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on 10 August 2012
Finally! the definitive Swindle cd that i had pretty abandoned hope of ever hearing!
given the low opinion this album is held in by the band themselves and music critics combined with the circumstances of its creation, i had resigned myself to the fact that it would never receive a proper CD release but suddenly out of the blue here it is!

this CD basically follows the tracklisting of the initial UK Pressings but tacks "Watcha gonna do about it?" on to the very end of the CD
The opening track, a symphonic version of God save the queen has no spoken overdubs and can finally be enjoyed as a piece of music and a testament to the fact that the pistols songwriting could be surprisingly melodic
the only odd thing about this cd is that the morse code ending of "No one is innocent" cross fades with the start of the next track. thats not a criticism just an observation

Lonely Boy is a slightly different mix without the reverb on the drums, presumably the "finished" master has long since been lost and the compilers of the cd had to go back to an early version

I have no hesitation in recommending this as the definitive CD issue
give in to this guilty pleasure!
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The Sex Pistols 'biopoc' film The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle was cobbled together from various failed film projects after the band had split (with Eddie 'Ten Pole Tudor' taking Johnny Rottens uncooperative place), and the films soundtrack spawned two LP records - the nearest thing to the Sex Pistol's second studio album, but actually nothing of the sort. Great raucous fun though from the Sex Pistols and their mates, and often surprisingly sharply delivered.

I was 18 when this anarchic double album 'The Great Rock-n-Roll Swindle' was released, 2 years after Punks anthem album: 'Never Mind the Bollocks'. I absolutely loved this double LP set - and the accompanying movie (particularly Irene Handl standing tastefully in the background). But then I was a young(ish) punk [the target audience], and all my records were '20 of a different kind'. I bought this `Great Rock-and-Roll Swindle' double album knowing that my mother, father, aunts, uncles, and grandparents still absolutely loathed The Sex Pistols with a passion.....I mean how cool was that!

Granted the album was an endearing mess, with even the album tracks on the cover not corresponding with their order on the LPs - although the LP labels do say "Sorry about incorrect listing on sleeve - it's another swindle". For me `Never mind the bollocks' had already done all the anti-establishment stuff. And after all the Sex Pistols had shamelessly self-promoted themselves by being as rude, shocking and noisy as possible. At the time `Never mind the Bollocks' was banned from some record shop windows, with the law even sitting in judgement on whether the album cover was obscene (apparently the word was just Anglo-Saxon for a small handball, so no it wasn't). In the era of `decency', Mary Whitehouse and a total swearing ban on TV, the Sex Pistols shocked - and in many ways deliberately so as part of their `great rock-and-roll swindle'. Any publicity is good publicity and their fame/infamy rapidly meant money, success and influence for them (Glen Matlock, their original musical architect and songwriter, was 'sacked' early on for allegedly liking The Beatles but more likely for valuing pop over posing) - but fortunately the Sex Pistols also had the raw energy and talent to deliver the goods. In this 'Swindle' double album the Sex Pistols are their honest selves, musically mooning at their fans and neither giving a t*ss. As one mature reviewer said at the time: "er, well quite... but one things for sure, after playing this Sex Pistols album, every other record in your collection seems tame".....

For the Punk purist, please note that some CD releases have been heavily edited from the original, and the correct order of the tracks from the 1979 album should be:

Side One: God Save The Queen (Symphony) / Johnny B. Goode / Road Runner / Black Arabs / Anarchy In The U.K.
Side Two: Substitute / (Don't Give Me) No Lip Child / (I'm not your) Stepping Stone / Anarchie Pour L'U.K. / Belsen Was A Gas / Einmal Belsen War Wirflich Bortefflich (Belsen Vos A Gassa)
Side Three: Silly Thing / My Way / I Wanna Be Me / Something Else / Rock Around The Clock / Lonely Boy / No One Is Innocent
Side Four: C'mon Everybody / E.M.I. (Orchestral version) / The Great Rock 'N' Roll Swindle / Friggin' In The Riggin' / You Need Hands / Who Killed Bambi

