The Sex Pistols Last Stand

(Gibson) On this day in 1978, The Sex Pistols played their last live gig at Winterland Ballroom, San Francisco, (they re-formed in 96). Gibson takes a look back: With the rock and roll scene in London well and truly all shook up, members of Parliament still outraged at John Lydon's sneering arrogance and parts of the etablishment still scared to death of the Sex Pistols' potential to inspire riots, what was there left for Johnny Rotten and crew?

Of course: America! Malcolm McLaren, taking a leaf out of Beatle manager Brian Epstein's book, had carefully planned a smart and considered assault in the U.S., beginning with a well-researched appearance on the hippest show on U.S. TV, Saturday Night Live. Yet, assorted criminal records caused a Visa delays and Elvis Costello ended up taking the TV exposure and launching himself on a long and profitable American career.

The Pistols, however, were undeterred and headed to the land of the free a few weeks later. But with no major event to hang the tour on, the exercise was in trouble from the start. With northern gigs cancelled after the SNL debacle, McLaren went into maximum headline mode and booked the band into what he thought were hardcore redneck bars in the South. He wanted tension, aggression and the resultant outraged headlines for his band (and himself). more on this story

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