It Was 35 Years Ago This Week: "Never Mind The Bollocks, Here's The Sex Pistols" Is Released!

"It was 35 years ago this week, Johnny Rotten insulted the Queen, they've been going in and out of style, but they're guaranteed to spew some bile."

For those of us to young to feel any real connection to Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, we understood its importance, its impact. As groundbreaking as The Beatles had already been, Sgt. Pepper's pulled genius out of thin air and revolutionized music all over again.

In hindsight, Sgt. Pepper's set in motion a tidal wave of extended self-indulgence. Without it, would there have been a Yes or a Genesis, or an Emerson, Lake & Palmer, or a Queen with their "Bohemian Rhapsody" and A Day At The Races/A Night At The Opera concept albums?

Regardless of the answer, by the mid-70's, rock & roll had gotten so high on its own fumes, so bloated, so narcissistic that something had to give. What's most surprising is that it only took one band - hell, one album - to slay the proverbial dragon. Upon release, Never Mind The Bollocks, Here's The Sex Pistols detonated like a bomb and changed the world in a heartbeat.

Listening to it now, 35 years to the day after its release, it's still easy to hear why it had such a dramatic impact. Never have three chords done so much damage. Steve Jones' power chords combine with Paul Cook's pummeling drum attack to lay one monster of a foundation upon which Johnny Rotten was able to unleash a sneering, snot-filled manifesto that the whole world had unknowingly been waiting for all along.

Rock fans had had enough of the stars floating high above them in their own little world. The Sex Pistols were one of them, saying what everybody felt, but had been too fucking afraid to say. It was marvelous, ugly, and yet so electric and so beautiful. Nobody'd dared to make light of Queen (the band), much less THE Queen. Can you imagine what it must have felt like to be a kid in England circa 1976 and to hear "God save the Queen/She ain't no human being" blasting out of record stores and bedroom windows all over the country?

When "God Save The Queen" hit #1, it challenged not only the rock establishment, but the monarchy as well. Though sales figures proved otherwise, the BBC refused to list the banned single at #1, placing it in the #2 slot instead (behind Rod Stewart's "The First Cut Is The Deepest". On the NME chart, a blank line appeared at #1 as the publication refused to list the artist/song title information out of fear of repercussions from the establishment.

Almost overnight, a thousand punk bands appeared on the scene, forever altering the musical landscape. While the punk explosion was initially short-lived, giving way to post-punk and new wave, Never Mind The Bollocks remains a landmark album that sounds as fresh and daunting as it did on the day of its release.

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