Playing a ’74 Les Paul Custom straight (mostly) through a Twin Reverb, Steve Jones’ Faces-influenced swagger – landing somewhere between the militaristically precise rock of Johnny Ramone and the shambolic roll of Johnny Thunders – arguably came to define punk guitar. Of course, it didn’t hurt that the Sex Pistol’s crass public persona vaulted them to mass-media attention.
This 20-track compilation collects most of the band’s lone studio LP, Never Mind The Bollocks…, along with 11 B-sides and covers. All the classics are represented – “Pretty Vacant” and “Anarchy In The U.K.,” for example – exhibiting Jones’ no-frills tone and tasteful fills. But maybe most interesting are the covers, especially The Stooges’ “No Fun” and The Monkees’ “(I’m Not Your) Stepping Stone.” Perhaps answering the question of whether early rockabillies were the first punks, you’ll hear Eddie Cochran’s “Something Else” and “C’Mon Everybody,” vox handled surprisingly well by one Sid Vicious.
Curiously, the set excludes three tracks from Bollocks (label kiss-off “E.M.I.” is truly missed), and the album tracks remaining are re-sequenced. Listeners without the Pistols in their catalog will need to decide between the studio LP and this collection (or both). For completists, it’s a no-brainer.
This article originally appeared in VG’s August 2022 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.