref name="nndb">Template:Cite web</ref> with a history of severe emotional problems.<ref name="popmatters"/> Spungen is commonly thought to be responsible for introducing Vicious to heroin, and the emotional co-dependency between the couple alienated Vicious from the other members of the band. Rotten said: "We did everything to get rid of Nancy. She was killing him. I was absolutely convinced this girl was on a slow suicide mission. Only she didn't want to go alone. She wanted to take Sid with her. She was so utterly fucked up and evil."<ref name="jlydon"/> Sid Vicious debuted with the band at the Screen on the Green in London on 3 April 1977.

[edit] God Save the Queen

Main article: God Save the Queen
Image:GSTQ cover.jpg
The cover of the God Save the Queen single was designed by Jamie Reid in the ransom note style so closely associated with the group.
Music sample:

On 10 March 1977, at a press ceremony held outside Buckingham Palace, the Sex Pistols signed to A&M Records. They later went back to the A&M offices for what would become an unruly party. Sid Vicious trashed the managing director's office and vomited on his desk. Under pressure from its own employees, artists and distributors, A&M broke contract with the Pistols six days later.<ref name="rstn"/> In May the band signed their third and final record deal with Virgin Records.<ref name="thesexpistol"/>

The Pistols' second single, "God Save the Queen", was released 27 May 1977. Though widely perceived as a personal attack on Queen Elizabeth II,<ref name="savage" /> Rotten later stated that the song was not specifically aimed at the Queen, but was instead intended to critique the deference given to Royalty in general. However, the perceived disrespect to the monarchy caused widespread public outcry. The record was banned from airplay by the BBC, whose Radio 1 dominated music broadcasting at the time. Rotten later remarked, "We had declared war on the entire country—without meaning to!"<ref name="jlydon" />

During the week of Queen Elizabeth's Silver Jubilee, the single reached number two in the NME chart, but number two in the official UK chart.<ref name "nat"/> However, many suspected that the chart compilation had been massaged,<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> suggesting that the record had actually reached number one, but that the charts had been rigged to prevent a spectacle.<ref name="Urban">Template:Cite web</ref> At least one radio station announced the song at number one, but refused to play it, as they had been advised it might cause upset to the national celebrations.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref><ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

The Pistols marked the Jubilee, and the success of their record, by chartering a private boat, intending to perform live while sailing down the River Thames, passing Westminster and the Houses of Parliament. The event ended in chaos, however, when the boat was raided by police, despite a license to perform having been granted in advance. McLaren, the band, and many of their entourage were taken into custody when the vessel docked.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

Violent attacks on punk fans were on the increase at this time, and Rotten himself was assaulted by a knife wielding gang outside the Islington Pegasus pub,<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> causing damage to two tendons in his hand. Due to the attacks, a tour of Scandinavia, which would have started at the end of June, was delayed until mid-July. This was followed by a secret tour of the UK at the end of August (known as SPOTS—Sex Pistols On Tour Secretly), with the band playing under pseudonyms to avoid cancellation.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

[edit] Never Mind the Bollocks

Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols album cover
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Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols was recorded between March and June 1977, in Wessex Studios, Highbury, London.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> Produced by Chris Thomas, who had previously worked with Roxy Music, the album featured Matlock on bass, redrafted as a session musician to compensate for Vicious' lack of musical ability. According to Jones: "Sid wanted to come down and play on the album, and we tried as hard as possible not to let him anywhere near the studio. Luckily he had hepatitis at the time".<ref name="jlydon"/> Although Vicious did record on one occasion, his contribution was later over-dubbed. Jones recalls: "We just let him do it, innit. When he left I dubbed another part on, leaving Sid's down low. It think it might be barely audible on the track".<ref name="jlydon"/>

Never Mind the Bollocks was released on 28 October 1977, to mixed reviews. Rolling Stone described the album positively, comparing the sound to "two subway trains crashing together under 40 feet of mud, victims screaming", and praised the band for playing "with an energy and conviction that is positively transcendent in its madness and fever".[citation needed] Some critics, however, were disappointed that the album contained all four previously released singles, and considered the release to be effectively a "Greatest Hits" album.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> In recent years, the album has come to be commonly regarded to be one of the most influential rock albums of the last 40 years,<ref name="nvm">Template:Cite web</ref><ref>Template:Cite web</ref><ref>Template:Cite web</ref> and has been described as "one of the greatest, most inspiring rock records of all time".<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

