Sex Pistols – A&M Records – 1977

God Save The Queen

No Feelings

A record that was manufactured and ready for release that was then very quickly withdrawn by A&M Records and most copies destroyed in March 1977 due to the general ill manners of the band, and especially Sid Vicious who decided to chin some hippie down The Speakeasy. This specific hippie carried a lot of weight due to him being the presenter of a half decent late night music programme (which got even better, as a young Penguin was coming of age musically). The band and management was payed off due to the terms of the contract being cancelled by A&M Records.

Thumpingly great record. As it happens being thrown off A&M Records was the best thing that happened to this band, due to this record being delayed and coming out the week of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee via Richard Branson’s Virgin Record label and possibly hitting the top of the charts for that week. Another record deal, another advance, another story.

This post is uploaded tonight after hearing the sad news of the death of Malcolm McClaren from cancer earlier today. Text ripped off from telegraphonline.

Malcolm McLaren, who has died aged 64, came to public attention in 1976 as the manager of the Sex Pistols, the punk band which he steered to fame and notoriety before their implosion barely two years later.

Presenting himself as svengali and arch media manipulator, McLaren went on to create and promote other bands such as Bow Wow Wow, wrote an opera, appeared on television as a pundit on the phenomenon of punk, and considered running, in 2000, as a candidate for mayor of London.

He once said: “I am a product of the Sixties. All I have ever felt is disruptive — I don’t know any other way.”

The son of a Scottish engineer, Malcolm McLaren was born on January 22 1946 in Stoke Newington, London. He was brought up by his maternal grandmother, Rose, who encouraged in him a subversive spirit. At school he developed a talent for manipulating his class-mates, on one occasion luring them to a rubbish tip and making them get into a large cardboard box he had saved in order that they could be his “Box Gang”.

At 18 he went to Harrow Art School, where he lost his virginity to a talented designer five years his senior called Vivienne Westwood. He also met Jamie Reid, who would later create the Sex Pistols’ provocative and influential graphics.

In the late Sixties, McLaren drifted through several art colleges, immersing himself in the writings of the Situationist International (SI), the French provocateurs whose new media practices included manifestos, broadsheets, pranks and disinformation; and he loitered on the fringes of King Mob, an SI splinter group.

For an unfinished film made while still at art college, he wrote a manifesto which would sum up the underpinnings of punk: “Be childish. Be irresponsible. Be disrespectful. Be everything this society hates.”

In 1971, with Vivienne Westwood (who by now had had a child by him), McLaren opened a boutique at 430 King’s Road in Chelsea. At first called Let It Rock, and then Too Fast to Live Too Young to Die, the shop sold then-unfashionable 1950s Teddy Boy drapes and crêpe-soled shoes to a new generation.

By 1974 the shop, now renamed Sex, and later Seditionaries, was selling Vivienne Westwood’s proto-punk bondage gear and t-shirts printed with lettrist-inspired slogans. Run with the help of Jordan, a girl from the suburbs who favoured S&M gear, the shop was a hangout for a cast of young, bored and frustrated misfits, among them Steve Jones, Paul Cook and Glen Matlock.

In 1975 McLaren went to New York, where he became obsessed by the New York Dolls, a glam-metal male band who performed live in high heels, Lurex tights and make-up, though in an aggressive style which would make them influential to punks. Led by the singer David JoHansen and guitarist Johnny Thunders, the Dolls were the toast of the city’s underground scene, having just signed a record deal.

McLaren soon talked his way into becoming the band’s manager. His first move, the better to shock bourgeois Americans, was to put the Dolls into Maoist Red Guard outfits and have them play in front of a hammer and sickle flag; but New York was unimpressed by the band’s new image and, disillusioned by the sudden downturn in their fortunes, Thunders and the drummer, Jerry Nolan, quit soon afterwards.

Undeterred, McLaren returned to London, intent on creating a band in the way that the Fifties manager Larry Parnes had moulded such stars as Billy Fury and Marty Wilde. When Steve Jones pestered him to find a rehearsal room for his band, McLaren did so; and with the addition as lead singer of John Lydon, another denizen of Sex, rechristened Johnny Rotten for the state of his teeth, the Sex Pistols were born.

Controversy was always high on the band’s agenda, and it was McLaren, primarily, who ensured they achieved it. In May 1977, during the week of the Queen’s silver jubilee, McLaren booked a boat trip down the Thames where the band were to perform their single “God Save The Queen” outside the Houses of Parliament. The boat was raided by police. McLaren was arrested.

Whatever resentment the establishment had for him after this, it was soon to be magnified by the band themselves. The following year The Sex Pistols embarked on a tour of the US. They would return on separate flights. The band split up after a series of arguments, with members accusing McLaren of mismanaging them and withholding money.

