Sex pistols

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Sex pistols

Sex Pistols 1977
Sex Pistols 1977
General information
origin London , England
Genre (s) Punk rock
founding 1975, 1996, 2002, 2007
resolution 1978, 2001, 2004, 2009
Founding members
Johnny Rotten (John Lydon)
Steve Jones
Glen Matlock (until 1977, since 1996)
Paul Cook
Later members
Sid Vicious (John Ritchie) (1977-1978)
Chart positions
Explanation of the data
Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols
  DE 77 05.10.2012 (1 week)
  UK 1Template: Infobox chart placements / maintenance / NR1 link
Double platinum
× 2
Double platinum
11/12/1977 (76 weeks)
  US 106 
December 10, 1977 (12 weeks)
The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle
  UK 7th 
03/10/1979 (33 weeks)
Some Product Carri On Sex Pistols
  UK 6th 
08/11/1979 (10 weeks)
Flogging a dead horse
  UK 23 
February 16, 1980 (6 weeks)
Kiss This
  UK 10 
10/17/1992 (4 weeks)
Filthy Lucre Live
  UK 26th 08/10/1996 (3 weeks)
Jubilee (Best of)
  UK 29 
06/15/2002 (3 weeks)
God Save
  UK 97 04/05/2017 (1 week)
Anarchy in the UK
  UK 38 December 18, 1976 (4 weeks)
God Save the Queen
  UK 2 
06/04/1977 (9 weeks)
Pretty Vacant
  UK 6th 
07/09/1977 (8 weeks)
Holidays in the Sun
  UK 8th 10/22/1977 (6 weeks)
No One Is Innocent / My Way
  UK 7th 07/08/1978 (10 weeks)
Something Else / Friggin 'in the Riggin'
  UK 3 
03/03/1979 (12 weeks)
Silly Thing / Who Killed Bambi?
  UK 6th 
04/07/1979 (8 weeks)
C'mon Everybody
  UK 3 
06/30/1979 (9 weeks)
The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle / Rock Around the Clock
  UK 21st 10/13/1979 (6 weeks)
(I'm Not Your) Stepping Stone
  UK 21st 06/14/1980 (8 weeks)
Anarchy in the UK (re-release)
  UK 33 10/03/1992 (3 weeks)
Pretty Vacant (re-release)
  UK 56 05.12.1992 (2 weeks)
Pretty Vacant (Live)
  UK 18th 07/27/1996 (3 weeks)
God Save the Queen (Remix)
  UK 15th 06/08/2002 (3 weeks)
Holidays in the Sun (re-release)
  UK 74 03/11/2007 (2 weeks)

The Sex Pistols are one of the most famous English punk bands of the second half of the 1970s. The band members are John "Johnny Rotten" Lydon , Steve Jones , Paul Cook and Glen Matlock , who was replaced in 1977 and 1978 by Sid Vicious . Other important people around the Sex Pistols were their manager Malcolm McLaren , who claimed to have created the band and made it famous, the designer Vivienne Westwood , the director Julien Temple , who made three films about them, and the graphic artist Jamie Reid .


Prehistory (1973-1975)

The band's origins go back to 1973 when college friends Steve Jones, Paul Cook and Warwick Nightingale decided to start a band with stolen equipment. In June 1974, Glen Matlock joined as a permanent bassist, and the as yet nameless group made their first appearance at a party in early 1975.

In June 1975 guitarist Nightingale, who had written the first original song Did You No Wrong , was kicked out of the band, Steve Jones switched from singing to guitar, and a new singer was found in John Lydon in late August 1975.

Sex Pistols (1975-1977)

The band spent the autumn rehearsing intensively and performed for the first time on November 5, 1975 under the new name Sex Pistols . Most of the songwriting was done by Glen Matlock, while Steve Jones' job was to compress Matlock's ideas into the tightest and most aggressive arrangements possible. John Lydon took over the writing of the lyrics (except for the song Pretty Vacant , which was entirely from Glen Matlock).

After their appearance at the " 100 Club Punk Festival" (September 1976) they got a contract with the record company EMI . Their first single, Anarchy in the UK , was released in November 1976. After a provocative television appearance on ITV , EMI withdrew the single and on January 6, 1977 the contract with the band was canceled. Because of constant quarrels with John Lydon, Glen Matlock left the group in February 1977 and was replaced by Sid Vicious , who had the right image, but had only rudimentary knowledge as a bassist. As a result, the bass lines were recorded in the studio by guitarist Steve Jones.

