New Vinyl Records By Sex Pistols
Forming in London in 1972, working class teenagers Steve Joneson as vocalist, Paul Cook on drums and Wally Nightingale as guitarist started the band The Strand, unbenounced to the trio they had started what would come to be one of the most influential bands in modern music and starting a movement that still echos true today.
The teenagers would hang out and congregate at two clothing shops on King’s Road Chelsea in West London Acme Attractions and Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood’s shop Too Fast To Live, Too Young To Die which would become a hub of sorts for the rising punk scene in the UK. In early 1974 Jones spoke to Malcolm McLaren and asked if he would become the manager for The Strand and he agreed and would book them rehearsal spaces and recruited bass player Glen Mattlock who would become a permanent in the band. During this time McLaren had been unofficially managing the New York Dolls in America and had become inspired by the rising punk movement in Lower Manhattan with bands like the Ramones and Television catching his attention with radical visual style matched with their attitude and so upon his return to London McLaren took a bigger interest in The Strand.
The Strand began rehearsing more frequently and had a series of line-up changes Nightingale was ejected from the band with Jones stepping down as frontman and becoming the band’s guitarist as well as looking for a new frontman The Strand were looking for a new name after toying with a few ideas the band settled on QT Jones And The Sex Pistols (later changed to just Sex Pistols) everything was set expect for one piece that would send Sex Pistols from being a part of the punk scene to the entire scene itself.
It was August 1975 where a nineteen year old John Lydon was seen by important figure of the UK punk scene Bernard Rhodes, who had noticed Lydon wearing a Pink Floyd t-shirt with holes where the band members eyes were scratched out and the words ‘I HATE’ crudely handwritten above the band name, paired with his striking green dyed hair meant that not long after this encounter Rhoades and McClaren set up a meeting between Lydon, Jones and Cook at nearby pub the three spoke until the pub closed and then they moved over to Too Fast to Live, Too Young To Die (Now renamed SEX, which provided some inspiration fo the benads name) and Lydon who had no thought about singing gave an audition after much convincing singing Alice Cooper’s “I’m Eighteen” the performances left the band in fits of laughter McClaren still managed to convince the band to rehearse and stick with Lydon. After the line up was set Jones gave Lydon the name Johnny Rotten a name he would be known as for the foreseeable future with all the pieces in place it was time for anarchy to come to the UK.
The Sex Pistols played their first gig opening for a band named Bazooka Joe at Saint Martins College, they used Bazooka Joe’s amps and drums having not yet acquired their own. The Pistols played a series of cover songs by the likes of The Who and Small Faces but before they could play any of their newly written original tracks their set was stopped as Bazooka Joe released the band were trashing the gear they had let them use. Following this somewhat istolsdisastrous start the fire would only be fueled as Sex Pistols would play more shows at colleges and school and their infamy and following started to grow and grow, a loyal group of followers that would become known as the Bromley Contingent formed with including members; Billy Idol, Siouxsie Sioux, Steven Severin, Soo Catwoman and Pamela Rooke (also known as Jordan) this group would attended alot of Sex Pistols early shows and their then cutting edge fashion and style which was provided by SEX was steadily adopted by new fans of the band. Another key factor to Sex Pistols success was their art style which was produced by a friend of McClaren called Jamie Reid who would ensign the bands logo and the iconic art work for the single “God Save The Queen”. The Pistols would go on to play a series of more high profile gigs that would get them broader audience and scope among the industry which led to a small interview with NME in which Jones stated to the magazine “Actually we’re not into music. We’re into chaos” this quote was read by two friends who were students at Bolton Institute of Technology named Howard Devoto and Pete Shelley who would be inspired by Sex Pistols and go on to form the punk band Buzzcocks.
The influence of Sex Pistols was begining to be felt all over the UK and beyond having played their fist gig outside the UK, a show in Paris on the third of September 1976 around this new UK punk bands Buzzcokcs and The Clash were opening for Sex Pistols, the scene was growing at what seemed to be a break neck pace and Sex Pistols were at the forefront of it all with more and more positive show reviews from critics for their growing tighter and aggressive sound leading to an eventual signing to EMI Records on a two year deal as well as the recording of the bands first single “Anarchy In The U.K”.