After the demise of the Sex Pistols, McLaren continued to put out unreleased material by the band, until the aptly-named Flogging A Dead Horse album of 1979. The band sued McLaren in 1986 for royalties, eventually receiving £1 million in an out of court settlement.

In 1979, McLaren was invited to provide a new image for the band Adam and the Ants. For a consultancy fee of £1,000, he came up with a combination of American Indian and pirate garb, before suggesting to the band’s guitarist and rhythm section that they abandon their singer, Adam Ant, and join a new group McLaren was forming called Bow Wow Wow.

With 14-year old Annabella Lwin on vocals, Bow Wow Wow released the single C30, C60, C90, Go (1980), a driving, Burundi-influenced paean to home taping composed by McLaren. This was followed by the cassette-only EP, Your Cassette Pet.

Bow Wow Wow’s powerful and innovative sound was eventually rewarded by Top 10 hits with Go Wild in the Country and I Want Candy; but after a number of publicity stunts, including a photograph of Annabella Lwin semi-nude with the band in an album-sleeve pastiche of Manet’s Déjeuner sur l’Herbe, the band folded in 1983.

That year, McLaren made his own recording debut, Duck Rock, a collection of songs based on “field recordings” made in Africa and incorporating New York’s fast-growing hip-hop style, exemplified by rappers The World’s Famous Supreme Team.

Although he was accused of plagiarism at the time, McLaren’s appropriation of musical styles from around the world would soon be much imitated. The album included the Top 10 hits Buffalo Gals (the first British record to feature scratching) and the quirky Double Dutch.

After releasing Would Ya Like More Scratchin’ (1984), McLaren then turned his attention to opera, producing the hit single Madame Butterfly and the album Fans (1985). Other albums mixing hip-hop and ethnic rhythms followed.

In the Nineties McLaren moved into television, producing commercials and, in 1991, a poorly received Christmas show, The Ghosts of Oxford Street, which featured The Pogues, Tom Jones and the Happy Mondays.

He returned to recording in 1993, signing to the French label Vogue and releasing an album, Paris, which gained poor reviews. In 1998 he attempted unsuccessfully to launch a group named Jungk, consisting of five beautiful Chinese girls.

McLaren co-produced for the film adaptation of Fast Food Nation, shown in 2006 at the Cannes Film Festival, and in the same year presented the documentary series Malcolm McLaren’s Musical Map of London for BBC Radio 2. This was followed in 2007 by Malcolm McLaren’s Life and Times in LA.

Also in 2007, he was due to appear in a reality television show for ITV, The Baron, which had to be postponed owing to the death of his fellow contestant Mike Reid. He was later due to appear in a series of I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!, set in the Australian outback, but pulled out at the last moment.

Malcolm McLaren’s son by Vivienne Westwood, Joe Corré, became proprietor of the successful lingerie shop Agent Provocateur.

  1. Chris L
    Chris L
    April 18, 2010 at 1:47 pm

    “Pathetic snivelling little turds,
    assuming the identity of the down and out”


  2. Chris L
    Chris L
    April 18, 2010 at 1:57 pm

    Nick Hydra: “if David M has any recommendations for me to check out, I’ll be very happy to be suprised by a fantastic band I’d never heard of”

    I was going to ask the same. I wouldn’t be on this forum if i didn’t still LOVE that early ‘anarcho-punk’ sound; i’d probably say best personified by Six Minute War/Fallout , who, ironically weren’t actually ‘anarcho’ bands per se. Plus other stuff like the Eratics, Sinyx, Rondos etc. Basically that raw & rudimentary sound before anyone had the remotest interest in heavy metal, ‘thrash’ or singing like defecating bison.

  3. DavidM
    April 18, 2010 at 11:11 pm

    Apologies regarding the lateness of my reply. Been quite busy today. Have lots of recommendations for sure, though I must say that I’m not entirely confident regarding folks appreciation of them, thinking that perhaps they’d be far from people’s cup ‘o fruit tea.
    Here are some of my current listening favourites plus a few more:
    Behind Enemy Lines
    Witch Hunt
    Beginning Of The End
    Please don’t go hating on the bands if their not yer bag. Thinking that some like Wolfbrigade or Beginning Of The End may be a little harsh for some people’s ears.

  4. DavidM
    April 19, 2010 at 12:05 am

    Thanks for people’s kind words regarding my posts here. It’s really appreciated.