The second single, God Save the Queen , should first be released by A&M , where the band had been under contract since March 10th. The single was pulped again before the release and this contract was also canceled by the label. Rich in severance payments, but with no record releases available, the band finally signed with the hated hippie label Virgin , where God Save the Queen was released on May 27, 1977 just in time for the Queen's silver jubilee . The single was reportedly number 1 in the English charts, but was only number 2 on the official lists, allegedly because of royalist loyalty of those responsible. The single also got a lot of attention when the band rented a boat for the Queen's birthday in 1977 (which was called "Queen Elizabeth"), on which they gave a concert at full volume in the middle of the Thames in front of journalists and invited guests. The boat was seized by the water police and most of the passengers arrested, but the band itself escaped. However, the publicity retaliated in the weeks that followed when members of the band were ambushed by royalists.

To escape the heated atmosphere in England, the Sex Pistols went on a short tour of Scandinavia. An England tour followed, albeit under the pseudonym SPOTS (Sex Pistols On Tour Secretly), in order to bypass performance bans. In November 1977, the only studio album, Never Mind the Bollocks, was released, Here's the Sex Pistols . A lawsuit allegedly profaning the title was dismissed.

The memory of World War II was still very much alive in British society in the 1970s. For this reason, the Sex Pistols - like other punk bands - also resorted to Nazi symbolism in their attempt to provoke, for example by wearing swastikas. Although it is clear today that the band never adhered to the National Socialist ideology, these irritations continue to this day; In 2007, for example, the Bell Canada company withdrew an advertising campaign in which a pin with the title of the Sex Pistols song Belsen Was a Gas (German: Bergen-Belsen was fun! ) was shown.

After a few concerts in the Netherlands - the beginning of a planned multinational tour - the band set out on a Never Mind the Bans tour of Great Britain in December 1977 . Of eight scheduled appointments, four were canceled due to illness or political pressure. On Christmas Day, the Sex Pistols played two shows at Ivanhoe's in Huddersfield . Before the regular evening concert, the band organized a benefit matinee for the children of "fire fighters from the area, laid-off workers and one-parent families". They played 6 songs and left out the indecent words because of the children. These were the band's last UK appearances for over 18 years.

Dissolution (1978)

In early 1978 the Sex Pistols went on a US tour, at the end of which Johnny Rotten left the band after a falling out with the manager Malcolm McLaren. As a result, the rest of the band stayed together for a short time before they finally separated.

After the Sex Pistols

Rotten, who called himself Lydon again, founded Public Image Ltd. (1978–1992), Jones and Cook the band The Professionals (1979–1982). Before that they had tried to play with Jimmy Pursey , the singer of Sham 69 , in a band called Sham Pistols , which soon failed.

Malcolm McLaren processed the band's history in the partly fictional, partly autobiographical mockumentary film The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle , with which he used up the band's income. He was successfully sued by the surviving band members in the 1980s. He later used the beginnings of rap and hip-hop for a solo career.

Glen Matlock founded the Rich Kids (1977-1979), and Sid Vicious set out for a solo career and became part of the New York heroin scene. With his version of the Frank Sinatra song My Way , he even had chart successes. In late 1978, however, he was charged in New York with murdering his girlfriend Nancy Spungen , but died of a heroin overdose on February 2, 1979 before the trial.
On December 25, 1979, Steve Jones and Paul Cook played four songs live (
Slippin And Slidin / Roadrunner / No Fun / Bodies ) together with Billy Idol (vocals) and Martin Glover (bass) as part of a Christmas party in Studio 21 in London were announced as Sex Pistols by the organizer Jock McDonald . In 1986, McDonald released a Bollock Brothers studio album , 77-78-79 , which he falsely claimed to be a recording of that final "Sex Pistols" performance.

Reunion (since 1996)

On March 16, 1996, the four original members of the Sex Pistols gave a press conference in London and announced their intention to perform together again. This was followed by a world tour (72 concerts between July and December 1996), after which the band separated again.

On July 27, 2002, the Sex Pistols gave a concert for the 50th anniversary of the Queen's throne, followed by a festival appearance in California on September 14, 2002.

In August and September 2003 they gave eleven concerts in the USA and Canada.