The album title caused difficulties for the band. Boots, W.H. Smith and Woolworth's refused to stock the album, a Conservative MP condemned it as "a symptom of the way society is declining", and the Independent Television Companies Association refused to carry the album's TV advertising campaign.[citation needed] In Nottingham a record outlet was threatened with prosecution for displaying "indecent printed matter". The case was overturned however, when defending QC John Mortimer produced expert witnesses, who were able to demonstrate that the word bollocks was a legitimate Old English term originally used to refer to a priest.<ref>Charlesworth, Simon J., "A Phenomenology of Working Class Experience" Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 2000</ref> Although the word in popular slang means testicles, in this context it is intended to signify 'nonsense'; the title had been unwittingly suggested by Steve Jones when, in response to bickering over possible titles, he exclaimed "Oh, never mind the bollocks of it all!"<ref name="jlydon"/>

The Sex Pistols' final UK performance took place at Ivanhoe's in Huddersfield, on Christmas Day 1977, where the band played a matinee and evening show as part of a benefit for the families of striking firemen. The location of the gigs was not announced until shortly before the venue opened, a tactic the band used at the time to avoid the sort of attention that had led to earlier cancellations.

[edit] US tour and the end of the band

Promotional poster for The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle.

In January 1978 the Sex Pistols embarked on a US tour, consisting mainly of dates in America's Deep South. Though originally scheduled for December 1977, it was delayed due the US authorities reluctance to issue visas to band members with criminal records.<ref name="ffbio2">Template:Cite web</ref> Though highly anticipated by fans and media, the tour was plagued by in-fighting,<ref name="ffbio2"/> poor planning and physically hostile audiences.<ref name="crock">Template:Cite web</ref> Over the course of the two-weeks, Vicious, by now chronically addicted to heroin,<ref name="Huey">Template:Cite web</ref> began to live up to his stage name. According to Rotten: "He finally had an audience of people who would behave with shock and horror. Sid was easily led by the nose."<ref name="jlydon"/> During a concert in San Antonio, Texas, Vicious called the audience "a bunch of faggots", before striking a fan across the head with his bass guitar.<ref name="Huey"/> In Baton Rouge, Louisiana, he received simulated oral sex onstage from a female audience member, later declaring "that’s the kind of girl I like".<ref name="Klein">Klein, Howie, "Sex Pistols: Tour Notes", New York Rocker, February 1978</ref> Suffering withdrawal symptoms from heroin, Vicious appeared onstage in Dallas, Texas, with the words "Gimme a Fix" cut into his chest, and spat blood at a female who had climbed on stage and punched him in the face.<ref name="jlydon"/> He was admitted to hospital later that night to treat injuries resulting from his wounds. His behaviour off stage was similarly poor. He kicked a female photographer, attacked a security guard, and was eventually beaten by an exasperated bodyguard hired to protect him.<ref name="popmatters"/>

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Rotten, meanwhile, suffering from flu<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> and coughing up blood, felt increasingly isolated and distanced from Cook and Jones,<ref name="jlydon"/> and disgusted by Vicious.<ref name="Robb"/> At the final date in Winterland, San Francisco, on 14 January 1978 a disillusioned Rotten ended with an encore of a Stooges cover, "No Fun." Sneering at the audience, he exclaimed "This is No Fun, at all", making clear his personal feelings about the gig, the band, and the audience.<ref name="jlydon"/><ref name="Robb"/> After the performance Rotten asked the audience "Ever get the feeling you've been cheated?" before throwing down his microphone and walking off stage.<ref name="Cooper"> Cooper, Mark, "The Sex Pistols: Winterland, San Francisco", Record Mirror, January 28th, 1978</ref> He later observed: "I hated the whole scenario. It was a farce. I felt cheated. Sid was completely out of his brains - just a waste of space. Malcolm wouldn't speak to me. But then he would turn around and tell Paul and Steve that the tension was all my fault because I wouldn't agree to anything. It was all very bitter and confusing."<ref name="Robb"/>

On 17 January 1978, Rotten announced his departure from the Sex Pistols.<ref name="savage"/> Vicious departed for New York, while McLaren, Cook and Jones left for a working vacation in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, leaving Rotten in America without money or a plane ticket. He would later state: "'The Sex Pistols left me, stranded in LA with no ticket, no hotel room, and a message to Warner Bros saying that if anyone phones up claiming to be Johnny Rotten, then they were lying. That's how I finished with Malcolm - but not with the rest of the band; I'll always like them."<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> He eventually telephoned head of Virgin Records Richard Branson, who agreed to pay for his flight back to London, via Jamaica.

