Sex Pistols

  • 09 June 2004

Band form


Band disban


The Sex Pistols (formed 1975) The Sex Pistols are an English punk band, formed in London. The band originally consisted of Johnny Rotten on vocals (b. John Lydon), Steve Jones on guitar, Paul Cook on drums and Glen Matlock on bass. Matlock was later replaced by Sid Vicious (b. John Simon Ritchie).

Formation: Steve Jones and Paul Cook were originally members of the band The Strand. They hung out at Don Lett's Acme Attractions and Let It Rock, a clothes shop owned by Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood. Other punk stars known to hang out there were Soo Catwoman, Mick Jones of The Clash, Jah Wobble, Marco Pirroni and Captain Sensible.

McLaren took over the management of the band and recruited Matlock and Rotten in 1975. Rotten was chosen after miming along to Alice Cooper's 'I'm Eighteen' on the shop jukebox. Even at this early stage, the band had a group of followers known as the Bromley Contingent, which included Steve Severin, Siouxsie Sioux and Billy Idol in their number.

Glen Matlock arranged the band's first gig as The Sex Pistols, at St. Martins College. The band was unable to finish their set before the plug was pulled on them.

Rise to Notoriety: In 1976, the band started playing at bigger venues, including the 100 Club and the Nashville club in London. The band's first major gig outside of London was at Manchester's Lesser Free Trade Hall. Arranged by Howard Devoto and Pete Shelley (later of the Buzzcocks), many attendants of the gig went on to form their own punk bands.

In 1976, the Sex Pistols signed to EMI. Their debut single 'Anarchy in the UK' was released that November. The next month, they were invited as last minute guests of Bill Grundy's Today show. Along with members of the Bromley Contingent, they caused a national uproar by swearing on the live, early evening broadcast. EMI released the band from their contract in January 1977.

Glen Matlock left the band in February 1977 and was replaced by Sid Vicious, who had previously played drums in Siouxsie & The Banshees. Vicious was selected on account of his image and was barely able to play his bass guitar. His amp was often turned off during live gigs and most recordings were done by Matlock or Jones.

In March 1977, the band signed to A&M Records, only to have the contract withdrawn six days later. Their final deal was signed with Virgin Records in May 1977.

The band's second single 'God Save the Queen' was banned by the BBC, but failed to stop the single reaching number two in the UK singles chart, the same week of Queen Elizabeth's Silver Jubilee.

The band's debut album, Never Mind The Bollocks: Here's the Sex Pistols was released in October 1977.

The Demise: In 1978, a tour of the USA proved to be too much for the band. Plagued by in-fighting, receiving negative responses from their audiences and with Sid Vicious' heroin addiction spiraling out of control, the tour descended into chaos.

The band's final gig was at San Francisco's Winterland Ballroom. They performed one song: a cover of Iggy & the Stooges' 'No Fun' before Rotten asked the audience "ever get the feeling you've been cheated?" and walked offstage.

After the Break-up: Johnny Rotten reverted to his original name, John Lydon and formed Public Image Ltd with Keith Levene and Jah Wobble.

Sid Vicious' girlfriend Nancy Spungen was found dead on 12th October 1978, in the Chelsea Hotel. The cause of death was stab wounds to her stomach. Vicious was charged with her murder, as well as assaulting Patti Smith's brother, Todd Smith, with a beer glass. When released on bail, on 2nd February 1979, Sid died of a heroin overdose, aged 21. He never stood trial for the murder.

Reunions: The band have staged a number of comeback gigs. Firstly, in 1996, the original four members played the six-month, worldwide Filthy Lucre Tour. In 2003, they toured North America, for their Piss Off tour. They then played five gigs in the UK in 2007 and announced a series of festival appearances (the Combine Harvester Tour) in 2008.

From Love & Mercy To Sid & Nancy: 7 Best Musical Biopics Of All Time

By Holly Mosley in Movies / TV / Theatre on 08 September 2018

Brian Wilson Paul Dano Ice Cube Sam Riley JOY DIVISION Sex Pistols Johnny Cash Chadwick Boseman Bob Dylan

Some of the most explorative biopics ever made.

Here at Contactmusic, we can't get enough of a good musical biopic whether it's 'The Runaways', 'The Doors' or 'Nowhere Boy' - the list is endless. There are only a handful, however, that make for a truly evocative and memorable experience of some of the most influential artists in the world.

Here are our seven favourite musical biopics of all time:

Image caption John Lydon seen outside the ITV Studios

While promoting his limited edition artistic endeavour entitled 'Mr Rotten's Songbook', the former Sex Pistols star opened up about his feelings on America's leader, himself being a US citizen despite having been born and raised in London.

Continue reading: Why You Shouldn't Be Surprised That Johnny Rotten Is Defending Donald Trump

Sex Pistols Memorabilia Up In Flames For 'Burn Punk London' Movement

By Holly Williams in Music / Festivals on 28 November 2016

Sex Pistols

Son of Sex Pistols manager in protest over Punk London events.

Joe Corré - the son of Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood - has burned an estimated £5 million worth of punk memorabilia during a protest in London, to show his antipathy towards the 40th anniversary celebratory events going on in the city in tribute to the Sex Pistols' debut single.

