Day 274: Sex Pistols – Never Mind the Bollocks

29 Nov

Anarchy in the UK

I really shouldn’t like Sex Pistols’ Never Mind the Bollocks—we’ve been through this quite a few times on quite a few Dad Rock Tuesdays.  I am presented with an old album that is considered influential in retrospect, and often, I end up doing my fair share of hating.  It’s tough to listen to an older record completely out of context, and even tougher when that record’s sound went out of style twenty years ago.

Maybe it’s because every punk band since has tried to sound like Sex Pistols in one way or another, or possibly because “Anarchy in the U.K.” was a big song in my Guitar Hero days, but I cannot say anything bad about this band.  While it’s true that they are the freaking Sex Pistols, and disparaging comments on my part would be utterly pointless, I did genuinely enjoy this album.

Sex Pistols’ legacy cannot be overlooked, either.  Bollocks is the band’s only album, but they were still able to make a ton of noise and news with it.  Songs like “God Save the Queen” and “Anarchy in the U.K.” stirred up a lot of controversy for their anti-Patriotic U.K. sentiment, and managed to change rock music forever.  Controversial music is fairly commonplace today, but I’ve been told that wasn’t always the case.

Also, as a connoisseur of terrible singing voices, I cannot ignore Johnny Rotten’s vocals.  I wouldn’t really call it singing…it’s more like he’s moving his pitch up and down fairly randomly, while rolling a few r’s every now and then.  It gives this music that extra punch, and I’m sure it was a major factor in all of the press that this band received.  If you like bad singing voices as much as me, Rotten is pretty much perfect.


4 Responses to “Day 274: Sex Pistols – Never Mind the Bollocks”

  1. Dave Chops November 30, 2011 at 8:34 am #

    I can’t believe that a music maniac like his Earship never heard this. Aside from Mr. Lydon-Rotten’s vocals, you have to love Steve Jones’ Chuck Berry on steriods guitar style and Chris Thomas’ production on this album. The opening boots marching and power chord on the Holidays In the Sun are maybe the greatest opening of an album ever.

    This is one album that actually does bear being put into historical perspective. In the U.K., mines were closing and unemployment was at levels not seen since the Depression. I first heard about the Pistols while living in Nigeria in 1976 and reading the NME. British Music that year was lame to a point that is barely imagineable. Check this out: That was the year that ABBA`s “Fernando” single sold 60,000,000 copies (just in that year). You can understand why the press got excited about the Pistols who hated everything that was crass and commercial and the record industry itself. The Pistols were the inspiration for just about everyone who first picked up an electric instrument in 1977 and decided to vent. Look at that 1976 Brit top 10 and tell me that the Pistols did not save music in the U.K.

    Julian Temple’s Pistols documentary The Filth and the Fury ( is worth watching – especially where Lydon gets all teary about what happened to his pal Sid.

    2,000,000 Brit public employees are on strike and the whole European economy is teetering. Time for the new Sex Pistols.

  2. Yuanny Dollar December 1, 2011 at 9:33 pm #

    Brilliant sociological exegesis on the social origins of the band. Let’s not forget Mr. McLaren, the promotional genius behind the whole thing. He knew the world was ready for the Sex Pistols, but he also knew that controversy sells. But Mr. Ear is right. Mr. Rotten is the platonic bad vocalist if there can be such a thing. I got to see Mr. Rotten warm up for INXS as part of PIL in Orlando. Wasn’t much of a show, but I’m glad I saw him.

    • Dave Chops December 2, 2011 at 11:14 am #

      J$, watch Filth and the Fury and then tell me what you think about McLaren. He comes off as the evil svengali – and not such a genius (though he did make them look good and got lots of press). And I got the impression that you loathed the New York Dolls, his first band, no?

  3. Yuanny Dollar December 3, 2011 at 12:33 am #

    I will watch it Chops Manchu. You are certainly correct about the NY Dolls. I cannot even look at David Johansen. He reminds me of the Yankees. He gets way more press than he deserves, even when he sux. And, unlike the Yankees, he ALWAYS sux.

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