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Published on May 11, 2007
The Sex Pistols were an iconic and highly influential English punk rock band, formed in London in 1975. The band originally comprised vocalist Johnny Rotten, guitarist Steve Jones, drummer Paul Cook and bassist Glen Matlock (later replaced by Sid Vicious). Although their initial career lasted only three years and produced only four singles and one studio album, the Sex Pistols have been described by the BBC as "the definitive English punk rock band." The Pistols are widely credited with initiating the punk movement in the United Kingdom and creating the first generation gap within rock and roll.
The Sex Pistols emerged as a response to what was perceived to be the increasingly safe and bloated progressive rock and manufactured pop music of the mid-1970s. The band created various controversies during their brief career which captivated Britain, but often eclipsed their music. Their shows and tours repeatedly faced difficulties from authorities, and public appearances often ended in disaster and riot. Their 1977 single, "God Save the Queen", was widely regarded as an attack on the British monarchy and British nationalism.
Lydon / Rotten left the band in 1978, amid a turbulent tour of the United States; the remaining trio carried on for the remainder of the year with vocals provided by Jones, Edward Tudor-Pole and Ronnie Biggs but disbanded in early 1979. With Lydon, they reunited in 1996 for the "Filthy Lucre" tour and have staged subsequent reunion tours in 2002 and 2003. On 24 February 2006, the Sex Pistols were officially inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but they refused to attend the induction, calling the museum a "piss stain".