[edit] Post-Sex Pistols

After leaving the Pistols, Johnny Rotten reverted to his given name of Lydon, and formed Public Image Ltd, with former Clash member Keith Levene and school friend Jah Wobble.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> The band went on to score a U.K. Top Ten hit with their debut single, 1978's "Public Image", and in 1979 recorded the post punk classic Metal Box.<ref name="simonR">Reynolds, Simon, "Rip it up and Start Again: Post Punk 1978-1984", Faber and Faber, 2006. ISBN 0-5712-1570-X</ref> In 1978 Lydon initiated legal proceedings against McLaren and his management company, Glitterbest. Among the claims made were non-payment of royalties, usage of the title 'Johnny Rotten', unfair contractual obligations,<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> and damages for "all the criminal activities that took place".<ref name="plastic">Template:Cite web</ref>

Vicious relocated to New York, and with Spungen acting as his manager, began to perform as a solo artist. He recorded a live album, 1979's Sid Sings, backed by "The Idols" featuring Arthur Kane and Jerry Nolan of the New York Dolls in their line up. On 12 October 1978 Spungen was found dead in the Chelsea Hotel room she was sharing with Vicious, with stab wounds to her stomach and dressed only in her underwear.<ref name="bbcSV">Template:Cite web</ref> Police recovered drug paraphernalia from the scene and Vicious was arrested for the murder. In an interview at the time, McLaren said: "I can't believe he was involved in such a thing. Sid was set to marry Nancy in New York. He was very close to her and had quite a passionate affair with her."<ref name="bbcSV"/> He died five months later, on 2 February 1979, of a heroin overdose after a party held to celebrate his release on bail.<Ref name="Silverton">Silverton, Peter, "Sid Vicious's mum", The Observer (UK), 1996</ref> He was 21. According to Lydon: "Poor Sid. The only way he could live up to what he wanted everyone to believe about him was to die. That was tragic, but more for Sid than anyone else. He really bought his public image."<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> A fictionalised account of Vicious's relationship with Spungen appears in the 1986 film Sid and Nancy, directed by Alex Cox. Lydon has been publicly critical of the film,<ref name="popmatters"/> taking issue both with its portrayal of the main characters and the speculation that Vicious and Spungen had formed a suicide pact.<ref name="jlydon"/>

Poster for Julien Temple's 2002 rockumentary film.

McLaren had wanted for some time to make a film featuring the Sex Pistols. In 1977 he hired Russ Meyer to direct a script, Who Killed Bambi?, he had written with Roger Ebert. Production ceased, however, after only a day-and-a-half's shooting when members of the crew, in protest over unpaid monies owed by McLaren, walked off the set.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> A second attempt was made in mid-1978, with Cook and Jones starring in the McLaren-scripted The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle. Directed by Julien Temple, the movie was McLaren's fictionalised account of the Pistols' history; in it he claimed he had controlled and manipulated the band from its inception.<ref> Gross, Jason, "Rock Doc Pick: The Great Rock 'N' Roll Swindle," Film Comment, Volume: 41. Issue: 3., May-June 2005</ref> The soundtrack featured Jones, occasionally Cook or Vicious, and sometimes Edward Tudor-Pole, trading on their vocals and engaging in McLaren-concocted gimmicks, such as recording two songs on the album with notorious British criminal Ronnie Biggs.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

Cook and Jones continued to work through guest appearances<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> and as session musicians, and later formed The Professionals. Cook is currently playing in the band Man-Raze. Matlock has been involved in various projects, including The Rich Kids. McLaren went on to manage Adam & the Ants and Bow Wow Wow, and in the mid-1980s released a number of hit records as a solo artist.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

After a drawn out and bitter legal case, in January 1986 the four surviving members of the Sex Pistols as well as the estate of Sid Vicious were awarded control of the band's heritage, which included publishing rights, master recordings, film footage, as well as exclusive rights to the name "Sex Pistols".<ref> Verrico, Lisa, "Interview with John Lydon", The Times (UK), March 1999</ref> This access enabled the production of the 2000 Julien Temple documentary The Filth and the Fury, formulated as an attempt to tell the story from the band's point of view, in contrast to the earlier "Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle", told from McLaren's perspective.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

The surviving members of the Sex Pistols reformed in 1996 for the six-month 'Filthy Lucre World Tour', which included dates in Europe, North and South America, Australia and Japan,<ref name="thesexpistol"/> as well as appearances at the Phoenix Festival and Crystal Palace National Sports Centre in England ("Pistols at the Palace"). In 2003 they toured North America for three weeks, as part of their 'Piss Off Tour.'

