Sex Pistols - "Anarchy in the U.K." (1976)
Who else would rhyme Anarchist with Antichrist?
So if you've been following the blog, you know that The Damned released their first single a month before the Sex Pistols, and that The Saints released their single a month before that. So why is this song pointed to time and time again as the grandfather, the first shot, the original moment that punk made it? Well there is a story of a TV appearance, but there is also the fact that the lyrics if the song are calculated to burn instead of salve. The Damned and The Saints both recorded blistering songs full of angry guitars and rough vocals, but they were lyrically about young men who were in love, and either rejected or not, but one way or another they were singing about love. Johnny Rotten and the Sex Pistols were telling Britain's youth to rise up and violently throw off every possible rule and law they could get a hold of. That'll get you some attention and a every expanding fan base that includes young people of today, over thirty five years after the song was recorded.
The song is longer than I would have imagined, over three and a half minutes long. It also has a surprising amount of guitar going on. There's the standard simple chords through a bunch of feedback, but there's actually a solo as well. The bass is recorded by Glen Matlock who left the band after this single and before they could record the second. For all the snarled lyrics of Johnny Rotten, he actually sings melodically and he and guitarist Steve Jones manage a great little harmony there for a few seconds.