Never Mind The Bollocks, Here's The Sex Pistols

Sex Pistols

Warner Brothers Records, 1977

REVIEW BY: Bill Ziemer


You might not believe this at first, but the Sex Pistols were one of the most important bands in rock history. By the mid-seventies, rock had developed to the point where many felt that rock stars were overly glorified and complacent to the point where it's message had been lost. Many felt that rock had become too refined, and well produced, solid musicians like Peter Frampton fueled the fire. Don't get me wrong, I think Frampton's fabulous, but it was this type of sound that made rock palatable to the upper class. While Frampton and Boston where creatingthe perfect sound in the studio, the Sex Pistols were rehearsing three chord rock. The effect was stunning, as they became hugely popular despite the fact that their material and outrageous nature prevented them from receiving exposure through the media.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

In 1977, Warner Brothers released their only studio album (which contained two previously released British singles), Never Mind The Bollocks, Here's The Sex Pistols. By the release of this album, original bassist Glen Matlock had been replaced by the band's most famous member, Sid Vicious, who had previously been a non-musical friend of Rotten. Legend has it that Matlock was fired after he admitted that he liked the Beatles. Whether this is true or not, I don't know, but it reinforces the notion that the Sex Pistols were against anything high society.

Never Mind The Bollocks is a raw, angry album that antagonizes the facets of society that prevent us from having a future. The Pistols, in one album, manage to confront many of the most hyper-sensitive issues of the twentieth century, which of course was their charm, if that's the proper word. They sing about the Berlin Wall in "Holidays In The Sun", then downshift into the topic of abortion in "Bodies". Ever know someone who's a liar? What did you do about it? Probably nothing. Not these guys. They openly point the finger at the accused in "Liar". Take a subject that is usually discussed in hushed circles, and the Sex Pistols will scream about it so that the rest of the block hears.

Many people listened. Some have elevated these guys to "voice of a generation" status. Their social timing was also part of their mass hype/disdain. They released "God Save The Queen" in time for her long awaited Silver Jubilee. Painting the Queen as fascist and phony, the song was immediately banned from British airplay. Nonetheless, it was a very popular tune, which had to be published as blank at #2 on the UK charts.

While it's not certain that the sex pistols were first punk band, they were definitely one of the most popular, and hugely influenced the music we listen to today. Give Never Mind The Bollocks a long listen, and you'll be surprised to hear how the modern incantations of rock and punk have been influenced by a band largely forgotten.

Rating: B

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© 1997 Bill Ziemer and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Warner Brothers Records, and is used for informational purposes only.