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Pretty Vacant by Sex Pistols

Album: Never Mind The Bollocks, Here's The Sex PistolsReleased: 1977Charted:
  • This was the third single released by the Sex Pistols, one of the most controversial bands in Britain (or anywhere) and pioneers of the new, angry genre, which became known as punk rock. The song was released in the UK on July 1, 1977, and 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 US. 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 program, although they would probably not have been invited if the Beeb has realized the title 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 also banned and in December 1976, they caused a furor by swearing overtly on an independent television news program 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 genre and to music. It was named Single Of The Year by New Musical Express in 1977. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Alexander Baron - London, England, for above 2
  • In 2003, UK DJ Mark Vidler created a mashup of this song, along with the band's "Anarchy In The U.K.," with Madonna's 1998 techno-pop hit, "Ray Of Light." This creation was called "Ray Of Gob," and it got substantial radio play once Vidler got clearance to use the songs.
  • The Sex Pistols' Glen Matlock once bought this song as a ringtone. "It was all plinky plonky, done on a Casio keyboard," he recalled to Q magazine. "It was awful! So I sent off and got my money back."
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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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