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The Complete Guide
Part One: 1976

A God Save The Sex Pistols' world exclusive!

Details of every Sex Pistols studio recording session.

Introduction February 2013:
The passing of time and the emergence of further comment and anecdotal recollections from those involved has led to the guide becoming more complicated, not less. In fact, the first attempt to update the guide was in 2008, but I abandoned it after my brain exploded. Therefore, I have tagged some sessions with the line "conflicting information has blurred the exact dates of this session."

So, at last, here is Part One, 1976 revisited. I cannot vouch that everything is 100% accurate, nor would I make that claim. However, I firmly believe it is a step in the right direction, particularly in relation to where to find the best quality versions of the tracks. I am indebted to Tim Bucknall and Sathvyre, who have far more patience (and better ears) than me.

Of course, if you know know better, or spot an error, please get in touch, as we strive for the ultimate goal - perfection!

Part Two, 1977, will be here before too long. I hope.


With this ultimate list, you will now actually KNOW what they recorded, how many different versions of the songs there is out there, and on which CDs you can get them. This will help you avoid being ripped off by cheap repackaged stuff. Note, the Sex Pistols Box Set released in 2002, is referred to in the feature by its catalogue number, SEXBOX1.

15th MAY 1976
Produced by Chris Speeding
Majestic Studios

Band Members:
John Lydon: Vocals
Steve Jones: Guitars & Backing Vocals
Glen Matlock: Bass & Backing Vocals
Paul Cook: Drums & Backing Vocals


Easiest place to find the session.
Available on SEXBOX1 (disc 1, tracks 18, 19, 20) and This Is Crap (Never Mind The Bollocks / Spunk double CD, Virgin Spunk 1) tracks 13, 14, 15. The ever reliable Dave Goodman issued several self-doctored copies of this session, taken from an audio tape, on discs like Pirates of Destiny (muffled sound with added echo), and Savage Young Pistols (accelerated speed!). Also available on the CD bootleg 1976 - 1977.

Lowest Generation/Best Source/Further Notes.
1) Problems (SEX PISTOLS / CURSE split 7, Man’s Ruin Records 1997)
2) Pretty Vacant (SEX PISTOLS / UGLY split 7, Man’s Ruin Records 1997)
3) No Feelings (SEX PISTOLS / SOFISTICATOS split 7, Man’s Ruin Records 1998)

These tracks appear on different semi-official releases and bootlegs. Most of them are mono versions (as  included on the official Spunk / This Is Crap CD, which was part of the double CD version of Never Mind The Bollocks, released by Virgin Records in 1996), incomplete or bad quality versions with added echo effects, running at wrong speed. This Is Crap contained a mono version of this session with an edit furring the guitar solo of Problems.

The split 7" versions on Man's Ruin are the only sources where the original master tapes were used. Straight vinyl transfers are included on the bootleg CD 1976-1977 (SP7677, the one with the blue Beatles cover and the apple on back), but the sound suffers a bit from a slightly distorted high frequency spectrum (possibly caused by using a cheap cartridge) and some cranking flaws on No Feelings (either the tuntable was damaged or the vinyl transfer was made from an out-of-center pressing). All three tracks run slightly too fast, compared to the original vinyl sources.

The versions on SEXBOX1 have a slightly remastered and compressed sound, and the same flaws as on the 1976-1977 bootleg CD.

It is yet to be determined whether the version of No Feelings with an alternate guitar intro on Pirates Of Destiny (track 2) is a genuine outtake/rough mix from the session or just another phoney Dave Goodman creation.

13th to 30th JULY 1976
Produced By Dave Goodman

Denmark Street Rehearsal Rooms and Riverside Studios, mixed at Decibel Studios

Band Members:
John Lydon: Vocals
Steve Jones: Guitars & Backing Vocals
Glen Matlock: Bass & Backing Vocals
Paul Cook: Drums & Backing Vocals


Easiest place to find the session.
Although most of these appear on This Is Crap (tracks 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, & 21), Pretty Vacant is missing. You are better getting a copy of the Spunk 2006 CD reissue, which features the complete session (tracks 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 13, 14) with inbetween chat intact. The Spunk vinyl album contains the full session minus Anarchy and Pretty Vacant. The ever reliable Dave Goodman issued several different eighties remixed versions of Submission on Alive and We’ve Cum For Your Children: (Wanted The Goodman Tapes) CDs.