Image caption Sex Pistols memorabilia burned by Joe Corre

The protest took place on Saturday (November 26th 2016) on a barge at Cadogan Pier and included setting fire to effigies of former Prime Minister David Cameron, former Major of London Boris Johnson, current Prime Minister Theresa May and Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt, labelling them 'a new band: EXTINCTION!'. His mother, highly respected fashion designer Vivienne Westwood, showed her support for her son at the event.

Continue reading: Sex Pistols Memorabilia Up In Flames For 'Burn Punk London' Movement

Graffiti-Filled Former Sex Pistols Home Given Grade 2 Listed Status

By Stephanie Chase in Music / Festivals on 22 March 2016

Sex Pistols John Lydon Malcolm McLaren

The building contains cartoon drawings done by John Lydon in the early days of the band.

A London building, which was once home to the Sex Pistols in the mid-1970s, has been awarded Grade 2* Listed Status by heritage body Historic England. Number 6 and 7 Denmark Street in Tin Pan Alley have both been given the second highest form of listing and will be persevered, despite the redevelopment currently happening in the area.

Image caption The Sex Pistols’ former home is now a listed building.

The building, a former silversmith’s workshop attached to a townhouse, was graffitied by Sex Pistols frontman John Lydon after he moved in during the mid-1970s. Lydon’s graffiti includes a drawing of the band’s manager Malcolm McLaren, holding a wad of cash and captioned “Muggerage”.

Continue reading: Graffiti-Filled Former Sex Pistols Home Given Grade 2 Listed Status

John Lydon Claims He Was Banned From The BBC Because He Spoke Out About Jimmy Savile

By Ed Biggs in Music / Festivals on 24 September 2015

John Lydon Sex Pistols Piers Morgan

The former Sex Pistols singer believes that the BBC banned him because he had threatened to reveal Savile's behaviour back in 1978.

John Lydon has said that his ban from BBC radio for speaking out against Jimmy Savile at the start of his career still rankles with him nearly forty years later.

Lydon, the former lead singer of punk icons the Sex Pistols and now the post-punk veterans Public Image Ltd., gave an interview back in 1978 in which he said the disgraced former presenter Savile was “into all sorts of seediness. We all know about it but we’re not allowed to talk about it. I know some rumours.”

Speaking to Piers Morgan for his 'Life Stories' show, the 59 year old said: “I’m very, very bitter that the likes of Savile and the rest of them were allowed to continue. I did my bit, I said what I had to. But they didn’t air that.”

Continue reading: John Lydon Claims He Was Banned From The BBC Because He Spoke Out About Jimmy Savile

Ever Get The Feeling You've Been Cheated? The Soul Of Punk Dies As Sex Pistols Credit Cards Are Unveiled

By Ed Biggs in Bizarre / Weird Wonderful on 10 June 2015

Sex Pistols Richard Branson John Lydon

The iconic punk band's name and artwork adorns the designs of three new Virgin Money credit cards.

Virgin Money has unveiled a new range of credit cards featuring punk-themed designs based around the artwork of Sex Pistols albums and singles. That noise you just felt was punk’s final death rattle, by the way.

The bank has rolled out three designs for the new cards, two of which are variations on the artwork for the Pistols’ seminal 1977 album Never Mind The Bollocks, Here’s The Sex Pistols (the only proper studio LP they ever recorded), and a third which uses the cover of 1976 single ‘Anarchy In The UK’.

Image caption Macaulay isn't the first star to feel the audience's ire.

It proved, that in this age of disconnect, where audience members can turn to the comforts of smart phones during lacklustre gigs, music fans are still eager to openly voice their displeasure. Only a few days later, Culkin announced the cancellation of the remaining tour dates. He has not openly cited the event as the primary motivation for such a cancellation, but it seems all too obvious that the hostile reception he received had severely impacted the decision. Macaulay is far from being the first to suffer the wrath of an embittered crowd and few are safe from the ramifications of a poor or ill-judged performance. Here are ten examples of performers receiving a severe dressing down from irate audiences:

Continue reading: Bottled Off: 10 Bands Who Suffered Worse Fate Than Macaulay Culkin's Pizza Underground

Sex Pistols - Adly Syairi Ramly, a self-proclaimed music and LEGO junkie, has transformed the toy brand's famous figures into some of the world's most iconic bands. Legendary acts such as the Beatles, Foo Fighters, Radiohead and Pearl Jam have been given a LEGO makeover and photographed using only an iPhone 5 with no added desktop editing. - Malaysia - Wednesday 19th March 2014

Virgin Records Anniversary - '40 Years Of Disruptions' - A Series Of Events Celebrating The Labels Rich History Involving Artists Past And Present

Posted on 20 May 2013


Sex Pistols - Punk rockers jump on a bus during a funeral procession for Malcom McLaren. London, England - After a service at the Holy Trinity Church in Marylebone, mourners followed to the procession Thursday 22nd April 2010

Adam Ant and Sex Pistols - Adam Ant aka Stuart Goddard hugs a fellow mourner outside the Holy Trinity Church in Marylebone McLaren, The former Sex Pistols manager died of mesothelioma on April 8th, 2010 London, England - after a funeral service for the late Malcolm McLaren Thursday 22nd April 2010

John Lydon and Sex Pistols - John Lydon (AKA John Lydon ) of The Sex Pistols performing Saturday 14th June 2008 at Isle of Wight Festival Isle of Wight, England

Sex Pistols - John Lydon aka Johnny Rotten Las Vegas, Nevada - The Sex Pistols performing live at The Joint Saturday 7th June 2008