From memory, the above order roughly follows the correct order of the tracks within the film (this 'album' is just the movie soundtrack after all). Apparently back in 1979 the double album was released in 2 versions with varying track listings, with the above [from my LPs] being the most common vinyl track order. To get the double album as nature intended, buy the older 1993 CD version (CDVDX-2510) second-hand or the 2010 reissue (CDVDR-2510) that has all 24 tracks, but make sure you avoid the highly edited 12 track CD based on the 1980 single LP release (or you can download the complete 'The Great Rock 'N' Roll Swindle' [Explicit] as an MP3 offering from Amazon instead). Be warned though, the latest The Great Rock 'N' Roll Swindle remastered 2012 version lacks Malcolm McLaren's superb voice over for the 'God Save the Queen Symphony' intro which for me is unforgivable - and this voice over is definitely present on my original 1979 double LP album and my older 1993 CD (the freebie 'Watcha Gonna Do About It?' is included with the the remastered 2012 CD version though). For the definitive Sex Pistol's studio CD set buy The Sex Pistols: Kiss This - Best of - which includes all the tracks from Never Mind The Bollocks, Here's The Sex Pistols and extras like the the Pistol's 'Silly Thing' single (which is better than the movie version offered here). Despite their massive influence on popular culture, The Sex Pistols were only around from November 1975 to January 1978.
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on 28 February 2005
Forget objectivity this album is so obviously an insult to it's intended audience that it's beyond a joke.Then why do i find it so incredibly entertaining then? Punk rock always had a sense of the ridiculous.That was often missed by it's detractors but as it was an antedote to the po faced mush that preceeded it we can understand that.It's a mixed bag based on a film that was never really a film and contains all kinds of curios that many Pistols purists still find beneath contempt.As a collection of music it is fine, and like it or not, a part of the Pistols legend.
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This is perhaps more McLaren’s album than that of the Sex Pistols. It’s a mess, it’s in bad taste, but at least it’s an interesting mess. The God Save The Queen Symphony with vocals by McLaren is truly strange. The French version of Anarchy by one Jerzimy accompanied by an accordian is poignant but bizarre, while the two version of Einmal war Belsen Vortefflich (the second with vocals by Ronnie Biggs, are beyond redemption. The famous My Way a la Sid Vicious has a certain tragic charm and does not seem out of place amid all the weirdness. The orchestral version of EMI with vocal by Steve Jones is quite impressive with its sinister lyrics, while Friggin’ in the Riggin’ , sung by Steve Jones is crude and vulgar. This is followed by the entirely pointless You Need Hands by Malcolm McLaren. The album concludes with Tenpole Tudor’s messy but at least enthusiastic Who Killed Bambi. Bearing in mind that this is a soundtrack and that the group had already split up at its release, it’s still probably one of the worst second albums in history. Whereas the first album mocked the establishment and the music business, this one mocked the Sex Pistols themselves. It’s a very interesting piece of rock ‘n roll history but not a great listening experience.
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on 10 August 2010
Package is in digipack format, not a jewel case. This is supposedly a 2010 remaster, but to be honest it sounds exactly the same as the previous CD release. All the tracks from the double LP are here, and depending on how you like your Pistols its a great selection of songs. I won't go into detail because if your a fan you've heard them time and time again. If your new to the Sex Pistols, start with Never Mind The Bollocks, then get this one.
Comes with mini stickers that are taken from the orginal UK vinyl release, a nice and welcome touch.
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on 16 June 2007
I would seriously reccommend the 12-track highlights album as opposed to the 24-track sprawling mess. Firstly when dealing with erratic material like this, the sequencing makes or breaks the album. The highlights album begins with Malcolm McLaren's voiceover and then crashes into Rock n Roll Swindle - a good start. It includes all the best of the rock n roll songs like Something Else and Lonely Boy but none of the dross like Johnny Be Good and Road Runner where Johnny Rotten struggles to remember any of the words and consequently swears a lot! The Ten Pole Tudor songs are completely insane but seem to fit in better on the 12-track album than on the longer version.

However, the lyrics are still shocking, yet have none of the political oomph of the first pistols album. Perhaps this is the Pistols as Malcolm McLaren would have liked them - a charicature of punk rock with nothing much to say.

