The Sex Pistols – an English punk rock band formed in London in 1975. Their career lasted just two-and-a-half years with only four singles and one studio album.
As one of the most influential acts in the history of popular music. The group was so controversial that band members and fans were victims of physical attacks. Their debut single, which glorified groups that advocated violence against the government, caused workers to refuse to pack the single for shipping, resulted in cancelled concert dates, and prompted drummer Paul Cook’s mother to tell a London newspaper that her son was no longer welcome at home. The main tunesmith was Glen Matlock on Bass and the lyrics from Johnny Rotten on Vocals. Guitar was Steve Jones and on drums Paul Cook.
Run by Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood, who became the Sex Pistols’ manager and would-be Svengali, plotting their conquest of recession-era Britain using controversy and confrontation. Frontman Johnny Rotten had this to say about the Sex Pistols and the mainstream audience:
“The great ignorant public don’t know why we’re in a band. It’s because we’re bored with all that old crap. Like every decent human being should be.”
“Actually, we’re not into music, we’re into chaos,” opined guitarist Jones.
The Sex Pistols were signed and quickly dropped by two major labels, EMI and A&M, with only the brief release of “Anarchy” emerging from either. The negative publicity only enhanced their notoriety. A few words at a tea-time talk-show host resulted in screaming front-page headlines in the British press: “The Filth and the Fury!” and “Punk? Call It Filthy Lucre.”
The Sex Pistols shocked and scandalized the island nation, which was beleaguered by poverty, unemployment, workers’ strikes and the death of empire. The punks’ overt hostility, especially in the year of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee (1977), offended a country that had always taken pride in its mannerly ways
- 1977: Never Mind the Bollocks Here’s the Sex Pistols
- 1979: The Great Rock n Roll Swindle
- 1979: Some Product – Carri On Sex Pistols
- 1992: Kiss This
- 1996: NMTB / Spunk
- 1996: Filthy Lucre Live
- 2000: The Filth and the Fury
- 2002: Jubilee
- 2002: Sex Pistols Box Set
Sid & Nancy
Sid Vicious the bassist of the Sex Pistols and Girlfriend Nancy Spungen became inseparable. In an odd codependent way, each provided what the other craved. Besides being enthralled with the sex, Sid found a mother in bossy Nancy, and Nancy found someone who wanted to be bossed. They were made for each other. But eventually their relationship took precedence over everything else in their lives, including the Sex Pistols.
It wasn’t the first time he had used his guitar to beat her, an unidentified friend of the couple told the New York Post‘s Deborah Orin. But Nancy laughed it off in a phone conversation with her mother. As long as she was high, she felt no pain, but she failed to recognize the seriousness of such abuse.
Vicious now felt more vulnerable than ever. Though he already owned a collection of knives, he felt the need to have a larger weapon to protect himself from the street people who picked on him. Nancy bought him one. On Wednesday, October 11, 1978, Nancy purchased a five-inch folding hunting knife with a jaguar carved into the handle at a Times Square knife shop and gave it to Sid as a gift.
When Sid killed Nancy
“I did it because I’m a dirty dog,” he allegedly told police. Nancy Spungen’s body was removed from the Chelsea Hotel.
The next day at his bail hearing, Vicious could barely stand. He was dressed entirely in black and wore black shoes without socks. The proceedings took 10 minutes, and bail was set at $50,000. He was then taken to the prison facility at Riker’s Island.
Vicious was released on February 1, 1979, and he immediately went back to heroin, this time supplied by his mother, according the New York Post. At a party celebrating his release at Michelle Robinson’s Greenwich Village apartment, Vicious shot up and soon demanded more. His mother doled out another dose from her purse, and within 20 minutes he collapsed on the bed. Friends offered to take him to the hospital, but he refused to go. He drifted off and was left alone in the bedroom. Sometime during the night he woke up, found his mother’s purse, and took the rest of the heroin. The next morning he was found dead.