1977 Album in Review: Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols – Sex Pistols

The Sex Pistols was undoubtedly one of the most controversial bands of their time, and one that sparked the emergence of punk rock, centered around rebellion and freedom, in Britain. The band would only last for 3 years, but they had an enormous effect on the youth and punk culture, with their non-conforming appearances and behavior, and wildly anarchistic, anti-establishment messages. On October 28th 1977, after a series of singles and a bootleg demo album, the band released their first and only official album, Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols.

Britain in the 70’s was the time of a downward spiraling economy, and high rates of unemployment and inflation. The youth were growing more and more frustrated with their increasingly grimmer future and the lack of action on the government’s part. When Sex Pistols burst onto the scene, they gave a loud, distinct voice to this growing fury, one that refused to be ignored.

Johnny Rotten blasts out strained vocals, while Paul Cook and Steve Jones raged in the background on drums and guitar respectively. Bassist Sid Vicious only played a small part in “Bodies”, while Jones covered bass for the other tracks, though the album was built up to be less bass reliant. The album covers a range of topics, from Berlin in “Holidays in the Sun”, to abortion in “Bodies”, to attacking the American punk scene in drum-heavy “New York”. Throughout it all ran their famously unapologetic anti-government sentiments. “Anarchy in the UK”, one of their best known songs, is an anarchistic anthem, provocative from the first line, “I am an anti-Christ” to the last line “Destroy!”. Perhaps their most famously controversial singles is “God Save the Queen”, a sarcastic and fast-paced track that popularized the phrase “no future” as part of the punk rock movement.

Even today, their politically charged music is just as relevant as it was in the 70’s, with certain themes resurging due to the current state of world politics. The Sex Pistols, for all of their controversy, will remain a cornerstone of the untameable music that is punk rock.

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