The Sex Pistols weren’t the first punk band to release an album – The Ramones beat them by 18 months. But Johnny Rotten, Steve Jones, Paul Cook, and Sid Vicious became the face of punk in the UK.
Manager Malcolm McLaren successfully courted controversy – an infamous appearance on Bill Grundy’s Today program, replacing Queen at the last minute, culminated in Jones firing a list of obscenities at Grundy on early evening TV. The band released the anti-monarchy anthem ‘God Save the Queen’ to coincide with Queen Elizabeth II’s Silver Jubilee, while John Mortimer QC defended the group’s use of the word “bollocks” on their debut album.
This publicity resulted in a number one record, but the band were unable to capitalise on their success. Original bassist Glen Matlock was the band’s main songwriter but was fired for not fitting the Sex Pistols’ image – he washed his feet too often and idolised Paul McCartney. Matlock only appears on the 1976 single ‘Anarchy in the U.K.’ – most of the bass on the record is handled by Jones since Vicious was only a rudimentary musician. Rotten left the band in January 1978, famously leaving the stage after uttering the words “ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated? Good night.”
On this April 1, we go through the Sex Pistols’ discography of studio albums and rank them from worst to best. I’ve excluded the soundtrack The Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle – it was compiled by McLaren after Rotten left the band to form Public Image Ltd.
Sex Pistols Albums Ranked
#1 – Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s The Sex Pistols
This iconic punk album is spearheaded by its advance singles. ‘Anarchy in the UK’ has the unforgettable opening salvo “I am the antichrist”, where “anarchist” is shoehorned in as a rhyme. ‘God Save the Queen’ is a gloomy state of the nation in 1977, where England’s dreaming and there’s no future. The rest of the record is no slouch either, with energetic, riff-based songs. Despite punk’s reputation as amateurish, they’re a tight band on record with Jones and Cook both impressive – the punk edge comes from Rotten’s snarling vocals.
What’s your favourite Sex Pistols album?
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Ha ha. LMAO
I guess it would be funnier to do one for a band that never released an album – I guess Minor Threat would be an option?
That would be an interesting topic. Bands who never had an album.
I don’t really know many off the top of my head – I’d just be stealing ideas from other sites.
I don’t often agree with your rankings but this time I do 100%. I daresay no one could argue with it.
See if you agree with next April 1’s Skip Spence list…
I’ll put it on the calendar as a reminder .
Solid list, but I disagree with the order.
Yep 100% agreement here.
(Though when I saw the post title, I was wondering if you going to actually dredge through all of the dreck of demo cuts and “Swindle” out-takes/asides out there in record bins, to this day).
(I applaud you for not doing so!)
I’ve never heard it, but it sounds terrible…
I get that it’s April 1, but when I tell people SP had (really) only one album, they are stunned.
It Shows how much noise you can make if you are in the right place at the right time – even with no real musical talent.
Does anyone sit down to listen to any of the songs now?
Not really a “desert island band”, or at least don’t use up one of your 5 spots on them!
The best thing about the Sex Pistols is the late 80s mock-doc called “Sid and Nancy”. It’s very well done.
I do think the original band was talented – Rotten’s an incisive and charismatic vocalist, Matlock had some good tunes, and Cook and Jones are capable musicians. Replacing Matlock with Sid Vicious and Rotten with Ronnie Biggs made them a lot worse though. ‘Anarchy in the UK’ and ‘God Save the Queen’ hold up pretty well.
I suppose Rock n Roll Swindle is number 2
I didn’t think it qualifies as an album per se. Do you like it? I’ve never heard it but I’ve always been wary.
Wow, Graham, you totally had me confused here! 🙂
Admittedly, I know next to nothing about the Sex Pistols. It really comes down to “Anarchy in the UK.” I had no idea they only released one “regular” studio album.
I decided my last worst to best list was a bit tangential, plus it was April 1. ‘God Save the Queen’ is great too.
LOL!! I Saw the title and went…WHAT!!!….They only have one album and lo and behold, it did! Great stuff. And I would’ve had this one at #1 as well.
There is a soundtrack named The Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle that could be included – but it was released after Rotten had quit, so I don’t think it really counts.
Nope, doesn’t count!! LOL!
I se what you did there lol
Best Post EVER
Oh Graham. I chatted with support and they have no clue about the follow. They are looking into it. I know when you post so it’s not a big deal but things like this bother me….that is why I do what I do for a living.
Good one. Honest, it doesn’t count as a ‘studio album’, but I love ‘Some Product – Carri On’ as well. It’s a shameless cash-in by Virgin mainly featuring interviews that the lads did on radio stations in America during that final tour, plus various silly adverts and general tomfoolery.
I like how they called their singles/b-sides collection Flogging a Dead Horse.
On a separate topic: For all indy/ alt nation music fans: lots of stuff coming out. The new Arcade Fire single “Lightning” and the new Sam Fender “seven going under” are both good. The new Chili Peppers sounds too much like many of their other songs IMO
I’ve never been a RHCP fan, but I’m sure I’ll get to Arcade Fire when it comes out – I like their other stuff, especially the first 3. Never really heard Sam Fender though.
See if this YouTube link works. Sam Fender’s breakout hit from a couple of years ago “Hypersonic Missiles”.It’s great.
😀 😀 😀
Not sure on your choice for number one here but otherwise I think we’re in synch 😀
It’s a controversial choice because it has the word “bollocks” in the title.
I think more albums should have “bollocks” in the title. These days it’s pretty tame though
I don’t hear it used much. It has an intrinsic visceral quality though.
Oh I think it’s definitely a very British saying, “what a load of…” “right in the…”
That’s so weird because I never knew what bollocks meant cuz no one ever uses that word over here. And the only place I ever saw it was on the Sex Pistols album. And then when I finally asked someone what it meant they told me that it means ass. So I thought that it means ass until somebody else told me that it means shit. It’s only recently that I found out what it really means. It’s like that other word “shite” that British people always use. I know that it must be something bad, but I don’t know what exactly. I presume it must be the same as saying shit. I think it means the same thing but I don’t know if it’s a real word that really means something else or what. It’s another word that people never use over here, And I’ve never even heard it pronounced. Is it pronounced the same as shit? Is it a real word?? Who the hell knows.
Shite rhymes with kite.