40 years ago this week, the Filth and the Fury came to its inevitable conclusion.
"I don't know why people think they need to spin those records backwards to hear something that will make them do crazy things. Every time my son puts on that Sex Pistols record, I want to go out and kill someone." – my mother, Mrs. Anna Brown.
The Sex Pistols, in their classic line up of Johnny Rotten (nee Lydon, getting his stage name for the condition of his teeth), Sid Vicious (John Ritchie, getting his stage name from a hamster), Paul Cook and Steve Jones, only lasted a little more than a year. Protegees of clothing store owner Malcolm McLaren, they literally brought the British media and government to its knees with songs that spoke directly to the horrible conditions of England during the mid 1970's: high unemployment, no hope, no future, union strife and cities that were falling apart as those with money seemed oblivious to it all.
The Sex Pistols, 1977. Photo courtesy of the BBC. (l-r) Vicious, Cook, Rotten and Jones.
They only recorded one LP, Never Mind the Bollocks. They did record more material, some of it ending up on a terrible cash cow soundtrack put together by McLaren after the band had called it a day, and some on bootlegs. Their recordings were banned by the BBC, their tour had to be done using a different name (SPOTS: Sex Pistols On Tour Secretly) and their brief U.S. Tour saw them play primarily places that were certain to cause problems, booked by their manager to play locations in the deep South. The last Sex Pistols live performance was on 14 January 1978 at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco.
There is so much myth about the band, and deservedly so: they weren't the first Punk band, but they definitely had the most impact; immediately in the U.K. at first, and then over a decade and a half later in the U.S., as Punk Rock finally became mainstream here and bands made truckloads of money never even thought about during the scene's late 70's heydey. These are the tracks that signalled the most radical shift in popular music since the Beatlemania in the 1960's.
Our tracks this week: Title, Source
1. Bodies, Never Mind the Bollocks*
2. Substitute, The Great Rock and Roll Swindle soundtrack
3. Liar, Never Mind the Bollocks
4. Roadrunner, The Great Rock and Roll Swindle soundtrack
5. Did You No Wrong, Spunk (bootleg)**
6. Watcha Gonna Do About It, Spunk (bootleg)**
7. Holidays In The Sun, Never Mind the Bollocks
8. Satellite, Spunk (bootleg)**
9. God Save The Queen, Never Mind the Bollocks
10. Pretty Vacant, Never Mind the Bollocks
11. Don't Give Me No Lip Child, "God Save The Queen" single B-side
12. Johnny B. Goode, The Great Rock and Roll Swindle soundtrack
13. Problems, Never Mind the Bollocks
14. (I'm Not Your're) Stepping Stone, The Great Rock and Roll Swindle soundtrack
15. No Feelings, Never Mind the Bollocks
16. I Wanna Be Me, Spunk (bootleg)**
17. Belsen Was A Gas, Live at Winterland 1978*
18. Anarchy In the U.K., original, unused mix by Sex Pistols soundman Dave Goodman**
All tracks, Steve Jones on bass except *Sid Vicious on bass and **Glen Matlock on bass.
Love to you all.
Ben "Bear" Brown Jr., owner
Ace of Spades PDX
For some perspective, Steve Jones talks about the brief career of The Sex Pistols.