Pretty Vacant and Submission appear on SEXBOX1 (disc 2, tracks 1, 2). Note the spoken intro to Pretty Vacant on SEXBOX1 is not from the track in question, but is lifted from the start of the January 1977 take of the same song (also produced by Dave Goodman).

No Feelings appeared as No Feeling on the B-side of the withdrawn A&M God Save The Queen. Find it on SEXBOX1 (disc 1, track 14). Note also, the version of No Feeling released as a single by Chaos Records in 1984 is supposed to sound exactly like the A&M B-side, but is in fact a different mix.

Lowest Generation/Best Source/Additional notes.
1) Pretty Vacant (We’ve Cum For Your Children, Skyclad Records 1988)
2) Lazy Sod (Seventeen) (Mini-Album, Restless Records 1988)
3) Satellite (Mini-Album, Restless Records 1988)
4) No Feeling (Mini-Album, Restless Records 1988)
5) I Wanna Be Me (Mini-Album, Restless Records 1988)
6) Submission (Mini-Album, Restless Records 1988)
7) Anarchy In The UK (Mini-Album, Restless Records 1988)
8) Pretty Vacant – Backing Track (Pirates Of Destiny, Dojo CD222, 1996)
9) Submission – Outtakes (We’ve Cum For Your Children, Skyclad Records 1988)

First we have to talk about the fact that some different mixes of the session exist. The most-common version is included on the heavily-bootlegged original Spunk LP (BLA-169, 1977), missing Pretty Vacant. The session was released for the first time in its complete form on the unofficial No Future UK LP (BLA 169, 1977). Please note that the tracks on all releases run too slow.

In 2006, Castle Music released an official version on CD (CMRCD1376, 2006), including the complete session (all tracks as included on the No Future UK release, but with slightly different track order). This current remaster seems to be a new cleaned vinyl transfer from the original LP. The speed problems were not fixed and till this day, no corrected version of the Spunk album is available on vinyl or CD. The 2006 Spunk CD reissue contains Pretty Vacant, with extra studio banter, but still at the wrong speed!

To confirm, the tracks that appear on the Spunk CD are inferior slowed down versions but contain extra studio banter not available elsewhere (before No Feelings). The count-in to I Wanna Be Me is also included - this appeared on some copies of the original Spunk bootleg, but not all.

(Note: Tape speed issues are commonplace with demos/bootlegs. Professional tape recorders run at approximately the same speed - the difference can occur when a recording made on one machine is played back on another. This is usually remedied by the engineer putting a signal at the start of the tape, or writing down the correct speed recording on the tape label. If the tape is used without this information the result is always too slow or too fast.)

On all releases since the original No Future UK LP, the first few seconds of Pretty Vacant are missing. Castle Music did a small restoration job to make it sound more natural instead of a stumbled start, resulted from a damaged tape.

In 1988, the Mini-Album was released by Restless Records (Restless Records 72257-2, 1988). It was also released in Japan (Vap Inc. 85067, 1989) and includes six of the seven tracks from the session in excellent quality. Rumours said that the original Goodman tapes were used. It might be possible because of the superior sound which was definitely not taken from a vinyl source. If you compare the Mini-Album versions with the Spunk release, you can recognize some slightly differences in the mixes. Most of them are nearly inaudible without headphones (different stereo panorama of some guitar tracks), but on Submission for example, some echo effects have been added and on No Feeling, the clapping hands overdub (as included on the Spunk version) is missing.

To complete the first Goodman session by using the best possible source material, you have to choose the We’ve Cum For Your Children CD (Skyclad Records SEX6CD, 1988), where Pretty Vacanct is included in the same quality as the tracks on the Mini-Album.

