#63: 1976, Sex Pistols, Anarchy In The UK

by Jackie_South on January 19, 2011

All the way back at Songs To Learn And Sing #19, my pal George East talked about songs you hear that change everything, making everything you have been listening before irrelevant.

Whilst this song was just before my time (I was seven when it was released), Anarchy In The UK clearly played that role for a generation. It wasn’t the first UK punk record released – the Damned had released New Rose and The Vibrators’ We Vibrate  just before – but it had a punch that those tracks lacked (it had also been performed on TV before either of those had came out). While New Rose was an amphetamine-fueled pop-song, Anarchy In The UK was something else – an angry statement of intent, a glorious “UP YOURS!” to the world. John Lydon emits menace, he strips the lyrics raw and spits them out.

14 months later, the Pistols had broken up. Arguably, their creativity had died in February 1977, only three months after this was released, with the sacking of Glen Matlock, who wrote most of the tunes.  It still seems scarcely believable that a band could change so much in such a short time.

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