ON THIS DAY    6 January      Graphics version >>   BBC News >>
Search ON THIS DAY by date   
  Go back one day Go forward one day

Front Page |  Years |  Themes |  Witness
1977: EMI fires Sex Pistols

The music publisher EMI has ended its contract with the Sex Pistols punk rock group because of their notorious behaviour in public.

In a statement, the company said: "EMI feels it is unable to promote this group's records in view of the adverse publicity generated over the past two months."

The move follows the group's appearance on ITV's Today programme six weeks ago in which they used strong language.


"I haven't signed a single paper - as far as I'm concerned, we're still on EMI"

Malcolm McLaren, Sex Pistols manager

Reports that they had sworn at Heathrow Airport staff and spat at each other while waiting to board a plane for the Netherlands yesterday proved to be the final straw.

EMI broke the news to Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren by telephone this morning. But he denied the contract had been ended by mutual agreement.

In Amsterdam preparing for a series of concerts and recordings, he told the BBC: "That's rubbish. I haven't signed a single paper - as far as I'm concerned, we're still on EMI."

The four-man band - Johnny Rotten, Steve Jones, Paul Cook and Sid Vicious - had only served three months of the two-year contract, worth 40,000, and release one single - Anarchy in the UK.

EMI has also come under pressure to drop the group from the Conservative MP for Christchurch and Lymington, Robert Adley.

Last night, he wrote to the managing director, Sir John Read, saying: "Surely a group of your size and reputation could forgo the doubtful privilege of sponsoring trash like the Sex Pistols."

Asked whether he would sign up another punk rock group, Sir John told the BBC: "Certainly. I am told there is a demand for this style of music and provided we can have groups that don't attract the adverse publicity this group has had, we'll certainly want to be in it."

In Context
In March 1977 the Sex Pistols signed up with A&M Records but were sacked soon afterwards.

By June they had joined Virgin and sold 150,000 copies of God Save the Queen in just one day. The single officially reached number two - despite a BBC Radio One ban and several high street chains refusing to stock it. It caused a national outrage in the year of the Queen's Jubilee.

On 12 October 1978 Sid Vicious was charged with murdering his girlfriend, Nancy Spungen. That same year the group disbanded.

Sid Vicious died of a drug overdose on 2 February 1979 while out on bail.

Virgin Records continued to release Sex Pistols music, including one compilation appropriately called Flogging a Dead Horse.

Then in 1986 former Sex Pistols won substantial damages against their ex-manager Malcolm McLaren.

Ten years later in 1996, the band reformed for their final worldwide tour - and live album Filthy Lucre - that lasted six months.

The band reformed again in 2002 and re-released God Save the Queen in response to the Queen's Golden Jubilee celebrations. They came together again in August 2003 for a short USA tour.


Search ON THIS DAY by date   
  Go back one day Go forward one day

Front Page |  Years |  Themes |  Witness
^^ Back to top |