40 years ago (28th October 1977 to be exact), Never Mind The Bollocks was originally released. It was and is, one of the most influential albums of all-time; and a true classic album in every sense of the word.
Between the Spring of 1976 and the end of 1977 The Sex Pistols changed rock n roll, music, and with the help of Jamie Reid and Vivienne Westwood, fashion and design forever.
Malcolm McLaren and graphic artist Jamie Reid were influenced by the Anarcho-Situationist movement in the 1960s, blurring art with politics. McLaren had previously unsuccessfully managed glam rock proto-punk band, the New York Dolls. Returning to London he was able to learn from the experience and recycle some of the ideas for The Sex Pistols. Steve Jones also took a lead from the New York Dolls by aping Johnny Thunders every rock guitar stance; and with young clothes designer Vivienne Westwood and a Kings Road shop that attracted young outsiders from all over London and beyond, a scene began to blossom.
Anarchy In The UK was The Sex Pistols’ debut single released on 26 November 1976. But it was a week later when they appeared as a last minute replacement for record label buddies Queen on ITV’s 6pm Today Show that their meteoric rise to fame began. Even before releasing the mighty singles Pretty Vacant and the crowning glory of God Save The Queen amidst the Queen’s Jubilee that shocked and excited young and old in equal measures, did they find themselves on top of the world. In fact, for everything that has followed, it’s quite easy to forget just how shocked, scared and horrified people were of them, and just how exciting it was to see The Sex Pistols perform on Top Of The Pops amongst the Bee Gees, Leo Sayer, David soul and Rod Stewart in spandex leggings!
A group of spotty, rude working class kids took on everything and everyone that was stale and moribund; and in the process changed the world.
The album cover was provocative. Not only was the use of the word ‘bollocks’ deemed too offensive for shop window promotional displays, the track list wasn’t so much written as produced in the style of a kidnappers’ ransom note. The design was perfect, as was the loud and abrasively powerful, solid production by Chris Thomas.
Times have changed. Music, fashion and politics have moved on. The Sex Pistols and Never Mind The Bollocks are no longer threatening, shocking or particularly offensive. But their only studio album still sounds as powerful today as it did 40 years ago. That is the sign of a true classic album; and in my opinion, Never Mind The Bollocks is one of the best debut albums of all-time. The Sex Pistols didn’t start punk. They were the final rock n roll encore.
This latest edition of Never Mind The Bollocks includes the 2012 digitally re-mastered original studio album on Disc 1. While Disc 2 is a compilation of 1977 b-sides, demos and studio out-takes recorded with Dave Goodman and Chris Thomas.
Disc 3 includes 2 live shows from Trondheim, StudentersamfuNdet in Norway and Happy House in Stockholm, Sweden. While the performances aren’t note perfect, they distil the myth that Johnny Rotten couldn’t sing in tune and the Sex Pistols couldn’t play a note. Apart from Sid Vicious, that is!
Disc 4 is a DVD featuring 1977 footage of the band playing live from the infamous boat party held on the River Thames, the Winter Gardens, Penzance in Cornwall and the Happy House, Stockholm, Sweden show. The box set comes with a 48-page hardback book with narrative from music journalist Pat Gilbert plus rare photos from Bob Gruen, Barry Plummer, John Tiberi and Dave Wainwright.
Disc 1 – Never Mind The Bollocks
1. Holidays In The Sun
3. No Feelings
5. God Save The Queen
8. Anarchy In The UK
10. Pretty Vacant
11. New York
Disc 2 – Studio Rarities / Dave Goodman Demos / Chris Thomas Demos & Outtakes
Studio Rarities & B Sides:
1. No Feeling (B side of withdrawn God Save The Queen On A&M Records)
2. Did You No Wrong (B side of God Save The Queen)
3. No Fun (B side of Pretty Vacant)
4. Satellite (B side of Holidays In The Sun)
Dave Goodman Demos:
5. New York (Demo Version)
6. Unlimited Edition (Demo Version of EMI)
7. Liar (Demo Version)
8. Pretty Vacant (Demo Version)
9. Problems (Demo Version)
10. No Future (Demo Version of God Save The Queen)
Chris Thomas Demos & Outtakes:
11. Did You No Wrong (Alternative Vocal)
12. Seventeen (Alternative Vocal)
13. Satellite (Rough Mix)
14. Submission (Rough Mix)
15. Holidays In The Sun (Rough Mix)
16. EMI (Rough Mix)
17. Seventeen (Rough Mix)
18. Holidays In The Sun (Alternative Mix)
19. Body (Demo Version Of Bodies)
20. Submission (Alternative Mix)
21. Belsen Was A Gas (Demo Version)
Disc 3 – 1977 Live
Trondheim – StudentersamfuNdet – Norway:
1. Anarchy In The UK
2. I Wanna Be Me
4. New York
6. No Fun
7. No Feelings
9. God Save The Queen
Happy House – Stockholm – Sweden:
10. Anarchy In The UK
11. I Wanna Be Me
13. New York
16. No Feelings
18. God Save The Queen
19. Pretty Vacant
20. No Fun
Disc 4 – DVD 1977 footage
Riverboat Party – River Thames London 1977:
1. Pretty Vacant
2. Anarchy In The UK
Happy House Stockholm – Sweden 1977:
4. Anarchy In The UK
5. I Wanna Be Me
7. New York
9. No Fun
Winter Gardens – Penzance – Cornwall – 1977:
11. No Fun
12. Anarchy In The UK
13. Good Save The Queen
14. Pretty Vacant
15. Holidays In The Sun
Radio 1 Rock On Interview:
16. John And Sid Interview