  5. Chris L
    Chris L
    April 19, 2010 at 1:00 am

    Thank you very much for posting all the above. Not one of those bands is without merit. Thoroughly enjoyed listening to everything on all their Myspace profiles, tho, admittedly, I did ‘fast forward’ through the thrashier tracks. Gotta say Cartouche are pretty fucking brilliant – remind me of Penetration or Magazine in parts. Cracking stuff.
    So, are they what would be regarded as ‘anarcho punk’ bands today, or more straight punk and/or punk-metal bands? (i’m sure there’s some genre term for that grinding Antisect/Amebix type sound a few of them seem to have…is that ‘crust’?)
    Once again, thanks for your time & posting them up.
    And, anyway, don’t ever pay any attention to me. These are MY ‘current listening favourites’ :
    and Ramleh 🙂

  6. Nick Hydra
    Nick Hydra
    April 19, 2010 at 9:16 am

    I’ve got to agree with Chris L – none of them are ‘without merit’, but nothing really grabbed me by the throat. I never really liked the “Woooaaarrrgghhh!!!” style of singing that came in with the Napalm Death/ ENT kind of thing, so I skipped a lot of stuff (Wolfbrigade). I don’t know, maybe my tolerance for beefy blokes with tattoos bellowing (as Chris L says ‘like a defecating bison) is pretty low these days.

    In the same way as I only went as far towards the Oi/ street punk thing as the Angelic Upstarts, I only went as far into the thrash/ crust stuff as Discharge/ Amebix.

    But there were at least some nice ideas and (fuck me!) some actual tunes on show here.

    To my shame, I have actually seen ‘Beginning of the End’ live, and thought they were so bad I should clap them because no-one else was going to. Just goes to show, you shouldn’t dimiss people so quickly – maybe it was a bad gig. They are a lot better on record than they were when I saw them, I actually liked the music, but I just can’t get past that “Woooaaarrrgghhh!!!” vocal style. “That’s not proper music, that’s just shouting” as my mum used to say to me about X Ray Spex. Strange how you turn into your parents.

    Out of all of them I was most taken by Behind Enemy Lines, Cartouche (they need a more adventouous drummer though), and especially Witch Hunt. I’m seriously considering getting some of their stuff, can you tell me which LP ‘Shades of Grey’ is on as that was my favourite song of theirs?

    Unfortunately my French isn’t up to understanding any of Cartouche’s web page (something about a traditional yiddish song from the Vilnus ghetto?), but I notice the singer commits the terrible punk rock heresy (I think it’s the 4th commandment) of not only using her studded belt to actually hold up her trousers, but in defiance of all that is decent also shamelessly having the buckle at the front instead of at the side.


    But seriously David, I think it’s interesting to get a different perspective rather than the same old 40 – 50 year old’s having the equivalent of the “it were all fields round here” conversation.

    Obviously, If you don’t have time to contribute (I’m sure you’ve got more important things to do), fair enough, but you shouldn’t stop because you feel out of place. I mean, don’t we all? Isn’t that the point?

  7. alistairliv
    April 19, 2010 at 10:01 am

    Hang on a moment Nick – there is a bit more to KYPP online than a bunch of 40-50 year olds recycling their misspent youths. There are as many posts (72) on the Gary Critchely- raised in a prison thread
    as there are on this one.

    Campaining to get one of the worst miscarriages of justice overturned is hardly an exercise in nostalgia. To succeed, the campaign will need as much support as we can give it.

    So if there is anyone reading this who has not read the Private Eye article on Gary’s case, please do so now and then get on his case.

  8. Nick Hydra
    Nick Hydra
    April 19, 2010 at 11:25 am

    Oh dear,

    I have GOT to try to remember that my sense of humour does not come across well written down…

    Obviously there’s more to KYPP than people like me going on about the old days (good fun though it is), as our discussion on the “is this punk?” thread demonstates.

    I was just trying to encourage someone (David M) who makes interesting points to keep making them, based on his assertion that he was more interested in what was happening now, than what happened back in the day.

    So I was making a jokey point to him, based on the discusson that we were having (which was esentially “What was/ is ‘anarcho punk’?”) rather than critcising the other people who contribute the site.

    I am after all a signed up member one of the “Kids these days don’t know they’re born” brigade.

    See also my comment of the protocol of studded belt wearing – not exactly 100% serious. But still, I think someone should have a word with her; she is letting the side down a bit.

  9. Chris L
    Chris L
    April 19, 2010 at 2:56 pm

    alistair liv: very good point re the Gary Critchely case. The sad thing being that i’m not aware of it being taken up or publicised by ANY ofther punk or anarchist type sites or forums (i’ve just googled & checked, there’s NOTHING). An unfortunate reflection on human nature but I suspect the reason that thread has received it’s 72 posts is because a number of posters here knew him and were about that scene then. Conversely, I remember a few years ago there was a member of some crusty/anarcho-punk type band who got nicked for some ALF related malarkey and that was all over the forums and fanzines of the time. I was only aware of this as he was a friend of Oi Polloi’s. Though on a pragmatic level it’s not surprising that a member of a band being imprisoned should attract more attention than a lone individual. I just find it a bit sad no one in the larger ‘punk’ community seems to be championing the case.

