The Sex Pistols were an English punk rock band that formed in London in They were responsible for initiating the punk movement in the United Kingdom and inspiring many later punk and alternative rock musicians. Although their initial career lasted just two and a half years and produced only four singles and one studio album, Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols , they are regarded as one of the most influential acts in the history of popular music. Matlock was replaced by Sid Vicious in early Under the management of Malcolm McLaren , the band attracted controversies that both captivated and appalled Britain.
Through an obscenity-laced television interview in December and their May single " God Save the Queen ", attacking Britons' social conformity and deference to the Crown, they precipitated the punk rock movement. In January , at the end of an over-hyped and turbulent tour of the United States, Rotten announced the band's break-up.
Vicious died of a heroin overdose in February , following his arrest for the alleged murder of his girlfriend. Rotten, Jones, Cook and Matlock briefly reunited for a concert tour in On 24 February , the Sex Pistols—the four original members plus Vicious—were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame , but they refused to attend the ceremony, calling the museum "a piss stain". According to a later account by Jones, both he and Cook played on instruments they had stolen. It had been renamed in to focus on another revival trend, the rocker look associated with Marlon Brando.
In early , Jones asked McLaren to manage the Strand. Effectively agreeing, McLaren paid for their first formal rehearsal space. Glen Matlock , an art student who occasionally worked at Too Fast to Live, Too Young to Die, was recruited as the band's regular bassist.
The group had been rehearsing regularly, overseen by McLaren's friend Bernard Rhodes , and had performed publicly for the first time. Soon after McLaren's return, Nightingale was kicked out of the band and Jones, uncomfortable as frontman, took over guitar duties.
When those plans fell through, McLaren, Rhodes and the band began looking locally for a new member to assume the lead vocal duties. I thought he had a really interesting face.
I liked his look. John had something special, but when he started talking he was a real arsehole—but smart. Though the performance drove the band members to laughter, McLaren convinced them to start rehearsing with Lydon. Early Seventies Britain was a very depressing place. It was completely run-down, there was trash on the streets, total unemployment—just about everybody was on strike. Everybody was brought up with an education system that told you point blank that if you came from the wrong side of the tracks Out of that came pretentious moi and the Sex Pistols and then a whole bunch of copycat wankers after us.
That has to go,'" Lydon later explained. Cook, who had a full-time job he was loath to give up, was making noises about quitting. According to Matlock's later description, Cook "created a smokescreen" by claiming Jones was not skilled enough to be the band's sole guitarist. Not older than Not worse looking than Johnny Thunders " referring to a leading member of the New York punk scene. Jones was improving rapidly, however, and the band's developing sound had no room for the technical lead work at which New was adept.
He departed after a month. Lydon had been rechristened "Johnny Rotten" by Jones, apparently because of his bad dental hygiene. Not given to modesty, false or otherwise, he added: "[I] launched the idea in the form of a band of kids who could be perceived as being bad. Their first gig was arranged by Matlock, who was studying at Saint Martins College. The band played at the school on 6 November ,  in support of a pub rock group called Bazooka Joe , arranging to use their amps and drums. Before the Pistols could play the few original songs they had written to date, Bazooka Joe pulled the plugs as they saw their gear being trashed.
A brief physical altercation between members of the two bands took place on stage. The Saint Martins gig was followed by other performances at colleges and art schools around London. The Sex Pistols' core group of followers—including Siouxsie Sioux , Steven Severin and Billy Idol , who eventually formed bands of their own, as well as Jordan and Soo Catwoman —came to be known as the Bromley Contingent , after the suburban borough several were from. They were both captivated by the May radical uprising in Paris , particularly by the ideology and agitations of the Situationists , as well as the anarchist thought of Buenaventura Durruti and others.
These interests were shared with Jamie Reid , an old friend of McLaren who began producing publicity material for the Sex Pistols in the spring of The first Sex Pistols gig to attract broader attention was as a supporting act for Eddie and the Hot Rods , a leading pub rock group, at the Marquee on 12 February Rotten "was now really pushing the barriers of performance, walking off stage, sitting with the audience, throwing Jordan across the dance floor and chucking chairs around, before smashing some of Eddie and the Hot Rods' gear.