On March 13, 2006, they were officially inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame against their will . The band strictly refused to participate in the ceremony.

In June 2007 John Lydon , Steve Jones and Paul Cook went to The Boat Recording Studio in Los Angeles with producer Chris Thomas and recorded new studio versions of the songs "Anarchy in the UK" and Pretty Vacant for the video game Guitar Hero III .

Sex Pistols live 2007

For the 30th anniversary of the album Never Mind The Bollocks , the Sex Pistols made eight appearances in Los Angeles and Great Britain in October and November 2007 . One of the concerts was filmed by director Julien Temple and released on DVD under the title Sex Pistols - There'll Always Be An England .

Opposite journalist Clive Prior (MOJO magazine, January 2008), John Lydon and Steve Jones no longer ruled out the possibility of a new studio album. Steve Jones : “I personally would like to record a few new songs. I've been pushing for years. I think it could be soon. "John Lydon:" I used to say that I would never record material with this band again. But if things continue to go so well and we get along so well, I wouldn't say no anymore, because it's really exciting. " Paul Cook told on January 16, 2008:" We might get a whole album not together, but hopefully there will be a few new things in time for the summer. ”John Lydon confirmed to the press on June 16, 2008 once again the possibility of a new studio album.

In the summer of 2008 the Sex Pistols completed a world tour with 31 concerts.



The Sex Pistols are considered one of the essential bands of English punk. The band themselves rejected the label "punk" for themselves, however. Simple chords, straight bass lines, fast, hard drums, as they are still to be found as a form of music in today's punk bands, were rather developed by other bands such as the Ramones or the Buzzcocks from Manchester . In addition to the music, the provocative lyrics and the shocking demeanor of the Sex Pistols in particular contributed to the fact that punk became the defining music and cultural movement of the late 1970s and that she herself became its icon .

The Rolling Stone listed the Pistols ranked 60 of the 100 greatest players of all time .


Studio album


Concert albums

  • The Original Pistols Live (11 tracks Live in Burton on Trent, 76 club, September 24, 1976) Trojan Sales Ltd. / Receiver Records Ltd. 1985
  • The Best of the Sex Pistols Live (Bootleg) BOND 007 Bondage Records (circa 1986)
    • Live at Burton on Trent, 76 club, September 24, 1976 (Track 01-07)
    • Live in San Francisco, Winterland, January 14, 1978 (Track 08–15)
  • Power of the Pistols (Bootleg) 77 Records 772 (circa 1986)
    • Live in Halmstad, Sweden, July 15, 1977 (Track 01-06)
    • Live in Atlanta, USA, January 5, 1978 (Track 07-12)
  • The Best of & the Rest of Original Pistols Live (11 Tracks Live in Burton on Trent, 76 club, September 24, 1976) Trojan Sales Ltd. / CDAR1008 Action Replay Records Ltd. 1989
  • Live and loud !! (Bootleg) (13 tracks Live in San Francisco, Winterland, January 14, 1978) Link Records and Music Ltd. 1989
  • No Feelings (The Live Experience) - GDR CD 9123 Great Dane Records, April 1991
  • Live in Trondheim (live recording from July 21, 1977 - CD2 of the Kiss This Limited Edition 2-CD set) - Virgin Records 1992
  • Last Concert (13 Tracks Live in San Francisco, Winterland, January 14, 1978) - Living Legends Records 1991 / Multi Colored Music 1992
  • Winterland Concert 1978 (14 tracks Live in San Francisco, Winterland, January 14, 1978) - Sex Pistols Residuals / Castle Communications 1996
  • Filthy Lucre Live (Reunion Tour - Live in London, Finsbury Park, July 15, 1996) - Virgin Records 1996
  • Sex Pistols & Sid Vicious LIVE - Belly Media / Order No. 1138-122 Arena Records
  • Sid Vicious & Friends - Sid Vicious Lives - BMG / REDTK123 Dressed To Kill 1999
  • The 76 Club (the complete Burton-On-Trent recordings) (15 Tracks Live in Burton on Trent, 76 club, September 24, 1976) - ALMAFAME 1999
  • Live in Chelmsford Prison (Live in Chelmsford, HM Prison, September 17, 1976) - Jade Music / Sanctuary Records / Castle Music / ESMCD 923, Essential 2000
  • Anarchy in the UK - Live at the 76 Club (15 tracks Live in Burton on Trent, 76 club, September 24, 1976) - PLATCD 721 Prism Leisure Group 2001
  • Live '76 (4-CD or 4-LP box) - Sex Pistols Residuals / Universal 2016
    • CD1: Manchester, Lesser Free Trade Hall, June 4th 1976
    • CD2: Islington, Screen on the Green, Aug 29, 1976
    • CD3: Chelmsford, HM Prison, September 17, 1976
    • CD4: Burton on Trent, 76 Club, September 24, 1976

