Founded, managed and, some would say, manipulated by clothes-designer, Malcolm McLaren, the Sex Pistols came sneering, snarling and spitting onto the music scene in 1976. Widely believed to have kicked off the punk movement, the original line-up consisted of Johnny Rotten, Steve Jones, Paul Cook and Glen Matlock. However, Matlock was fired from the band in ’77 and replaced by bassist, Sid Vicious, a diehard fan.
The British public couldn’t have been less prepared for the arrival of the Sex Pistols. While they quickly garnered a hardcore of fans, the older generations and‘establishment’ were appalled by their attitude, sound and behaviour.
While punk is often derided as an easy way out for musicians who can’t really play, the Pistols tunes are wonderfully constructed, even in their discord. Bodies, New York and Holidays in the Sun might be a challenging first-listen, but dig deep and you’ll hear some genuine, if untidy, musicianship at work.
However, the Pistols’ secret weapon was in the gaunt, scarecrow figure of JohnnyRotten. Nicknamed due to the poor state of his teeth, Rotten turned out to be a passionate, uncompromising and deft lyricist and a singular lead-singer. In true punk style, The Pistols’ two most notorious songs, Anarchy in the UK and God Save The Queen were written at the kitchen table in his parents’ flat. See what punk really looked like with our collection of Sex Pistols posters and pictures.