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Were the Sex Pistols still viewed as a band in 1978/1979

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Country Rocker, Mar 23, 2021.

  1. Country Rocker

    Country Rocker Forum Resident Thread Starter

    With the departure of Johnny Rotten in January '78, cash from chaos was prevalent with the making of the "Great Rock N' Roll Swindle' film and 2LP soundtrack during most of 1978 (released in '79). But were the Sex Pistols still seen as a 'proper' band during this era? In retrospect it's very easy to see they weren't. But did fans at the time actually think that Johnny Rotten had been replaced with Ronnie Biggs, or that Sid Vicious was now the new lead singer? Was the Great Rock N' Roll Swindle considered to be a new album, and the follow up to NMTB? I'd be interested to hear your memories from this period. As it's rarely discussed in great detail.
  2. bRETT

    bRETT Forum Resident

    Boston MA
    Not really. The Biggs single was reviewed (in the UK and in Rolling Stone) as the new Sex Pistols record, but it wasn't well received and was considered a bit desperate. By late 78 PiL's First Edition had come out and Swindle was thought of as an after-the-fact cleanup effort.

    Cook and Jones didn't make any real attempts to convince people that the band was alive.
    deredordica, DTK, ZBDMiller and 11 others like this.
  3. Slackhurst Broadcasting

    Slackhurst Broadcasting Forum Resident

    No. The band ended as a serious proposition when Lydon walked out. Everything after that was a farce.
  4. Country Rocker

    Country Rocker Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I'm curious if singles like 'Silly Thing' were wrongly viewed as a band recording, with Sid on bass. Of course it just featured Cook and Jones.......on everything!
    deredordica and Tim Bucknall like this.
  5. dlokazip

    dlokazip Forum Transient

    Austin, TX, USA
    Arguably, by design.
    DTK, Tim Bucknall, Big Blue and 2 others like this.
  6. Fitter Stoke

    Fitter Stoke Forum Resident

    Virgin were cute and marketed ‘Swindle’ and its attendant 45s as Sex Pistols’ product, but most fans weren’t fooled by their poor attempt at credibility by association. All true Pistols’ fans know that ‘Bollocks’ and the ‘Holidays in the Sun’ 45 were the last genuine items in their discography, a few old Rotten-era tracks on ‘Swindle’ notwithstanding.
  7. bRETT

    bRETT Forum Resident

    Boston MA
    The Swindle singles all did really well in the UK. And though they were popular I don't think it was really recognized as a new incarnation of the Pistols (mainly because Cook/Jones weren't doing interviews or playing live).

    Hell, I used to close my weekly college radio show with "Friggin in the Riggin".
  8. Cranny

    Cranny Forum Resident

    This is not correct. Most of the kids who bought Sex Pistols records were between 12 and 16 years old and enjoyed the singles like No one is innocent, Something else etc. just as if they were from the same band, all those singles were hits in the UK. They were aware that John had left , the first PIL single was seen as an extension of the Pistols releases, the young kids were mostly shocked by the first PIL album when they heard it though and it didnt sell so well. A lot of kids had grown up a bit by the time Metal Box was released, The Cure and The Banshees had pushed the boundaries, things moved so fast then that not a lot of thought went into what the Pistols were up too, John was such an icon though that there was a trust he would continue making great records, no record as extreme as Death Disco had ever made the top 10. Sid died soon after which was a shame he was a great rock star but unfortunatley a really dumb kid.
    deredordica, DTK, mc7t and 10 others like this.
  9. Bassist

    Bassist Forum Resident

    I have a memory of being in warm sunshine in shirt sleeves and buying the NME on my way to or from an A Level exam when I found out that the first PIL line up had been announced.
    So if I am right then I am guessing that was late May or more likely June of '78.
    If anyone was harbouring any hopes that the band was going to reform and continue then that was definitely the end of that.
    deredordica and CaptainFeedback1 like this.
  10. Veronica Mars

    Veronica Mars Forum Resident

    Nakamichi likes this.
  11. 7solqs4iago

    7solqs4iago Forum Resident

    It was over by then, it ran it's just course.
    Nakamichi likes this.
  12. BEAThoven

    BEAThoven Forum Resident

    New Jersey
    From a US perspective, especially for those in the NYC-area, as 1978 progressed, all stories started to focus on Sid Vicious' destructive exploits around NYC culminating with the murder of Nancy Spungen. With Sid being in NY and playing ramshackle gigs, most figured the band was done as all the focus shifted to Sid and his tabloid fodder.
  13. Man at C&A

    Man at C&A Forum Resident

    When I was a kid who loved the Pistols when I was about 12 or 13 in 1986-87 I listened to all of it as though it was the same band, especially as there was stuff with Rotten on Swindle. It was quite a while before I knew the proper story. I'll have took everything in The Great Rock n' Roll Swindle film as true!
  14. Terry

    Terry Senior Member

    Veronica Mars likes this.
  15. 7solqs4iago

    7solqs4iago Forum Resident


    Malcom's article in the New Yorker from 1997 is always an enjoyable read:

    Elements of Anti-Style
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2021
    eldanger25, Ken Wood, JuanTCB and 5 others like this.
  16. Chuckee

    Chuckee Forum Resident

    Upstate, NY, USA
    Not really.
  17. Jmetamatic

    Jmetamatic This is the end of our oxygen supply.

    Glasgow, Scotland
    No ... but I like the swindle tracks, just some goodtime Rock 'n ' Roll
  18. Nakamichi

    Nakamichi The iceage is coming....

    When Lydon left it was over.
    They continued to "flog a dead horse" though.
    dlokazip and Purple Jim like this.
  19. Beyond Mania

    Beyond Mania Forum Resident

    Los Angeles
    Good thread. I was always curious about this too. I'm trying to think of something to compare this situation to and I'll go ahead and throw out Guns N' Roses. So we can phrase the question like... Once Axl started getting rid of band members, did fan's still see Guns N' Roses as a proper band? By the time Chinese Democracy comes out, surely that can't be seen as a proper band right?
    I loved the Swindle songs to death and didn't care if it was only Steve and Paul with friends, or Sid singing some tracks. This was early 90s when I was mostly listening and started learning the story of how the band fell apart.
    Buddybud likes this.
  20. milco

    milco Forum Resident

    The Pistols were rightly regarded by most people as the first four singles plus 'Never Mind the bollocks'. All the stuff that came after was just dross, mainly championed by the classroom 'wannabes' and people in your school who thought they were 'hard'.
  21. 7solqs4iago

    7solqs4iago Forum Resident

    dross? for shame... good day to you! :tsk:

    Dave Decadent, tedg65 and Tom Wabe like this.
  22. katuna

    katuna Well-Known Member

    Houston, TX
    Talk about a sickly pallor.
  23. Sear

    Sear Forum Resident

    Tarragona (Spain)
    The great rock and roll swindle isn't a Sex Pistols album. It's a Malcolm McLaren novelty album
  24. Jim B.

    Jim B. Forum Resident

    And back in 78/79 kids didn't really know the story and just thought they were still a band. Kids too young to be reading music papers. Something like Silly Thing was just the new SP single.

    So this rewriting of history isn't correct as some people are suggesting. Indeed if you look into it you will see they were trying to find a replacement singer.

    So while we may think the Pistols were done the moment Lydon walked, and artistically that may be true, for many they were still a band releasing new material.
  25. BEAThoven

    BEAThoven Forum Resident

    New Jersey
    Yeesh... what a horrible LP... IMHO.
    DME1061, 7solqs4iago and Sear like this.

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