The Sex Pistols on Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert

In the mid-1970’s, sounds of anger and energy struck in what came to be called “punk rock.” The Sex Pistols were at the forefront of the movement and responsible for initiating and ultimately revolutionizing punk music.  By 1977, along with The Ramones, the Sex Pistols were sharing the punk rock throne in the U.K., while in the U.S., they had just begun to receive mass recognition.

During the beginning of 1978, The Sex Pistols came to the US for their first American tour, where they toured mainly throughout the American South, including a live performance at the Longhorn in Dallas, Texas. This performance was aired on Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert on April 10th, 1978, a few months after the group disbanded. That night vocalist Johnny Rotten, guitarist Steve Jones, drummer Paul Cook and bassist Sid Vicious gave a resounding performance despite the fact that the band was in the process of disintegration at the time of this show.

Above the stage there were drawn portraits of famous country music stars, such as Marty Robbins and Willie Nelson, which was a strong juxtaposition with the punk rock band’s image.  The Sex Pistols performed their hits, “Anarchy in the UK,” “No Feelings,” “Holidays in the Sun” and “No Fun.” Despite their impressive performance, many fans noticed the tension and friction evident on the stage. While they were performing “No Fun” the camera showed an upset Steve Jones, who looked to be getting very angry at a fan who was yelling at the band.

Unfortunately, the band broke-up in January of 1978 after a show in San Francisco. Sid Vicious’ heroin addiction had gotten out of hand (he would die less than a year later of a heroin overdose) and was affecting the rest of the band members. After their split all members went their separate ways and worked on several individual projects, including a Sex Pistols feature film, which Malcolm McLaren, their former manager, was overseeing, for which they all individually recorded songs. In 1996, the Pistols original line-up John Lydon (A.K.A Johnny Rotten), Paul Cook, Steve Jones & Glen Matlock re-united for the release of their album ‘Filthy Lucre’ and a world tour.

Regardless of the group’s short turbulent history, The Sex Pistols remain icons and pioneers of punk music as well as the punk movement. In 2006, they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame; however they refused to attend the ceremony.

Look for classic performances from the Kirshner stage to be featured on the upcoming Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert DVD.