We're into chaos. After chatting with McLaren at Sex, they saw the band at a couple of late February gigs. The Pistols were soon playing other important venues, debuting at Oxford Street 's Club on 30 March. The pub rock group's lead singer, Joe Strummer , saw the Pistols for the first time that night—and recognised punk rock as the future. Westwood provided that by instigating a fight with another audience member; McLaren and Rotten were soon involved in the melee. I think everybody was ready to go and we were the catalyst.
On 23 April, as well, the debut album by the leading punk rock band in the New York scene, the Ramones , was released. Though it is regarded as seminal to the growth of punk rock in England and elsewhere, Lydon has repeatedly rejected any suggestion that it influenced the Sex Pistols: "[The Ramones] were all long-haired and of no interest to me.
I didn't like their image, what they stood for, or anything about them";  "They were hilarious but you can only go so far with 'duh-dur-dur-duh'. I've heard it. Move on. On 4 and 6 July, respectively, two newly formed London punk rock acts, the Clash —with Strummer as lead vocalist—and the Damned , made their live debuts opening for the Sex Pistols.
On their off night in between, the Pistols despite Lydon's later professed disdain showed up for a Ramones gig at Dingwalls , like virtually everyone else at the heart of the London punk scene.
According to Jon Savage, "there seems little doubt that Lydon was fed material by Vivienne Westwood and Jamie Reid, which he then converted into his own lyric. Scheduled to perform just one song, "Anarchy in the U. The Bromley Contingent made the trip and Siouxsie Sioux was hassled by locals due to her outfit with bare breasts. Organised by McLaren for whom the word "festival" had too much of a hippie connotation , the event was "considered the moment that was the catalyst for the years to come. As later described by Matlock, "The idea was to get the spirit of the live performance.
We were pressurized to make it faster and faster. Rotten's howls of "I am an anti-Christ" and "Destroy! Reid and McLaren came up with the notion of selling the record in a completely wordless, featureless black sleeve. This and other images created by Reid for the Sex Pistols quickly became punk icons.
The Sex Pistols' behaviour, as much as their music, brought them national attention. On 1 December , 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 , who had dropped out due to Freddie Mercury having a dental appointment,  the band and their entourage were offered drinks as they waited to go on air. During the interview, Jones said the band had "fucking spent" its label advance and Rotten used the word "shit".
Host Bill Grundy , who had earlier claimed to be drunk, engaged in repartee with Siouxsie Sioux , who declared that she had "always wanted to meet" him. Grundy responded, "Did you really? We'll meet afterwards, shall we? Although the programme was broadcast only in the London region, the ensuing furore occupied the tabloid newspapers for days.
The episode made the band household names throughout the country and brought punk into mainstream awareness. The Damned were briefly part of the tour, before McLaren kicked them off. Media coverage was intense, and many of the concerts were cancelled by organisers or local authorities; of approximately twenty scheduled gigs, only about seven actually took place.
The worst of the punk rock groups I suppose currently are the Sex Pistols. They are unbelievably nauseating. They are the antithesis of humankind. I would like to see somebody dig a very, very large, exceedingly deep hole and drop the whole bloody lot down it. Following the end of the tour in late December, three concerts were arranged in the Netherlands for January The band, hungover, boarded a plane at London Heathrow Airport early on 4 January; a few hours later, the Evening News was reporting that the band had "vomited and spat their way" to the flight.
In February , word leaked out that Matlock was leaving the Sex Pistols. He claimed that Matlock had been "thrown out The Beatles was too much. His mum didn't like the songs. He said it declared us fascists. He was also credited with introducing the pogo dance to the scene at the Club. John Robb claims it was at the first Sex Pistols residency gig, 11 May ; Matlock is convinced it happened during the second night of the Club Punk Special in September, when the Pistols were off playing in Wales. He always thought of it in terms of opposing camps".
The other two just thought he was crazy. Pogoing aside, Vicious had been involved in a notorious incident during that memorable second night of the Club Punk Special. Arrested for hurling a glass at The Damned that shattered and blinded a girl in one eye, he had served time in a remand centre—and contributed to the Club banning all punk bands. He was the knight in shining armour with a giant fist. Sid really tried hard and rehearsed a lot". It would just be for the sensationalism and scandal of it all.
Then it became the Malcolm McLaren story".