During 1974 Kings Road entrepreneur Malcolm McClaren was asked by Steve Jones to manage his Roxy Music-inspired band, The Strand. Art student Glen Matlock was working casual hours at McClaren and Westwood's shop (then called “Too Fast to Live, Too Young to Die” and specialising in the Brando-esque 50s 'rocker' look). Matlock was recruited by McClaren as bass player, replacing Warwick Nightingale.
McClaren ventured to New York for a few months where he temporarily managed the New York Dolls. He returned to London in May 1975 with exciting new ideas inspired by the punk scene there, particularly the iconic fashion of Richard Hell. His and Westwood's shop was renamed “Sex” and adopted a new look, combining S&M inspired 'anti-fashion', with Hell's ripped clothes combined with rubber, leather and glamorous stage-wear. Steve Jones, never quite comfortable as a front-man, relocated to guitarist in The Strand, and local 19-year-old John Lydon was employed as lead singer. Lydon was soon re-christened Johnny Rotten (mostly due to poor dental hygiene, and McClaren and the band agreed on a new name, “The Sex Pistols”.
Initially playing 60s rock covers by UK bands such as The Who and The Small Faces, The Sex Pistols soon began writing their own material, principally by Glen Matlock and Johnny Rotten.
One of The Sex Pistols' earliest songs was Matlock's “Pretty Vacant”, establishing the musical signposts of the UK punk rock movement, namely driving distorted guitars, 'rough and ready' performances, aggressive vocals full of attitude and simple harmonic content and song structures.
Despite the common misconception that punk bands are inept and…