Arguably one of the most famous 7 inch ever, this single from the Sex Pistols was released in 1977. Designed by Jamie Reid, its cover is also certainly one of the most influencial cover design in history, voted numerous times as best cover of all eternity, in various places. Done. But the story isn't that simple.
In fact, this pressing isn't the original one : on march 1977, after a press conference celebrating their signing of a contract with A&M Records, the band came to the label's office, and of course, things degenerated! Drunk, the leader Sid Vicious turned amok, injured himself in the toilets and assaulted people, and ended up vomiting on them. Rotten and Jones, other famous band members, also participated in their way in the event, spitting, insulting people, among other typical Rock'n Roll amusements. Some of Rotten's punk friends also threatened some A&M people's friend a few days later in a club.
On march 16th, the label broke contract with the band, and all copies of the single that had been pressed were virtually all destroyed, that is 25000 copies. Very few copies survived, and are now more than highly collectable.
|The original pressing on A&M (this image is from an identical repress)|
Two month later, the band had a new label, Virgin, that was ready to release the record, with the famous Queen cover from Jamie Reid. But it wasn't over.
New troubles occured, not only because of the provocative lyrics, but also because of the outrageous cover design. Having dared to tear the image of her majesty to put the name of the band and the title of the song, the artists had the sleeve's platemakers refusing to print the record! It took a few weeks before the workers accepted to resume production.
The record finally came out, on May 27th, and became the hit we know. Because of its lyrics and cover, it was widely banned from airplay, becoming the most censored song in the UK history, and the British Phonographic Institute is said to have issued orders to minimize the numbers of copies sold by the Pistols, thus making them missing officially the N°1 rank (Mc Laren claimed later that CBS executives said to him that the Pistols were outselling the N°1, Rod stewart, two to one...)
|French 7 inch (Front)|
|French 7 inch (Back)|
On a design point of view, the sleeve is simple, focused, yet sophisticated, even through its supposed home-made look. The use of this small iconic portrait was really clever, the infamy being even more scandalous with the defacing of a worship object so naive and sincere.
It also premiered the trademark collage style that was to become even more famous with the cover of the LP "Never Mind The Bollocks, Here's The Sex Pistols, released on october 1977.