Besides the regular tracks, two outtakes exist, Pretty Vacant & Submission - if they are genuine.

First one is the backing track of Pretty Vacant without vocals, included on Pirates Of Destiny (track 8) 22 track compilation (Dojo CD222, 1996). Please note that different versions of the CD exists – the Creativeman Disc 20 track CD (CMD-059, 1997) doesn’t include that track!!! The later officially released version on Castle Music (06076 81199-2, 2002) includes the full 22 track version again, so you have to decide between the Dojo or the Castle Music CD. Note, it believed by some that the instrumental version of Pretty Vacant is merely a Dave Goodman creation dating from the 80's & to confuse things further Pirates Of Destiny lists the track as May '76 (but it is not a Spedding demo)!.

The second outtake is a quite questionable version of Submission, included on We’ve Cum For Your Children (Skyclad Records SEX6CD, 1988). It seems to be recorded during the mixing process and sometimes you can notice a stopping tape and the songs gaps in again. This one is for die-hard collectors only and except the small studio chat before the song, this version is completely unnecessary.

Also, there are other sources worthy of attention.
Spunk: The Movie & Other Sordid Tales DVD (Independant Music IM7475) (48khz 16bit MP1 Audio)
The DVD has the purest copy from Dave Goodman's mixdown masters of these tracks, with no remastering or noise reduction performed.
1) Pretty Vacant
2) Seventeen
3) Satellite
4) No Feelings
5) I Wanna Be Me
6) Anarchy In The UK (Alternative Vocal)

Although the version of Anarchy presented on the DVD has a unique alternate vocal track, it seems like Dave Goodman has overdubbed additional non-Steve Jones Guitar onto the track (thanks Dave!).

This DVD was previously been available as a pirate release The Long Lost Videos, released in 2005. The tracks were spoilt by an on-screen caption/warning Demos Not For Sale and an accompanying bleep which lasted a few seconds. However this release contained an instrumental (unfinished) version of Submission played over the credits, which is NOT on Spunk: The Movie & Other Sordid Tales, although it may also contain non-Sex Pistols guitar parts!

OCTOBER 1976 (conflicting information has blurred the exact dates of these sessions)
Produced By Dave Goodman

Lansdowne & Wessex Studios

Band Members:
John Lydon: Vocals
Steve Jones: Guitars & Backing Vocals
Glen Matlock: Bass & Backing Vocals
Paul Cook: Drums & Backing Vocals


The first attempt at recording the Anarchy In The UK single.

Background / Easiest place to find the session.
From the session, only two tracks were finished in 1976. Anarchy In The UK was planned to become the first single a-side, but was rejected and later reworked by Chris Thomas. No Fun was released in an edited version on the Pretty Vacant single (the last 30 seconds of the song were missing) the following year.

Anarchy In The UK would later be issued on The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle 2LP/CD. Two mixes exist; the original one which can be found on Spunk (track 6), and This Is Crap (track 6), and the better Mike Thorne remix, with enhanced drums, which is on the original Swindle LP. The original mix is available on SEXBOX1 (disc 2, track 3).

Substitute, No Lip, Stepping Stone, Johnny B Goode/Road Runner, and Watcha Gonna Do About It were recorded live in the studio (as heard on Pirates Of Destiny). The instrumental parts were re-recorded by Cook & Jones in the studio in 1978, leaving Rotten's vocals intact, and this whole lot ended up on the Swindle 2LP/CD. The original non-overdubbed Pirates versions, including Through My Eyes, are available on SEXBOX1 (disc 2, tracks 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10).

For the reworked versions you need the Swindle soundtrack. However, be careful, Substitute and Watcha Gonna Do About It are absent from some editions.

