I Swear I Was There : Sex Pistols and the Shape of Rock Paperback – 29 May 2001
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In June 1976, a fledgling young band called the Sex Pistols played a gig at the Free Trade Hall in Manchester. Only 34 people were in the crowd. But the impact of that explosive performance is still being felt. Those present were spellbound by the extraordinary power of punk rock. They went away inspired and energised - and changed the face of popular music. Twenty-five years on, I Swear I Was There...tells the story of that seminal concert and its seismic effect. For the first time, it traces who was there and details what they went on to become. It includes revelatory first-person interviews with former members of the Pistols such as Steve Jones and Glen Matlock and other key figures including Pete Shelley (Buzzcocks), Howard Devoto (The Buzzcocks/Magazine) and Peter Hook (Joy Division/New Order). Author Dave Nolan reveals how the gig led directly to the Manchester punk and New Wave scene, Joy Division and Factory Records and, indirectly, to the Hacienda, House music and Oasis. The book is illustrated with many never-before-seen photographs.
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So what is it all about? In a nutshell, two students would invite the Sex Pistols to Manchester, a move that would transform the local music scene in the city forever. The students in question would become better known as Pete Shelley and Howard Devoto, founder members of the Buzzcocks.
The television researchers pulled together an impressive array of participants that really were there! The book itself brings together the interview transcripts recorded for the show, linked by informative explanations and information. In this respect the book works well and is structured to allow the story to unfold in a straightforward yet entertaining manner.
Beginning with a forward by Howard Devoto we get to hear of his trip to London with Pete Shelley in search of Malcolm McLaren's shop and the subsequent invitation they made to the Pistols to play in Manchester. This they would do twice, on 4th June and the 20th July 1976, both at the Lesser Free Trade Hall. If however, Howard didn't have the use of a friend's car one particular weekend it's likely they would never have made it to London and the whole subsequent musical revolution in Manchester, if not throughout Britain, might never have happened!
The impact of the Pistols on Tony Wilson (then the presenter of 'So It Goes' on Granada) led in turn to the Pistols appearing on the show.Read more ›