Personally, I would prefer a 17-track album with the 'highlights' dozen followed by the amusing French style Anarchy in the UK, then the first Belsen was a Gas, Don't give me no lip, I'm not your stepping stone and the Black Arabs medley as a fittingly daft finisher. With the 24-track album this parody is placed before one of the songs it is parodying (No one is innocent) which seems absurd.

Whereas Johnny Rotten's 'Belsen was a gas' seems to express disgust at the Nazi regime with the repeated 'Be a man, kill someone', the Ronnie Biggs' version seems much too light hearted for the shocking subject matter, but then I suppose it would have been a bit much to expect pathos from one of the great train robbers! As for the dirty rugby song done punk style which concludes the longer album, if nothing has offended you so far, this one might just do it. Thankfully the highlights album omits this! All in all, this album proves just how pivotal Matlock was to the Sex Pistols being a serious band.
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on 24 March 2002
With the departure of Johnny Rotten, the Sex Pistols should have been no more, and this album is excellent proof of that. It is mostly novelty songs and songs sung by other members of the band, but there is nothing that comes even close to anything that was sung/snarled by Johnny Rotten.
Let me ask you this - if it wasn't for the name 'Sex Pistols' on the front, would you buy and album of mostly cover versions sung by the other members of the band or their manager after the singer left, filled in with some accordian music and badly recorded rehearsals? I think not, and I regretted buying it on vinyl all those years ago for exactly these reasons. Never Mind the Bollocks was an awesome album, but this is only the Sex Pistols in name.
Go and buy Never Mind the Bollocks instead, it's a million times better!
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on 2 August 2009
How the mighty were fallen. From the high (hype) point of Never Mind the Bollocks to this mess in less than 18 months (approx).
Now I strongly advise you all to keep your memories positive and avoid this nonsense. The film was awful and the soundtrack is worse it is mainly mcLaren's massive ego at work. And what has it got to do with Punk?
John Lydon was long gone and the goons had been invited in. I'm sorry but what on earth did Sid offer to the "band" ? A sad end to a very promising career. I would buy "flogging a dead horse" or "kiss this" compo's instead as at least then you get an honest to goodness "best of..".
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on 27 December 2011
I haven't seen the movie and I don't intend to, since I've seen "The Filth and the Fury" and feel that's enough. I've seen the truth, I don't need to see the fiction.

Anyway, the music on this record is very inconsistent, containing a few good tracks and a lot of head-scratching moments.

Too keep it simple:

GOOD STUFF:
* "Anarchy in the U.K." is just as great as always. (My copy of the album has the usual studio version.)
* Sid Vicious' Eddie Cochran covers are fun.
* The band's demos of "Roadrunner", "Johnny B. Goode" along with Small Faces and The Monkees covers are hilarious.
* "Friggin' in the Riggin'" is extremely catchy and pretty funny.
* "Belsen Was a Gas" is legendary.
* The title track is pretty good.
* The way they censor the word "rock" in "Rock Around the Clock" to make it more "punk" is funny but stupid.

NOT-SO-GOOD STUFF:
* The "Black Arabs" remix of "Anarchy in the U.K." and the French version are in my ears pointless.
* The orchestrated version of "EMI" is, while somewhat amusing, pretty near unlistenable.
* McLaren's take on "You Need Hands" has no business or purpose on a Sex Pistols record.
* Edward Tudor-Pole brings nothing to the Pistols myth and adds no quality to the music whatsoever.

On an album consisting of 24 songs, you've got one excellent song, a lot of decent songs and some bad songs. At its length, it makes for a bumpy listening experience, even if its best moments are well worth the time and money for hardcore fans.
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on 16 March 2001
The Sex Pistols were musically revolutionary and produced a brilliant first album, but it was all over too quickly. Their second was the soundtrack to their film of the same name. It is a collection of bottom barrellers. New version of Anarchy, early recording impro of Johnny B Good, Sid Vicious My Way, Belsen was a Gas. Otherwise there are some dreadful songs recorded after the band had pretty much broken up or by other bands. The Black arabs? "The Great Rock N' Roll Swindle" preformed by a guy who went onto to host The Crystal Maze? (the one who had hair) No wonder Johnny Rotten wanted out. Friggin' in the riggin' is however classic football chant. I suggest you buy this if you are bored of "Never Mind the Bollocks." It is the only other album with other original material.
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