Lowest Generation/Best Source.
1) Anarchy In The UK (The Swindle Continues, Restless Records 1993)
2) No Fun – Unedited Version (The Swindle Continues, Restless Records 1993)
3) Substitute (Pirates Of Destiny, Dojo 1996)
4) (Don’t Give Me) No Lip (Pirates Of Destiny, Dojo 1996)
5) (I’m Not Your) Stepping Stone (Pirates Of Destiny, Dojo 1996)
6) Johnny B Goode (Pirates Of Destiny, Dojo 1996)
7) Road Runner (Pirates Of Destiny, Dojo 1996)
8) Watcha Gonna Do About It (Pirates Of Destiny, Dojo 1996)
9) Through My Eyes (Pirates Of Destiny, Dojo 1996)
10) Substitute – Different Mix (Agents Of Anarchy, Landmark 2007)
11) (Don’t Give Me) No Lip (Agents Of Anarchy, Landmark 2007)

The first two tracks appear in complete form and in best available quality on the CD compilation The Swindle Continues (Restless Records 72256-2, 1993), affected only by a minor speed error on No Fun around the 5:30 mark. As on early CD pressings a pre-emphasis filter was applied to the original master, which results in a sound full of treble and missing bass frequencies on the entire disc. By using a de-emphasis filter, the original sound can be restored to its initial form.

The full take of No Fun appeared on SEXBOX1, (disc 1, track 16). However the speed glitch is still presnt, which suggests the same origin as the version on The Swindle Continues CD. The complete unedited version also appears on the 2006 Spunk CD (track 15).

The rehearsal tracks, included on all versions of Pirates Of Destiny, run a little bit too fast and have some reverb effect on the entire mix - maybe it was later added by Goodman, but this source is the best available, because the complete session including Through My Eyes is on the CD.

In 2007, two different versions of Substitute and (Don’t Give Me) No Lip were released on the CD compilation Agents Of Anarchy (Landmark, 2007). These tracks sound like outtakes from the No Fun mixing session and are neither similar to the rehearsal versions included on Pirates Of Destiny, nor to the later remixed versions on The Great Rock’n’Roll Swindle. Sadly the entire compilation suffers from heavily used compression and brickwall limiting and the two alternate mixes mentioned here have a lot of hiss and too much treble.

Also, there are other sources worthy of attention.
Anarchy In The UK ("Vinyl quotation" version) with guide vocal: Spunk: The Movie & Other Sordid Tales DVD: This is Dave Goodman's original rough mix of the track.

Anarchy In The UK ("Vinyl quotation" version) remixed by Mike Thorne with louder drums: The Great Rock Nn' Roll Swindle (Warner Brothers USA CD issue 1992).

The reworked Anarchy also appears as an additional track on the 1992 CD re-release of the single.

Substitute: Spunk: The Movie & Other Sordid Tales DVD. This is the purest copy of the raw Substitute taken from Dave Goodman's mixdown master.

Watcha Gonna Do About It (with spoken intro). 1978 overdubs: C'mon Everybody Official 7".

Watcha Gonna Do About It (without spoken intro): 1978 overdubs: The Filth And The Fury Official CD.

Johnny Be Goode/Roadrunner; Stepping Stone; No Lip; Substitute (with extra banter): The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle (UK CD Issue 1993). Note: With 1978 overdubs, plus Roadrunner is missing the last note. Watcha Gonna Do About It is inferior on this CD to other sources listed above.

No Fun: Spunk: The Movie & Other Sordid Tales DVD: Best complete version of this song, but features the tape speed error towards the end.

No Fun (edited version): Flogging A Dead Horse Official CD. Inferior to Spunk: The Movie but doesn't fade out and doesn't have the commom tape speed errors.

No Fun (edited version): The Filth & The Fury Official CD. The best sounding copy but fades out prematurely.

NOVEMBER 1976 (conflicting information has blurred the exact date of this session)
Produced by Chris Thomas

Wessex Studios

Band Members:
John Lydon: Vocals
Steve Jones: Guitars & Backing Vocals
Glen Matlock: Bass & Backing Vocals
Paul Cook: Drums & Backing Vocals


Session information. Morning spent setting instruments up till 4pm. Band record five takes; two takes are combined for the finished version. 7pm record vocals. Steve Jones returns after a couple of days' break to record guitar overdubs on a single day.

