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Still sounding dangerous and subversive, the Sex Pistols' one and only studio album a quarter-century later.

Never Mind the Bollocks Turns Twenty-Five

From Reuters:

    On October 28, 1977, the Sex Pistols unleashed their debut album, “Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols,” on an unsuspecting world.

    It shot straight to the top of the album charts and stayed there for an astonishing 47 weeks.

    Everything about the album was designed to shock, from its provocative title, its 12 short, explosive songs and its garish pink and yellow pop art album cover.

    The names of the tracks were printed on the album sleeve in wonky black type, making them look like classic anonymous ransom demands cobbled together from letters cut out of newspapers.

    Aggressively marketed by Richard Branson’s Virgin Records, it quickly became the defining album of punk. The faces of the band’s frontman Johnny Rotten and bassist Sid Vicious leered out at television viewers across the land.

    “The Sex Pistols were a turning point for us, the band we had been looking for,” Branson later wrote in his autobiography.

    “(They) generated more newspaper cuttings than anything else in 1977 apart from the (Queen’s) Silver Jubilee itself. Their notoriety was practically a tangible asset.”

    THE DREADED “B” WORD

    The album even spawned a court case.

    A week after its release, a policewoman spotted a window display in a record shop which consisted of a dozen Sex Pistols posters and album covers, all with the “B” word prominently displayed.

    She marched into the shop, ordered the display to be dismantled and arrested the manager, who was charged under the Indecent Advertising Act.

    The case, heard in the central city of Nottingham later that month, revolved around the alleged indecency of the word bollocks — British slang for testicles.

    The decisive evidence came from James Kingsley, a professor of English at Nottingham University and a former priest, who successfully argued that the word was accepted slang and had been in use for centuries.

    He explained that a bollock was an Anglo-Saxon word meaning “small ball.” Bollocks was also 18th century slang for clergymen, owing to their reputation for talking nonsense, or, in common parlance, a load of old balls.

    Kingsley won the day, the shop manager was acquitted and the Pistols’ notoriety was assured.

This case indicates the hysteria in the air at the time in England, when for a moment, rock music seemed capable of changing the world one last time.

Since the Pistols were as much marketing entity as rock band, they offered no particular alternative to the status quo of the day, but the vehemence with which they attacked the structure must have surprised even them; and, of course, the spirit of anarchy they unleashed worked most predictably upon them.

About Eric Olsen

Career media professional and serial entrepreneur Eric Olsen flung himself into the paranormal world in 2012, creating the America's Most Haunted brand and co-authoring the award-winning America's Most Haunted book, published by Berkley/Penguin in Sept, 2014.Olsen is co-host of the nationally syndicated broadcast and Internet radio talk show After Hours AM; his entertaining and informative America's Most Haunted website and social media outlets are must-reads: [email protected], Facebook.com/amhaunted, Pinterest America's Most Haunted.Olsen is also guitarist/singer for popular and wildly eclectic Cleveland cover band The Props.

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