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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