Easiest place to find the session.
Issued as the official Anarchy In The UK single, and on Never Mind The Bollocks.
A rejected version of the song from the same session, with wild solo from Steve, appears on SEXBOX1 (disc 2, track 11).

Lowest Generation/Best Source/Additional notes.
01) Anarchy In The UK (Never Mind The Bollocks, Toshiba EMI Japan, TOCP-53098,1988)
02) Anarchy In The UK – rejected version with Steve Jones solo (SEXBOX, Virgin Records 2002)

These are in fact a slightly reworked versions from the Goodman sessions. Chris Thomas took over the producer role, recorded some overdubs and remixed the entire thing. The regular version is included on the Anarchy In The UK single and part of the Never Mind The Bollocks album.

The Toshiba EMI CD, made in Japan is the best available source for the regular version.

The rejected version of Anarchy included on SEXBOX1 was planned as the soundtrack for the band's first video.

The Kiss This version is badly remastered - buffed up treble and squashed bass. It does NOT sound like the original single or album version.

11th DECEMBER 1976 (Saturday)
Produced by Mike Thorne

Manchester Square Studios.
Mixed by Mike Thorne on the 18th December 1976

Band Members:
John Lydon: Vocals
Steve Jones: Guitars & Backing Vocals
Glen Matlock: Bass & Backing Vocals
Paul Cook: Drums & Backing Vocals


The following were discovered by Mike Thorne in his archive. But who was the producer? As late as January '77, the Sex Pistols played No Future in the same form as the version recorded by Mike Thorne on 11th December. Therefore it seems unlikely that the band recorded two different versions, one rough and one almost definitive, on the same day. No Future and the God Save The Queen instrumental are two different takes (e.g. the break's drumming and song ending), and the instrumental's sound is more enhanced than the Mike Thorne produced No Future. So is the instrumental from a Chris Thomas session?

Easiest place to find the session.
All tracks are available on SEXBOX1 (disc 2, tracks 12, 13, 14, 15).

It is disputed that the three instrumentals are from the same session. The instrumentals of Anarchy In The UK, God Save The Queen, and Pretty Vacant are hidden at the end of discs 1, 2 & 3 of SEXBOX1. (God Save The Queen and Pretty Vacant are excellent stereo versions, whilst Anarchy In The UK is from a much thinner-sounding mono source).

Lowest Generation/Best Source.
SEXBOX1 official release.

27th DECEMBER 1976
Recorded by Chris Thomas

Studio unknown.

Band Members:
Steve Jones: Guitars & Backing Vocals
Glen Matlock: Bass & Backing Vocals
Paul Cook: Drums & Backing Vocals

? ?

Very little is known about this session. According to Chris Thomas the band recorded some TV playback tracks for EMI without Johnny. Anarchy In The UK was used on the band's Disco Circus (Dutch TV) performance filmed 4th January 77. To date, nothing has surfaced from the session, unless one or more of the instrumentals listed above were recorded on this day?

The above guide has been a team effort. Research carried out by David Fakrikian, Phil Singleton, Géant-Vert, Karsten Roekens, Tim Bucknall, and Sathvyre.
Special thanks on the latest update to Tim Bucknall and Sathvyre.

Original 1977 Session Guide >

©Phil Singleton / David Fakrikian / Géant-Vert / Karsten Roekens / Tim Bucknall / Sathvyre 2005-2013
All rights reserved. Not to be reproduced without permission.

Although we believe this feature to be the most accurate Sex Pistols sessions research ever published, this feature is NOT definitive. Errors and omissions that may have occurred will make it obvious if an attempt is made to copy or adapt the above piece of work, for example, by publishing elsewhere and/or claiming authorship. Don't even think about ripping it off. You have been warned.

God Save The Sex Pistols ©2000 - 2013 Phil Singleton /

God Save the Sex Pistols

God Save The Sex Pistols ©Phil Singleton /