“The Sex Pistols didn’t just kick down the doors; they kicked them off the wall.”
How did a band with such a small discography come to personify the rise of punk? They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. If that’s the case, the Sex Pistols should be very flattered.
But how did it all start? Well, if a fashion revolution ever had a dream team, it would consist of Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood. Feeling uninspired by the hippie movement of the sixties, they wanted rebellion, they wanted change and they wanted it now. Opening up a small shop together on King’s Road, their aggressive clothing and controversial accessories took the London scene by storm, and soon became the mecca of edgy, rock and roll fashion as well as teddy boy suits. After a string of name changes, in 1974 they renamed the shop simply ‘Sex’.
It was here that John Lydon, who would later become known as Johnny Rotten (for his disconcerting oral hygiene), auditioned as frontman for Malcolm’s unnamed band. Rotten “couldn’t sing” and had a “stare that could kill”. It was then and there that they became the Sex Pistols. As a bunch, they were completely mad. They were rebellious. And they had attitude. Armed with controversial clothing, this amalgamation truly sparked the birth of Punk. From London to CBGB in New York, this sharper style with a lifestyle attached was a refreshing change to the floatiness the late Sixties which represented peace and unity.
Originally, the press ignored them. But eventually, it became impossible. They were undoubtedly rowdy, but they always had something to say. And that’s what the media called ‘Punk Rock’.
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