On the 1st of December 1976 Sex Pistols were a last minute replacement interview on Thames Television’s Today programme as a replacement for Queen. The programme was hosted by English journalist Bill Grundy. Sex Pistols and members of Bromley Contingent were on set for the interview after having drinks while waiting to go on air. During the interview Jones and Rotten both swore which initially went unnoticed by Grundy as he claimed to be drunk as well as the band, Grundy turned his attention to Siouxsie Sioux and when she said she had “Always Wanted To Meet” him, Grundy responded by saying “Did You Really? We’ll Meet Afterwards, Shall We?” which Steve Jones did not take kindly to and led to an exchange of words between him and grundy that would make Sex Pistols fully fledged house hold names across the country.
Jones: You dirty sod, You Dirty Old man.
Grundy: Well going, chief, keep going. Go On. You’ve got another five seconds. Say Something outrageous!
Jones: You dirty b*stard.
Grundy: Go on, again.
Jones: You dirty F*cker
Grundy: What a clever boy!
Jones: What a f*cking rotter
The programme at the time was only broadcast in London but tabloid news had the story occupying the papers for days with the famous headline “The Filth And The Fury”. This led to the bands infamy growing to unimaginable levels and when they embarked on the Anarchy Tour of the UK the approximately intended twenty shows were reduced to around seven as the venue owners, organisers and local authorities were cancelling shows.
In early 1977 rumours leaked that Glen Matlcock was set to be leaving Sex Pistols and by the 28th of Febuary McLaren had confirmed the split sending a telegram to the NME claiming Matlock was kicked out “Because he went on about Paul McCartney… The Beatles was too much” this point was later reiterated by Jones who said Matlock was sacked because he “Liked The Beatles''. While these claims were later found to be untrue, the band still had issue with the fact Matlock “Didn’t Look Like A Sex Pistol” but his replacment was just around the corner in the form of on of Rottens friends a self-proclaimed ‘Ultimate Sex Pistols fan’ by the name of Sid Vicious. Vicious had been a drummer for two punk bands around the area, Siouxsie And The Banshees and The Flowers Of Romance, he was also a regular attendee of Sex Pistols shows making him the perfect fit for the job, for better or for worse.
On the 28th of OCtober 1977 Sex Pistols would release their one andonly album that would change the course of music and pop culture forever “Never Mind The Bollocks, Here’s The Sex Pistols” was the perfect encapsulation of Sex Pistols built up imfamy, agression, bombast and raw energy in one album with eleven tracks of punk rock brilliance with the bands debut single “Anarchy In The UK”, as well as the bands top ten UK singles “Pretty Vacant” and “Holiday In The Sun” and probably the most controversial track and lead single of sorts due to its infamy “God Save The Queen” that was released during the hight of Queen Elizibeth’s silver jubilee celebration paired with the iconic single cover art by Jamie Reid of The Queen’s face obscured by the band name and song title, the song gained even further notoriety when it was played live on The River Thames sailing past Westminster Pier and the Houses Of Parliament and as per most things Sex Pistols did, ended in disaster which only fueld the success of the track and subsequently the album. “Never Mind The Bollocks, Here’s The Sex Pistols” shot straight to number one upon release and became the best selling album of the year and went gold after selling 125,000 copies despite bans from being sold at major retailer. Ever since the albums released it sparked a rise in the Punk genre and movement but generally speaking started the beginning of the end for Sex Pistols.
In early 1978 Sex Pistols set out on their US tour which was bogged down by the usual controversy and issues the band faced, with shows being cancelled due to members of the band having criminal records, there was also a lot of in fighting among the band withRotten becoming a complete ego maniac leading to him becoming distant from Cook and Jones while Vicious was spiraling out of control day by day with his drug misuse issues and fighting with audince members. The tour trudged on with no sign of anything getting better and on the 14 of January 1978 on their last date of the tour after playing The Stooges “No Fun” once the song played out Rotten speaking to the audience directly said “Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated? Good night” he threw his mic down and walked off stage, four days later Rotten would announce Sex Pistols spilt ina news paper interview and just as quickly as the band had started it was over.
In the following years there was the tragic passing of Nancy Spungen who was Sid Vicious' long time girlfriend via stab wound at a hotel party Vicious and herself hosted which sent Vicious down more of a spiral that lead to his untimely death of a drug overdose in 1979 The rest of the band stayed in the music scene and Johnny Rotten stayed a prevalent controversial figure in pop culture.
Sex Pistols were game changers, to some one of the best punk bands in history to others angry teenages that just wanted chaos but regardless of both arguments, they were five normal people who made an other worldy difference to music and pop culture forever.