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The Sex Pistols have been described by the BBC as the definitive English punk rock band. The Sex Pistols were an iconic and highly influential English punk rock band, formed in London in 1975. The Pistols are widely credited with initiating the punk movement in the United Kingdom and creating the first generation gap within rock and roll. Although their initial career lasted only three years and produced only four singles and one studio album. The band originally comprised vocalist Johnny Rotten, guitarist Steve Jones, drummer Paul Cook and bassist Glen Matlock who was later replaced by Sid Vicious.
The Sex Pistols emerged as a response to what was perceived to be the increasingly safe and bloated progressive rock and manufactured pop music of the mid-1970s. The band created various controversies during their brief career which captivated Britain, but often eclipsed their music. Their shows and tours repeatedly faced difficulties from authorities, and public appearances often ended in disaster and riot. Their 1977 single, God Save the Queen, was widely regarded as an attack on the British monarchy and British nationalism.
Their live performances were amongst the most influential factors. A significant show occurred early in their career on June 4, 1976, when they performed to a crowd of just 42 people at the Lesser Free Trade Hall in Manchester, England. It was to become one of the most important and mythologized events in rock history. Among the audience were many who would later form bands or otherwise popularise the embryonic punk movement, including the Buzzcocks (who had organised the gig), Anthony H. Wilson (founder of Factory Records), Bernard Sumner, Ian Curtis and Peter Hook, Adam Ant, Morrissey, and Mick Hucknall.
Lydon / Rotten left the band in 1978, amid a turbulent tour of the United States; the remaining trio carried on for the remainder of the year with vocals provided by Jones, Edward Tudor-Pole and Ronnie Biggs but disbanded in early 1979. With Lydon, they reunited in 1996 for the Filthy Lucre tour and have staged subsequent reunion tours in 2002 and 2003. On 24 February 2006, the Sex Pistols were officially inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but they refused to attend the induction, calling the museum a piss stain.While they were not the first punk band, the Pistols' Never Mind the Bollocks is a singular achievement within the punk movement and an important event in the history of popular music in general. It is regularly cited on lists of the greatest albums ever: in 2006 the album was voted no. 27 in Q Magazine's 100 Greatest Albums Ever, while Rolling Stone listed it at 2 in its 1987 Top 100 Albums of the Last 20 Years. In 2004, Rolling Stone Magazine ranked The Sex Pistols #58 on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.
The Sex Pistols evolved from The Strand, a band formed in 1972 with Jones on vocals, Cook on drums and Wally Nightingale on guitar. Early line-ups also included Jim Mackin on organ, as well as Stephen Hayes, and later Del Noones, on bass. By 1973 the band members were spending time at Don Letts' Acme Attractions, and the more upmarket Let It Rock, a 1950s-themed clothes shop in the Kings Road, Chelsea area of London. Let It Rock was owned by former New York Dolls manager Malcolm McLaren and his partner Vivienne Westwood; the shop specialized in anti-fashion, selling the drapes, slashed T-shirts, brothel creepers and fetish gear later popularized by the punk movement. Glen Matlock was recruited as bass player in early 1975. Around this time Jones and Nightingale began to argue over the band's musical direction, and Nightingale departed soon afterwards. In August 1975, John Lydon (Johnny Rotten) was spotted by Jones at the now renamed and restyled SEX boutique. According to Jones, He came in with green hair. I thought he had a really interesting face. I liked his look. He had his 'I Hate Pink Floyd' T-shirt on. John had something special. After miming along to Alice Cooper's I'm Eighteen on the shop juke box and though he had never considered singing before, Rotten was asked to join as vocalist. Rotten and his circle of friends by that time started dressing in the torn-shirt, sado-masochistic inspired clothing sold by Vivienne Westwood; the trend quickly spread, and was adopted by the band's fans.
In January 1978 the Sex Pistols embarked on a US tour, consisting mainly of dates in America's Deep South. Though originally scheduled for December 1977, it was delayed due the US authorities' reluctance to issue visas to band members with criminal records. Though highly anticipated by fans and media, the tour was plagued by in-fighting, poor planning and physically hostile audiences. Malcolm McLaren has admitted that he purposely booked redneck bars to create those hostile situations. Over the course of the two-weeks, Vicious, by now chronically addicted to heroin, began to live up to his stage name. According to Rotten, He finally had an audience of people who would behave with shock and horror. Sid was easily led by the nose.The Sex Pistols are remembered for communicating directly with their audiences. According to Lydon, If we had an aim, it was to force our own, working-class opinions into the mainstream, which was unheard of in pop music at the time. Whether the Pistols' anti-establishment stance was spontaneous or cultivated has been debated.
After leaving the Pistols, Johnny Rotten reverted to his birth name of Lydon, and formed Public Image Ltd, with former Clash member Keith Levene and school friend Jah Wobble. The band went on to score a U.K. Top Ten hit with their debut single, 1978's Public Image, and in 1979 recorded the post punk classic Metal Box. In 1978 Lydon initiated legal proceedings against McLaren and his management company, Glitterbest. Among the claims made were non-payment of royalties, usage of the title 'Johnny Rotten', unfair contractual obligations, and damages for all the criminal activities that took place.
After The Sex Pistols appearance on the infamous Bill Grundy TODAY show, their story appeared on the front of every national newspaper the next day. The media later raved, The Sex Pistols sold more papers on Fleet Street than the armistice.. Rolling Stone suggested the band, responding to the star trappings and complacency of mid-1970s rock, came to spark and personify one of the few truly critical moments in pop culture?the rise of punk.
One reviewer notes that England's depressed social psyche at the time was enough to generate a band like the Pistols and that Rotten's fierce intelligence and astonishing onstage charisma were important catalysts, but ultimately credits McLaren's history-minded manipulations as the real power behind the band. Bands who have been influenced by the Sex Pistols include The Clash, The Offspring, Siouxsie & the Banshees, Nirvana, NOFX, Oasis, The Fall, Green Day, and Guns N' Roses.In 1997, paleontologists Adrain and Edgecombe, named a series of fossil trilobite species in honour of the Pistols' members: Arcticalymene rotteni, A. viciousi, A. jonesi, A. cooki and A. matlocki.