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One & Done: Sex Pistols - “Never Mind The Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols”

- Feb 12, 2019 at 03:00PM
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We all reach a point when we’ve done something great, when we’ve achieved greatness at one particular thing, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem to us. But what if it’s something that isn’t small or insignificant? What if you’ve achieved a perfect harmony with your expression, to the point that others around the world take notice and start to heap praise on you for your “genius”?

Would you stand proud and be emboldened, confident in continuing this avenue of expression? Or would you begin to feel the pressure of your newfound audience’s expectations? Would you turn to your vices to mask the anxiety and fear that have begun to result from this success? Maybe you would make a change of direction in your life artistically, or create a new outfit, or quit your art altogether - or worst of all, life itself.

In our new series, One & Done, we profile bands that came into existence, and with their debut album, unknowingly sang their swan song. For various reasons, and to varying degrees of success, we will see into the process of making the album, its impact on music, and why they couldn’t create that dreaded sophomore recording. Whether it’s solo artists or groups, we’ll take you through a journey of careers and discographies that have a singular release to their name. This is One & Done!

One & Done! English punk rock innovators, Sex Pistols.


Who, What, Where, How? The Sex Pistols released Never Mind The Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols on October 28, 1977, via Virgin Records. The original members included: Johnny Rotten (vocals), Glen Matlock (bass), Steve Jones (guitar), Paul Cook (drums), and Sid Vicious (bass).

In our first instalment, we thought we’d start with possibly one of the most influential and easily recognisable albums of all time, by one of the bands who are arguably one of the most well-known progenitors of the genre. While other bands like The Clash or The Ramones would live on to have long careers, the Sex Pistols were decidedly more short lived, and in at least one case, quite literally. With that said, let’s examine the sole studio recording from these legendary punk rockers, Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols.

Spawning from The Strand, a previous band of guitarist Steve Jones and drummer Paul Cook, the group had their first official lineup in 1975, with bassist Glen Matlock joining in 1974 and vocalist Johnny Rotten jumping on a year later.

The band signed to the major label EMI in October 1976 and released their debut single, “Anarchy in the U.K.”, a month later. The band made their big impression on mainstream media during the primetime program Today cursing and belittling host Bill Grundy. Despite being a local broadcast, the band made international headlines with their ruthless behaviour which ultimately ended their relationship with EMI. Shortly after the incident, Matlock had been removed from the Pistols for, as manager Malcolm McLaren put it, “going on too long about Paul McCartney”. The band enlisted Sid Vicious as their new bassist; thus the icon we all know today was born.

Stressed out about life? Why not take some “Holidays In The Sun”?


Their only album was released on October 28, 1977. While recording, Sid was kept from the recording process as much as possible as, according to Jones, he was not a strong bass player. Jones would end up playing most of the bass parts, despite attempts to invite original bassist Matlock back for recording. Sid can be heard on the second track “Bodies”; though it takes a few listens to catch on, you'll know it once you hear it.

Upon release, the record was praised by the likes of Rolling Stone, however the album faced much censorship with shops facing prosecution if they were to promote the record in-store. Ultimately, a case was held against Virgin Records for going against the 1899 Indecent Advertisements Act. All charges would go on to be dropped.

To promote the record, the band would embark on their first tour in the U.S. in January 1978, which encountered many hitches. With officials refusing to give the Pistols visas, multiple shows were forced to be cancelled and many of those that went on were riddled with violence and belligerence.

Rotten, dealing with the flu, on top of feeling isolated by Jones and Cook, and on top of being disgusted by Sid’s escalating heroin use and onstage antics (including spitting blood at fans and striking a fan with his bass), would have a meltdown at the end of what would end up being their last show. During a cover of The Stooges’ “No Fun”, Rotten, on his knees, lifelessly chanting “NO FUN”, would address the audience, saying, “Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated? Good night.”, before walking off stage for the last time as a Sex Pistol.

A live clip of “Anarchy In The UK” off the There’ll Always Be An England DVD.


After the breakup, Jones and Cook would go on to work as session musicians along with a few bands that did not last long. Cook now plays with the group Man Raze and Jones hosts the radio show Jonesy’s Jukebox. Rotten would go back to being referred to by his birth name, Lydon, and formed Public Image Ltd alongside members of The Clash. The band was put on indefinite hiatus in 1992, though they would reform in 2009.

Vicious and his addiction continued to spiral downwards. He entered a destructive relationship with Nancy Spungen, which unfortunately ended with her death by stabbing in October of 1978. By February 1979, Sid had been clean after serving time at Rikers Island before being released on bail. Unfortunately, he would go on to take heroin that evening, leading to his death by overdose. The Sex Pistols would go on to do some reunion tours in the ‘90s and ‘00s with original bassist Matlock. They have continued to release records of b-sides and audio from live shows, though the group has not been active since 2008.

The Sex Pistols were one of the main bands on the forefront of the punk movement. The act has been recognized with respect and praise for wearing their less than reputable attitude and outcast monikers boldly on their sleeves. Though only one full-length was released, it still stands as one of the greatest punk recordings of all time and the group continues to be revered and remembered to this day.

Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols. Get it. Hear it. Know it. One & Done!

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