RaR36 – Anarchy in the UK

DIRECTIONS:

Listen to the recording of the tune by clicking the attached mp3 file. This will open the recording in a new window or tab. Listen and follow along with the listening guide in the book.
Read the liner notes below.
Read the information “What to Listen For”
Respond to the Rate-A-Record/Questions by clicking on the assignment link and then click on on the button “Write Submission” (to the right of Text Submission) to record your response. Do not use the comments field.

Anarchy in the UK by the Sex Pistols

Often regarded as the paragons of punk rock, the Sex Pistols were actually an English version of several American bands playing a minimalist version of rock and roll at CBGB OMFUG (Country, Bluegrass, Blues and Other Music for Urban Gormandizers) in New York. Malcolm McLaren, the owner of a fetish clothing boutique in London, had been to New York and had seen the Ramones and the New York Dolls in action, and he thought that a band playing in a similar style might be just the thing to generate publicity for his shop. Several of the young men who hung around the store were already in a band; all that McLaren needed was to find them a lead singer and some gigs. In recruiting other members, McLaren was interested in someone with the correct image; talent, he’d learned from the punk bands in New York, was optional. Thus, John Lydon’s audition for the lead singer spot consisted of miming Alice Cooper’s “Eighteen.” He got the job and was renamed Johnny Rotten before anyone knew if he could actually sing. Likewise, when bassist Glenn Matlock quit the band (or was fired) Sid Vicious was hired because of his look, but he was so limited musically that his amplifier was usually turned all the way down.

The Sex Pistols began performing gigs around London, with immediate results. Punk was a minority reaction to overblown and overproduced rock shows in the United States; in the United Kingdom it tapped into something darker, a violent backlash against popular culture and false social optimism, and the band quickly attracted a large, disenfranchised audience. Several major record labels, still afraid to miss the next Beatles or Rolling Stones, bid for their services; the Sex Pistols were signed by EMI and released several singles that performed poorly. They were subsequently dropped after swearing in an appearance on a morning television program; however, the episode generated so much publicity that the startup Virgin Records picked up their contract. Their LP, Never Mind the Bollocks, Here Come the Sex Pistols, was nearly suppressed because of its title (which could be construed as obscene); ultimately, however, it was their first single, “God Save the Queen,” strategically released to coincide with Queen Elizabeth’s Silver Jubilee, that got them banned from the playlists of state-run BBC Radio. In the punk world this was the ultimate seal of quality, and the single leaped into the number two spot on the charts. However, many papers left the slot blank rather than print the name of the controversial song!


WHAT TO LISTEN FOR:

Raw energy!
Awesome vocals
Lyrics:
Right now ha, ha, ha, ha, ha
I am an anti-Christ
I am an anarchist
Don’t know what I want
But I know how to get it
I want to destroy the passerby
‘Cause I want to be anarchy
No dogs body
Anarchy for the U.K.
It’s coming sometime and maybe
I give a wrong time, stop a traffic line
Your future dream has sure been seen through
‘Cause I want to be anarchy
In the city
How many ways to get what you want
I use the best, I use the rest
I use the N.M.E.
I use anarchy
‘Cause I want to be anarchy
Its the only way to be
Is this the MPLA
Or is this the UDA
Or is this the IRA
I thought it was the U.K.
Or just another country
Another council tenancy
I want to be anarchy
And I want to be anarchy
(Oh what a name)
And I want to be an anarchist
(I get pissed, destroy!)

RATE-A-RECORD/QUESTIONS TO ANSWER:

This piece is the epitome of what Punk Rock was all about. How is this so? What are some things that you hear that support this statement?
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This piece is the epitome of what Punk Rock was all about.

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