Bodies

Album: Never Mind The Bollocks, Here's The Sex Pistols (1977)
Play Video

Songfacts®:

  • This song is about a schizophrenic woman named Pauline who used to stalk the Sex Pistols and was fanatical about them. She lived in a treehouse on the estate of "Nut-house." One time, the nurses couldn't get her down so she'd live up there for days.
  • John Lydon: "She turned up at my door once wearing a see-through plastic bag. She did the rounds in London and ended up at everybody's door. Like most insane people, she was very promiscuous. The fetus thing is what got me. She'd tell me about getting pregnant by the male nurses at the asylum or whatever."
  • In Daniel Rachel's The Art of Noise: Conversations with Great Songwriters, lead singer Lydon says this is about "the rage and passion and pain of both sides of the abortion issue."
  • Abortion is a subject rarely broached in rock 'n' roll and for the first time in a Pistols' song, Lydon felt compelled to unleash a string of expletives. He told Mojo in a 2017 interview:

    "I didn't write it to cause a commotion. It was realism. My mum had a lot of miscarriages when she was young, and as the oldest child I had to carry the bucket and flush it down the outside toilets. Sometimes it took several flushes, and sometimes there'd be recognisable body parts."
  • Producer Chris Thomas claims a small part in the song's development. "John was singing it originally in the first person, he recalled to Mojo. "It went 'I don't want a baby that looks like that... 'Then he did it in the third person: 'She don't want a baby...' I said, 'Why don't you mix it up?,' fully expecting a beer bottle to come flying past my ear. But John liked it. So we edited the two together."

Comments: 15

  • David Harvey from AustraliaSid Vicious played bass on "Bodies", but it's not certain how audible his bass playing is in the final mix, and Steve Jones did say, "He (Sid) played his farty old bass part and we just let him do it. When he left, I dubbed another part on, leaving Sid's down low. I think it might be barely audible on the track."
  • Joes54 from UsaWhatever John Lydon said decades later, wanting to be acceptable to his betters, it is not only not vague what the 21-year-old Johnny Rotten thought and felt about this subject, it is relentlessly, brutally, unmistakably clear. He is taking the subject and shoving it in everyone's face, forcing them to look at it. Blasting through the hypocrisy. There is no other song like this. What is punk rock? It's the Sex Pistols. And this is their ultimate song.
  • Laylah from Milwaukee, WiChristian, you seem to be one of the only people that made a short but decent comment. Maybe back in the day he felt allot differently because his input on this song also had to do with his
    own Mother having a miscarriage & him (John Lydon) having to go throw what could have been his brother or sister in a plastic bag into the outdoor toilet.
  • Laylah from Milwaukee, WiSheeberson, WOW! Are you a brain surgeon? You're writing sure sounds like you are! Such a fun song indeed, yee haw...giddee up my friend. Let's go crank the tune "She thinks my tractor's sexy" & cut up a rug!!!
  • Laylah from Milwaukee, WiSacco Thayer , where do get you're BS nonsense from? No it's not...
  • Laylah from Milwaukee, WiMargie, John Lydon (& the rest of The Sex Pistols except the "useless one" Sid Vicious aka: John Simon Ritchie) all wrote this song together for one. It is true what the song states: "Her name was Pauline & she lived in a tree (house according to Lydon & hard to believe outside a mental institution but on the grounds) but it's just a song. She obviously was mentally ill & did allot of stupid stuff (don't we all sometimes or are you above that)? None of The Sex Pistols ever said she stalked them but yes she was promiscuous & a "groupie". Hmm, neither them or any other bands had a problem with "doing" her nor cared if she got pregnant. Lydon has said many times he is pro-choice. If you aren't like you said it's your opinion.
  • Margie from St. Louis, MoHey Lacy, did you read the songfact? It says that this song was about a schizophrenic person who stalked The Sex Pistols and would talk about getting pregnant. Also, I have been to his website and I don't see anywhere on there stating he is pro-choice. His website basically has videos, info on tours and stuff and other music-related stuff. Plus, Johnn Lydon doesn't even run the site, it's run by other people. If you click on email, it will say that Johnny does not accpet email and he is a luddite. If you don't know what that is, look is up. It explains why he doesn't run his own website. Whether he is pro-choice or not, since you stated your opinion, I can freely state mine: I disagree with pro-choice. I don't expect anyone to accpet my opinion, but y'all will have to deal with it, cause I ain't changing my mind.
  • Kike from Laredo, TxVelvet Revolver sings this and do a very good job of it. I saw them sing this live in Houston, TX and it was amazing.
  • Lacy from Cadillac, MiJohn Lydon acually belives in pro-choice. He said so on an interveiw for Q magazine December 2005 issue 233 and is posted somewhere on his website. He said that every woman sould have the choice when they face it. I definatly agree with him.
  • Sacco Thayer from Taunton, MaThe song is about forced abortions in mental hospitals
  • Sheeberson from Wrightsville Beach, Ncthis is song is sooooooo good, and fun to sing along to
  • Christian from Kansas City, MoOn the VH1 Classic Album program for "Never Mind The Bollocks," John Lydon specifically says that it's not a pro-abortion song, nor an anti-abortion song.
  • Kane from Vancouver, WaI think this song IS about how Jonny Rotten disapproved of abortion but he used a good story to make everyone understand where he was coming from.
  • I'm Awesome from Boulder, Coive always though this song was about abortions and how the sex pistols disaprroved of them.
  • John from Topeka, KyThis is the best song ever. Me and my friend used to get in trouble singing this at recess. Yes I am only 12
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Francis Rossi of Status Quo

Francis Rossi of Status QuoSongwriter Interviews

Doubt led to drive for Francis, who still isn't sure why one of Status Quo's biggest hits is so beloved.

Stan Ridgway

Stan RidgwaySongwriter Interviews

Go beyond the Wall of Voodoo with this cinematic songwriter.

David Clayton-Thomas of Blood, Sweat & Tears

David Clayton-Thomas of Blood, Sweat & TearsSongwriter Interviews

The longtime BS&T frontman tells the "Spinning Wheel" story, including the line he got from Joni Mitchell.

Dan Reed

Dan ReedSongwriter Interviews

Dan cracked the Top 40 with "Ritual," then went to India and spent 2 hours with the Dalai Lama.

Reverend Horton Heat

Reverend Horton HeatSongwriter Interviews

The Reverend rants on psychobilly and the egghead academics he bashes in one of his more popular songs.

Dennis DeYoung

Dennis DeYoungSongwriter Interviews

Dennis DeYoung explains why "Mr. Roboto" is the defining Styx song, and what the "gathering of angels" represents in "Come Sail Away."