Contact Us

35 Years Ago – The Sex Pistols Release ‘Never Mind The Bollocks’

Virgin Records

Thirty-five years ago today, the Sex Pistols‘ one and only album was released. For many, it was the definitive game changer. Their impact  in their native England can not be overstated. A truly defining moment in U.K. culture:  life before, and life after punk rock. Though you obviously have to draw the time line  from the Ramones to the Stooges and even back to Elvis to get the whole picture, the public definition of “punk rock” sort of begins and ends with the Sex Pistols.

‘Never Mind The Bollocks’  is as much a snapshot of its era as ‘Ziggy Stardust‘ or ‘Sgt. Pepper‘ were of theirs. It’s timeless, yet so of its time. The first thing is, the songs. These are great songs, well written and well played. The story that they couldn’t play their instruments is obviously untrue — one listen proves that. After releasing four landmark singles, ‘Anarchy On The UK,’ ‘God Save The Queen,’ ‘Pretty Vacant,’ and ‘Holidays In The Sun,’  the band’s debut LP was issued on October 27, 1977.

The sonic assault of the album can, in part, be attributed to produce Chris Thomas who had worked with everyone from the Beatles and Pink Floyd to Roxy Music and Procol Harum. Thomas created a sonic force that was a loud, intense and aggressive powder keg. It was, in some ways, building block hard rock, but the band had one not so secret weapon in the form of John Lydon aka Johnny Rotten. His venomous vocal delivery was truly startling, the dividing line between the old and the new and unlike most any singer that had come before. Their sound was fresh, it was dangerous, and it was not your older brother’s record collection.

Attitude was as integral an instrument as guitar, bass and drums here. The power of songs like ‘Bodies,’ or ‘Liar’ still ring astonishingly fresh to this day. We could go on and on about the hype, the scandal,  the filth and the fury over the band, but we are talking music here. ‘Pretty Vacant,’ ‘God Save The Queen,’ ‘Submission,’ ‘Problems’  are all classics!

Though bassist and main songwriter Glen Matlock had been ousted from the band prior to the album’s completion, his contributions here are crucial. Steve Jones’ layers of guitar tracks make a wall of sound unlike anything heard before.  Paul Cook was no slouch on the drums and his powerful playing certainly drove it all home. It is, however, Rotten who remains the star of the show here. The sincerity of the anger within is spat out with the most venomous delivery with middle finger at full salute. While Rotten’s persona may have been half-actor, half-singer, it ultimately comes off as very genuine, not unlike the scene in ‘The Wild One‘ where Marlon Brando is asked, “What are you rebelling against?” and he replies, “Whadaya got?”

The album was finally released in the U.S. in early-1978, and despite a Rolling Stone cover story and an ill-fated US tour, the Sex Pistols were nothing but a footnote in America. Kids here were far more interested in bands like Styx, Kansas or Boston to give the Pistols anything but a hateful glance. Middle America hated punk rock, simply hated it! It would be years before the full effect of the album would seep in. It ultimately went gold in the U.S. a decade after it’s release.

In a recent interview with NME, Lydon spoke about ‘Never Mind The Bollocks’ deluxe anniversary re-issue and the label’s  re-release of ‘God Save The Queen’ to tie in with the Queen’s Golden Jubilee. “As you must know, I’m keeping myself distant from that.” he said, “I don’t mind the records being re-released properly, that’s a good thing, but I don’t like the vacuous nonsense of trying to create false agendas. It’s so ridiculous. They don’t realize they’re actually killing the f-cking spirit of the thing. This is not KISS.” To this day, anger is indeed an energy.

Listen To ‘Never Mind The Bollocks’

http://youtu.be/adaRvfRHxCg

Next:Rare Sex Pistols Acetate Sells For Over $19,000

Best of the Web

More From Around the Web

Leave a Comment

It appears that you already have an account created within our VIP network of sites on . To keep your points and personal information safe, we need to verify that it's really you. To activate your account, please confirm your password. When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites.

Forgot your password?

*Please note that your points, prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

It appears that you already have an account on this site associated with . To connect your existing account with your Facebook account, just click on the account activation button below. You will maintain your existing profile and VIP program points. After you do this, you will be able to always log in to http://ultimateclassicrock.com using your Facebook account.

*Please note that your points, prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

Please fill out the information below to help us provide you a better experience.

Register on Ultimate Classic Rock quickly by logging in with your Facebook account. It's just as secure, and no password to remember!

Not a Member? Sign Up Here

Register on Ultimate Classic Rock quickly by logging in with your Facebook account. It's just as secure, and no password to remember!