24 September 2012 (released)
15 September 2012
Even though John Lydon has declared that this is a travesty you have to approach this on the basis of holding it up to the light and seeing if it still has any fundament – it does.
This was the result of ceaseless machinations from the lovely Malcolm McLaren and reflects a moment in time where the comfortable world of The Music Business suddenly found itself at war with the kids that they apparently represented. The society of the time was incredibly middle class and twee and suddenly they were presented with a an ugly and twisted young man screaming “I’m not an animal, ananimal, ananimalanimalanimal” while his dysfunctional band churned out bastard riff after blasting power chord. Shock horror? Hell yes!
Does it still stand up as music? Again, hell yes.
The band tear into songs like ‘Bodies’ or ‘Problems’ with real power and anger while Lydon/Rotten’s vocals snarl and spit and still cut right to the nervous system.
Tracks like ‘Anarchy In The UK’ and ‘God Save The Queen’ got all the publicity but they were no more antagonistic or depraved than ‘Submission’ and the scathing lyrics and fire behind ‘EMI’ were/are heartfelt and deserved.
As always with these Universal Boxsets there are plenty of additional versions and B-Sides and some are better than others with ‘No Fun’ starring Rotten’s opening rant a favourite.
There are two live shows included as well – one from Norway that sounds as though Sid Vicious was awol except for some off key backing vocals and the other a week later from Stockholm that sounds better and seems to have a full complement of band members.
Frankly, if a band came up today and delivered ‘Never Mind The Bollocks ...’ it would have a similar impact on music – we have gotten fat and complacent again and a new Punk movement is probably overdue but as a piece of its time it it is remarkable and still sounds bloody awesome.