sex-pistols1The Sex Pistols

When the first line ever written by a band is "I am an antichrist," that's a lot to live up to. And though the images of singer Johnny Rotten bassist Sid Vicious, drummer Paul Cook and guitarist Steve Jones in ripped T-shirts, dyed hair and sporting safety-pin jewelry look more contemporary than shocking by today's standards, in 1977 England they were the closest thing to Satan that the country had seen. The Sex Pistols were considered a genuine threat to the "British way of life." As a result, the reaction to them far over-reached what most musical groups deserve. This disdain for the band came from the record industry as well. When the quartet's classic single "God Save the Queen" was released, the BBC banned it. When it went to number one anyway, the slot was left blank rather than admitting which artist occupied the top position. To modern audiences, The Sex Pistols are regarded as the greatest and most influential punk band of all time, and their lone record, "Never Mind the Bollocks," remains a genuine classic -- and a Platinum-selling one at that.

"One has really stuck in my mind as my worst gig scenario. I remember it well because it was my 40th birthday on the Pistols reunion in '96. It was my 40th birthday, and I thought it was going to be a great day. It was in Belgium actually, by the seaside somewhere. We got on the train from London to Belgium, the Eurostar that went to Brussels. I was going to keep it quiet, but someone mentioned it was my birthday. This was 9 o'clock in the morning, so it kind of gave everyone the excuse to get the champagne out. You can guess that by the time we arrived in Belgium, everyone was really tanked up. ... Basically, it just turned into a nightmare. By the time we took to the stage, John had completely lost his voice. Consequently, nobody could hear what was going on onstage. I don't think anything was coming out of the PA, vocal-wise. Then it turned into total chaos; it got worse. I don't know what happened, but there was a mass brawl between security and people actually fighting onstage. I think someone tried to attack John, and he started hitting him with a microphone. I remember a stretcher coming onstage as well. Somebody was knocked out. There was blood spilt onstage, and there was fighting going on. It just seemed to escalate. ... We were still playing away while somebody was being carried off on a stretcher -- one of the security guys. It was just one of those gigs, and I was expecting to have a really good day for my birthday. ... It was a classic rock and roll gig, I guess. What was the most miraculous thing about it all was that at the end we actually got an encore. People wanted more!"

— Paul Cook, The Sex Pistols