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Customer Review

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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