Compilations and rarities

  • Spunk (Illegal LP with demo recordings) - 1977 (officially released on Castle Records in 2006 as CD CMRCD1376)
  • The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle - Virgin Records 1979
  • Some Product (Carri On Sex Pistols) (collage of interviews and radio broadcasts) - Virgin Records 1979
  • Flogging a Dead Horse (Singles Compilation) - Virgin Records 1979
  • The Heyday (tape with interviews) - 1979
  • No Feelings, No Fun (live recordings and studio demos)
  • Cash from Chaos - SPCFC 102
  • The Mini Album - Luanda Music UK 1985
  • The 10th Anniversary Album - MBC 1986
  • We Have Cum for Your Children. Wanted - The Goodman Tapes (demos and live recordings produced / mixed by Dave Goodman ) - Luanda Music UK 1988
  • No Future UK? / Spunk - Jade Music Co. 1989
  • Kiss This (band authorized compilation) - Virgin Records 1992
  • Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols / Spunk - Virgin Records 1996
    • CD1 Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols
    • CD2 Spunk and Spedding Demos
  • Anarchy in the USA (Best of Kompilation) - MBC Records 2001
  • Jubilee (14-track compilation plus 3 video clips) - Sex Pistols Residuals / Virgin Records 2002
  • Sex Pistols (3-CD box) - Sex Pistols Residuals / Virgin Records 2002
    • CD1: Studio Tracks & Early Demos (Majestic Studios Demo Session May 1976)
    • CD2: Demos & Rarities (Denmark Street, Wessex Studios, Manchester Square, Gooseberry Studios)
    • CD3: Live at Screen on the Green '76, plus live rarities
  • Live & Rare (double LP) - 2004
  • Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols (Remastered) Also released as a Deluxe Edition (double CD) and as a Limited Super Deluxe Edition in LP box format with 3 CD, 1 DVD, 100-page illustrated book, poster, A&M replica -Vinylsingle "God Save the Queen" a. a.) - Sex Pistols Residuals / Universal 2012
    • Deluxe Edition CD1: The Original Album (Remastered from the original master tapes) + B-Sides
    • Deluxe Edition CD2: Live 1977 (Stockholm / Sweden, Happy House, July 28th 1977 + Penzance / Cornwall, Winter Gardens, September 1st 1977)
  • The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle (Remastered) - Sex Pistols Residuals / Universal 2012
  • Sex pistols. Studio Sessions, Live Gigs & Rarities (3-CD-Set MBB7149) - Music Brokers 2013

Video albums

  • Sex Pistols - Live at the Longhorn - Live in Dallas, Texas, Longhorn Ballroom - January 10, 1978. (Sanctuary Records 1995, SVEM035) 45 min.
  • Sex Pistols - Live in Concert 1978 - Live in Dallas, Texas, Longhorn Ballroom - January 10, 1978. (Laser Media / Intermedia Ltd., LM041) 36 min.
  • The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle - Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren's film about the band; Mixture of documentary and feature film. (1980) 101 min. (UK:goldgold)
  • The Filth and the Fury - Documentary by Julien Temple with interviews, archive material and concert excerpts. (Film Four, 2000)
  • Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols ... the definitive authorized story of the album - film about the making of the album. (Eagle Vision 2002, EREDV282) 100 min.
  • Punk Icons: The Sex Pistols - The Ultimate Review with Glen Matlock - Film about the history of the band (Music Reviews Ltd. 2005, CRP1990) 59 min.
  • Sex Pistols - There'll Always Be An England - Julien Temple concert film (Fremantle Home Entertainment, 2008)