In November 2005, the Sex Pistols were inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, an honour that the surviving members turned down, with an "obscene gesture" and a suggestion that the Hall of Fame "kiss this".<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> According to Jones: "Once you want to be put into a museum, Rock & Roll's over; its not voted by fans, its voted by people who induct you, or others; people who are already in it."<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

On March 9 2006 the band sold the rights to their back catalogue to Universal Music Group. The sale was criticised as a "sell out".<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

[edit] Influence and cultural legacy

Rolling Stone suggested the band, responding "to the star trappings and complacency" of mid-1970s rock, "came to spark and personify one of the few truly critical moments in pop culture—the rise of punk".<ref name="thesexpistol"/> While they were not the first punk band, the Pistols' Never Mind the Bollocks is a singular achievement within the punk movement and an important event in the history of popular music in general. It is regularly cited on lists of the greatest albums ever: in 2006 the album was voted no. 27 in Q Magazine's "100 Greatest Albums Ever",<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> while Rolling Stone listed it at 2 in its 1987 "Top 100 Albums of the Last 20 Years".<ref>Rolling Stone Top 100 Albums of the Last 20 Years, Rolling Stone, November 1987</ref>

Their live performances were also influential. A significant show occurred early in their career on June 4, 1976, when they performed to a crowd of just 42 people at the Lesser Free Trade Hall in Manchester, England. It was to become one of the most important and mythologized events in rock history.<ref name="trade">Template:Cite web</ref> Among the audience were many who would later form bands or otherwise popularise the embryonic punk movement, including the Buzzcocks (who had organised the gig), Bernard Sumner, Ian Curtis and Peter Hook (all later of Joy Division), Morrissey (later of The Smiths), and Mick Hucknall (later of Simply Red).<ref name="imdb">Template:Cite web</ref><ref name="Savage94">Savage, John, "Joy Division: Someone Take These Dreams Away", Mojo, July 1994</ref>

The Sex Pistols are also remembered for communicating directly with a vernacular audience. According to Lydon: "If we had an aim, it was to force our own, working-class opinions into the mainstream, which was unheard of in pop music at the time."<ref name="plastic"/> Whether the Pistols' anti-establishment stance was spontaneous or cultivated has been debated. One reviewer notes that "England's depressed social psyche at the time" was enough to generate a band like the Pistols and that Rotten's "fierce intelligence and astonishing onstage charisma" were important catalysts, but ultimately credits McLaren's history-minded manipulations as the real power behind the band.<ref>Wyman, Bill. The Revenge of the Sex Pistols, Salon, April 2000</ref>

Other bands who have been influenced by the Sex Pistols include The Clash,<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> Siouxsie & the Banshees,<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> Nirvana,<ref>Template:Cite web</ref><ref>Template:Cite web</ref> Oasis,<ref name="nvm"/> The Fall,<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> Green Day,<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> and Guns N' Roses.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

In 1997, paleontologists Adrain and Edgecombe, named a series of fossil trilobite species in honour of the Pistols' members: Arcticalymene rotteni, A. viciousi, A. jonesi, A. cooki and A. matlocki.<ref>Mark Isaak, Curiosities of Biological Nomenclature: Etymologies (personal website). Accessed online 1 September 2006.</ref><ref> Ben Goldacre, 'Bad Science' column: "Alternative medicine on the NHS?", The Guardian, February 12, 2004. Accessed online 1 September 2006.</ref>

[edit] Band members

[edit] Sex Pistols members and roles

[edit] Post Sex Pistols

People who sang on The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle include:

  • Ronnie Biggs – vocals on "No One Is Innocent" and "Belsen Was A Gas" (1978)
  • Malcolm McLaren, manager – vocals on "You Need Hands" (1979)
  • Edward Tudor-Pole – vocals on "The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle", "Rock Around The Clock", and "Who Killed Bambi?" (1979)

[edit] Discography

[edit] Studio albums

[edit] Compilation albums

[edit] Singles

[edit] References


[edit] Further reading

[edit] Films

[edit] External links

[edit] Official

[edit] Unofficial

Sex Pistols
John Lydon | Steve Jones | Glen Matlock | Paul Cook | Sid Vicious
Studio albums: Never Mind the Bollocks, 1977
Live and compilation releases: Some Product: Carri on Sex Pistols, 1979 | The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle, 1980 | Flogging a Dead Horse, 1980
Related articles
Public Image Ltd. | Malcolm McLaren | Jamie Reid | Ronnie Biggs | Edward Tudor-Pole | The Professionals | The Filth and the Fury | Punk rock
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