The Sex Pistols were deemed as one of the greatest musical influences of the punk movement in the United Kingdom. The band’s career only went on for a couple of years but their songs Never Mind the Bollocks and Here’s the Sex Pistols were some the greatest to be ever heard in the history of British music. its original members included John Lyndon on vocals, Steve Jones on lead guitar, Paul Cook on drums, and Glen Matlock on drums. Glen Matlock would eventually be replaced by Sid Vicious. Their song God Save the Queen was one of the band’s most controversial song, criticizing the people’s allegiance to the Crown.
SEX PISTOLS’ ORIGINS
The Sex Pistols first started out as the Strand with Steve Jones, Paul Cook, and Wally Nightingale on guitar performing together and stealing musical instruments their concerts had ended. The band’s other members included Jim Mackin on organ and Stephen Hayes on bass.
Malcolm McLaren served as the band’s manager when they were still new. Glen Matlock would eventually come and join the group.
THE ARRIVAL OF JOHN LYNDON AND THE SEX PISTOL’S MUSIC CAREER
Nightingale was fired from the band and McLaren and his friend Rhodes started searching for someone to take his place and another one who would be the band’s lead vocalist.
In 1975, Rhodes saw John Lyndon who quite stood out from the crowd because of his I Hate Pink Floyd shirt and green hair. Rhodes and McLaren had a meeting with him and after singing Alice Cooper’s I’m Eighteen, McLaren told the other members of Sex Pistols to commence rehearsing with him.
After coming up with their band’s name, the Sex Pistols first performed at Saint Martins College in 1975. However, before the band could play some of their original songs, the plugs were pulled because they started destroying the equipment on the stage.
Their first gig was followed by series of performances on various schools in supports of bands like the Fogg. The band also created a trend in fashion that became very popular among their fans and a statement of support for the radicals in Paris and the Situationists. Because of this, the band turned out to be a perfect medium for delivering ideas and principles from the leftist side of politics.
The band’s succeeding gigs aimed at gaining a wider audience. They performed in places like the Marquee, Oxford Street, and Nashville. After the release of the Ramones’ debut album which Lyndon denied having any kind of influence on them, the band did gigs every Tuesday at the 100 Club that lasted for a month. At the same time, they also started performing on various cities and towns all over north England and recording some songs with the help of the produced Chris Spedding. In June 1976, the Sex Pistols played at the Lesser Free Trade Hall in Manchester and started a new generation of punk rock music that would greatly influence the music industry. Before the band got back from Manchester, they performed Anarchy in the U.K. for the very first time.
The Sex Pistols’ first concert outside Britain was held at the Chalet du Lac disco in Paris. They would then start a tour of Britain as soon as they got back.
After signing a contract with EMI, the Sex Pistols’ Anarchy in the U.K came out as their first single in November 1976. The song exuded an unstoppable criticism on politics.
The band would continue to gain popularity thanks to their guesting stint on the TV program Today. Sex Pistols went on tour afterwards but most of these were canceled by local organizers.
In 1977, Matlock left the band because of his differences mostly with Lydon. He was replaced by Sid Vicious, former drummer of Siouxsie and the Banshees and the Flowers of Romance. While he was with the band, Sid would cause some trouble including getting the band banned from the 100 Club. He also got involved with a girl who purportedly influenced him in using heroine.
In March 1977, the band signed a contract under A&M Records. However, as they continued to wreak havoc and chaos within the facilities of the company, their contract was severed just after almost a week.
Vicious’ first gig with the band was on the 28th of March that same year and their record was released on May. The song God Save the Queen contained so much controversial lyrics that it was banned from most radio stations.
The album was a success. A promotional performance set on a chartered boat cruising along the River Thames led to the arrest of the band and its managers. Meanwhile, God Save the Queen reached the 2nd spot on the music charts amidst the rumors that it should have been the number one song on the list.
A number of attacks on the band’s members and their music led to a tour where the band used fake names to avoid having their shows getting cancelled.
The album Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols came out in October 1977 which contained some of their previously released songs such as Anarchy in the U.K. and God Save the Queen but also included newer ones like Pretty Vacant.
In 1978, despite some difficulties with acquisition of the members’ visas, Sex Pistols toured the United States. During the tour, Vicious would get involved in some incident like being hospitalized because of his drug problem and hitting an audience with his bass.
After Lydon’s walkout on the final leg of the tour, the band broke up on January 17, 1978. Lydon was left in Los Angeles and had to ask for Virgin Records help to get a ticket plane.
MacLaren met up with the other members and recorded some songs with them but his dream of reuniting the original Sex Pistol would never come into fruition.