  • Fred Vermorel, Judy Vermorel: Sex Pistols - The Inside Story Omnibus Press, 1978, 1987, ISBN 0 426 18585 4 .
  • Julie Burchill, Tony Parsons: The Boy Looked at Johnny Pluto Press, 1978, ISBN 0 861 04030 9 .
  • Ray Stevenson: The Sex Pistols File Omnibus Press, 1978, ISBN 0 860 01464 9 .
  • Dennis Morris: Rebel Rock Omnibus Press, 1985, ISBN 0 711 9078 97 .
  • Dave Thomas : Johnny Rotten in His Own Words (Omnibus Press, 1988).
  • Lee Wood: The Sex Pistols Diary - Day by Day (Omnibus Press, 1988).
  • Glen Matlock , Pete Silverton: I Was a Teenage Sex Pistol (Omnibus Press, 1990) (greatly expanded reissue: Reynolds & Hearn, 2006).
  • Bob Gruen : Chaos! (Omnibus Press, 1990).
  • Jon Savage: England's Dreaming (Faber & Faber, 1991).
  • Keith Bateson, Alan Parker: Sid's Way (Omnibus Press, 1991).
  • Noel Monk: 12 Days on the Road (HarperCollins, 1992).
  • John Lydon : Rotten - No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs (Hodder & Stoughton, 1994).
  • David Dalton: El Sid (St. Martin's Press, 1997).
  • Malcolm Butt: Sid Vicious Rock 'n' Roll Star (Plexus Publishing, 1997).
  • Géant Vert: Les Sex Pistols (Alternatives et Parallèles, 1998).
  • Clinton Heylin: Never Mind the Bollocks (Penguin Books, 1998).
  • Paul Burgess, Alan Parker: Satellite (Abstract Sounds, 1999).
  • Julien Temple: Sex Pistols - The Filth and the Fury (St. Martin's Press, 2000).
  • Gavin Walsh: God Save the Sex Pistols (Plexus Publishing, 2002).
  • Dennis Morris: Destroy (Creation Books, 2002).
  • Alan Parker: Vicious - Too Fast to Live ... (Creation Books, 2004).
  • Jeff Bench: Rex Collections - The Sex Pistols (Reynolds & Hearn, 2005).
  • David Nolan: I Swear I Was There - The Gig That Changed the World (IMP, 2006).
  • Joel McIver: Sex Pistols - The Making of "The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle" (Unanimous Ltd., 2006).
  • Rob Johnstone (Ed.): John Lydon - Stories of Johnny: A Compendium of Thoughts on The Icon of an Era (Chrome Dreams, 2006).
  • Brian Southall: Sex Pistols - 90 Days at EMI (Omnibus Press, 2007).
  • Alan Parker: Sid Vicious - No One Is Innocent (Orion Books, 2007).
  • Dave Goodman: My Amazing Adventures with the Sex Pistols (The Bluecoat Press, 2007).
  • Francisco J. Satue: Sex Pistols (Ediciones Catedra SA, 2007).
  • John Robb: Punk Rock: An Oral History (Ebury Press, 2007).
  • Jim McCarthy, Steve Parkhouse: Sex Pistols - The Graphic Novel (Omnibus Press, 2008).
  • John Lydon: Anger Is an Energy - my life uncensored. Wilhelm Heyne Verlag, Munich 2014, ISBN 978-3-453-26977-4 .
  • Vivienne Westwood , Ian Kelly: Vivienne Westwood Bastei Lübbe, Cologne 2014, ISBN 978-3-8479-0571-4 .
  • Steve Jones , Ben Thompson: Lonely Boy Windmill Books, London 2016, ISBN 978-0-0995-1053-6 , (English).
  • Sex Pistols: Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols, The Bollocks Diaries , Octopus Publishing Group Ltd London 2017, ISBN 978-1-78840-027-5 , (English).

Web links

Commons : Sex Pistols  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b Chart sources: UK US
  2. a b Music Sales Awards: UK US
  3. Importance of Gas
  4. Bell pulls ad with reference to Holocaust, apologizes , CBC News, September 14, 2007
  5. Savage, Jon, England's Dreaming , pp. 428-429.
  6. Anorak: The 1977 Sex Pistols Christmas Party and Huddersfield Cake Fight. In: September 11, 2013, accessed December 6, 2019 .
  7. ^ Sex Pistols: Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols, The Bollocks Diaries, p. 87.
  8. ^ Robb, John, Punk Rock , p. 403.
  9. Paolo Hewitt: White Christmas . In: Melody Maker January 5, 1980, page 7.
  10. 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. Rolling Stone , December 2, 2010, accessed August 8, 2017 .