Sid Vicious

(1957—1979) rock musician

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b. John Ritchie, 10 May 1957, London, England, d. 2 February 1979, New York, USA. One of the biggest icons of the 70s, Sid Vicious epitomized the ‘live fast die young’ creed. He was initially best known for being the friend of Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols, as well as being that group’s most notorious and violent follower. However, he had also played drums at Siouxsie And The Banshees ’ first live appearance before receiving the call to replace Glen Matlock on bass in the Sex Pistols in February 1977. His recruitment indicated much about the state of the band - his musical skills were non-existent and Pistols guitarist Steve Jones would simply play his parts in the studio and switch his amplifier off for live appearances - but he had the perfect leather-clad, doomed youth visual appeal. He became the toast of the tabloids through his relationship with American Nancy Spungen - a notorious junkie/groupie - with whose murder he was subsequently charged. He died of a heroin overdose after being released on bail. A posthumous solo album was released by Virgin Records. Sid Sings was a short collection of cover versions such as ‘C’Mon Everybody’ and ‘Stepping Stone’ (also included on Sex Pistols’ albums of the time) and material by Iggy Pop and Johnny Thunders. The highlight was Vicious’ one enduring rock ‘n’ roll moment - a rendition of Paul Anka ’s/ Frank Sinatra’s ‘My Way’. This had been immortalized in The Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle film in a sequence that featured Vicious mowing down his audience with a pistol, a performance that was later acknowledged even by a member of Take That (Robbie Williams) as ‘bang on!’. It was also the clear inspiration behind Shane MacGowan’s version of the song released in 1996.


From Encyclopedia of Popular Music in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Music.

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