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Pretty Vacant

by

The Sex Pistols



Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

"Pretty Vacant" was the third single released by the Sex Pistols, at the time one of the most controversial bands in Britain or anywhere, and pioneers of the new, angry genré which became known as punk rock. The song was released in the UK on July 1, 1977, in the USA on October 27 the same year, and on October 15, 2007 as a 30th Anniversary Re-Issue. Running to 3 minutes, 15 seconds, "Pretty Vacant" is a group composition; it was produced by Chris Thomas and Bill Price for Virgin in the UK and Warner Brothers in the United States. The B Side was a disappointing cover song "No Fun".
"Pretty Vacant" saw the only appearance of the Sex Pistols on the BBC's famous Top Of The Pops programme, although they would probably not have been invited if the Beeb has realised pretty vacant is to be interpreted as pretty va-cunt. The Pistols had already seen their debut single "God Save The Queen" banned by the BBC as well as by independent UK radio; their debut album was banned, and in December 1976 they caused a furore by swearing overtly on an independent television news programme well before the watershed, egged on by interviewer Bill Grundy.
Surprisingly, the riff for "Pretty Vacant" was inspired by a very unpunk song, the ABBA ballad "S.O.S."
Although it isn't quite as powerful as "God Save The Queen", the band's third release is a worthy contribution to the genré and to music. It was named Single Of The Year by New Musical Express in 1977. (thanks, Alexander Baron - London, England, for above 2)
The Sex Pistols
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Comments (1):

There is one simple reason why the fans in the late 70's loved this song. Just listen to Johnny Rotten's phrasing of "...oh so pretty, ahh, and we're vacant".
A friend of mine, having attended a Sex Pistols concert in those days, told me that the audience enjoyed very much singing along the refrain, loudly emphasizing the last syllable, clearly pronouncing a 'u' instead of an 'a'.
- Nico, Amstelveen, Netherlands
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