Tag Archives: johnny rotten

“Cutting ‘Anarchy in the U.K.’ out of the market just as it was reaching its audience, EMI, the Sex Pistols’ first label, dropped them after the televised ‘fuck’ that made Declan McManus’ day, recalled the records, and melted them down. … The press contrived a moral panic to sell papers, but the panic seemed real soon enough: the Sex Pistols were denounced in Parliament as a threat to the British way of life, by socialists as fascist, by fascists as communist. … The group itself had become contraband. In late 1975, when the Sex Pistols first appeared, crashing another band’s concert and impersonating the opening act, the plug was pulled after ten minutes; now to play in public they were forced to turn up in secret, under a false name. The very emptiness of the terrain they had cleared — the multiplication of new voices from below, the intensification of abuse from above, both sides fighting for possession of that suddenly cleared ground — had pushed them toward self-destruction, into the silence of all nihilist noise.”

Greil Marcus, discussing the Sex Pistols in his 1989 book, “Lipstick Traces: A Secret History of the Twentieth Century”

Greil Marcus – Sex Pistols

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Sinead O’Connor, “Troy”

I knew nothing of heartbreak when I felt those first pangs of infatuation rolling up my spine upon seeing the video for “Troy” in 1987. And while it’s fairly obvious that “Troy” is a woman’s angry ode to a cheating lover, I was just attracted to Sinead O’Connor’s intensity — the pure anger, that accusing fuck-the-world glare — no less powerful than Johnny Rotten’s sneer and hundred-yard stare had been for the previous generation. Just being bald alone was a big F-U to the establishment that at the time was pushing bigger and bigger hairdos on all the daytime and late-night soaps. Not to mention that pope thing.

I never knew I had a thing for bald chicks until Sinead. I remember actually being upset when I found out she was letting her hair grow again.

Here is a great live solo acoustic performance of “Troy,” from early in her career.

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“The Sex Pistols show was the most fun show I ever played. We did a 45 minute set in 28 minutes. Everything imaginable was thrown at us. I got hit with liver. Winterland was sold out, 7-8,000 people, but only a few hundred knew who the Sex Pistols were. The rest were curious onlookers and they were told to throw things and spit. They got this from the mass media who sensationalized the event. I loved it because it was immortal, the last show, which made it even more special.”

Jeff Olener, member of San Francisco band The Nuns, discussing the Pistols’ show at Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco on Jan. 14, 1978, at which Johnny Rotten would fire off his “Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?” soliloquoy and quit the band (from “Punk ’77” by James Stark).

Sex Pistols final show

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