    Nick Hydra: “I only went as far into the thrash/ crust stuff as Discharge/ Amebix” ….. “I just can’t get past that “Woooaaarrrgghhh!!!” vocal style”
    Yea, same with me. Not because of it’s abrasive sound, but simply because it was so uniformist, generic, unimaginative and BORING! And as some of my favourite music for the past 25 or so years has been by the likes of Whitehouse, Ramleh, Merzbow, Incapacitants etc it’s not like i don’t like harsh, dischordant noise! Anyway, I think this topic was covered on the Disorder threads a while back.

    Thought Wolfbrigade were a bit above that. Not really my cup of tea, but more a Celtic Frost/Godflesh type fusion with some later Antisect/Life Cycle thrown in to my ears?

    The other things that really struck me about all the acts DavidM posted links to were just how well produced & proficient the muscianship sounded, plus the distinct lack of any overt politics that I could discern, tho the song titles would suggest at least a social theme with evn the more metallic bands.
    Nick, shame you weren’t about for the analysis of UK82/’street punk’ semiotics; mohican sporting skeletons & mushroom clouds on record sleeves; mandatory bumfluff moustache and 4th division football scarf sporting member in band etc. 😉

    Anyway, what’s happened to ‘the other Nic’ ? Lack of contribution to this thread noted, laddie.

  10. Nick Hydra
    Nick Hydra
    April 19, 2010 at 3:11 pm

    Al: “We used to get up in the morning at half past ten at night, half an hour before we went to bed…” Hang on, I think I may have actually done that once or twice…

    Chris: I emailed Active about Gary Chritchley this morning (they tend to have appeals for assistance for prisoners on their home page), so that might spark some interest.

    I think it’s just that people don’t know about the case – perhaps because the original conviction was so long ago, or maybe because he isn’t inside for a ‘political’ offence.

    I’d never heard about it until a month ago when I came across it on KYPP.

    I’ll send an email to AK Press as well as I imagine theyve got a big mailing list.

    I don’t contribute to any other punk forums, but I’m sure other readers do, so let’s pull our fingers out – If we don’t do it, who else is going to?

  11. Chris L
    Chris L
    April 19, 2010 at 3:38 pm

    True, I was simply thinking that with the traffic this site gets i’d have thought there would be at least another mention of the case somewhere other than KYPP.

    Perhaps someone involved with the campaign should do a facebook group to promote it? ‘Friends of/Free Gary Critchley’ type thang. That seems to be how lots of other things get publicity and taken up by the press these days.

  12. alistairliv
    April 19, 2010 at 6:02 pm

    Hi Chris – there is a discussion section about Gary on the ‘Crown Punks Birmingham’ Facebook page!/topic.php?uid=108486069179177&topic=18

    but a separate page on Facebookwould be useful.

    Also if the press/ media do pick up on the story, they will need an easily accessible contact person who can give sound bites, repeat Gary’s story over and over again, be up for interviews etc.

    It is boring stuff ( I still get journos ringing me up about an anti-Tesco campaign from 5 years ago) but needs to be done.

  13. Sam
    April 19, 2010 at 6:40 pm

    You’re all right regarding the old fartyness, however it has been fascinating for me to reconnect with people I haven’t seen or heard about in 30 years. Plus most people I’ve known since that time just don’t understand (they won’t understand, they don’t wanna understand). Also I found it cathartic to talk to someone like Mike Diboll about the period as he shared the same retrospective view as myself regarding the self-imposed social experiments of the times as being akin to Lord of the Flies. I’d always assumed that he’d be a die hard Anarch but has completely rejected the whole thing. Some of what went on is completely bizarre and it does help to go through some of it again. I certainly don’t look back with rose tinted spectacles. Punk became very dark and sordid – and not in a good way.

  14. DavidM
    April 19, 2010 at 8:03 pm

    Hi folks. Thanks for all your positive comments in regards to the bands and to their music. Should say that I deliberately chose a more varied selection of sounds, some of which probably aren’t wholly representative of the scene today. Guess you’d say that a band like Cartouche are more of an oddity, with most bands, at least those attached to the anarcho punk community, adopting a more metallic sound. File under crust.
    Chris, if you enjoyed Cartouche, then would recommend you check out Denmark’s The Assasinators. Can find their page here:
    Regarding the politics of said bands, while some like Behind Enemy Lines are fiercely political, others are less so.
    Hey Nick, you saw Beginning Of The End? Cool. Caught ’em London Dec. last year at the Back To Black fest with Agrimonia (who I should add are my absolute favourite band at the moment).
    Yeah Nick, you can find Witch Hunt’s Shades Of Grey on their second full length Blood Red States. Glad you liked them. Great band. Still gotta catch ’em live.
    Chris, cheers man for the link. Hey Japanese electro pop. Radically different from anything I’d normally listen to. Gets under your skin for sure, and no doubt will be humming it for the rest of the day:)

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