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The true story of the recording of My Way in Paris.

A God Save The Sex Pistols' world exclusive by Géant-Vert!


The first attempt took place between the end of March '78 & the beginning of April (exact date unknown), at Studio des Dames (1, rue de Stockholm, 75008 Paris.)

Session men unconfirmed, but rumoured to be André Ceccarelli (drums) & Janik Top (bass). According to Celmal Engel (Claude Engel's brother - see below), the session took place at Studio des Dames. However, no recording took place because Sid refused to work with the session men.

The second attempt was on 7th April '78 and took place at Studio Aquarium (rue Lecourbe, Paris.)

Claude Engel was the guitar player, however he can no longer recall the names of the other session men. The session began at 9pm. After waiting several hours, Sid never arrived. Everybody subsequently departed in the middle of the night.

The third attempt was on 10th April '78 at Studio de la Grande Armée (Porte Maillot 75016 Paris.)

Steve Jones was present but, like Sid, was allegedly too drunk to play. The session took place in the afternoon following a long period when everybody was "doing nothing". Steve tried out several guitars. Sid was yelling & complaining about "all those fucking froggies". Finally, Claude Engel proposed a musical arrangement, but Sid and Steve were not interested in the session, so the French guitar player chose to record the track without them.

Claude played the climax to the song so violently that he broke a string during the take. Nevertheless, such was his desire to leave the studio as quickly as possible, he chose to continue to finish recording the track with only five strings. Claude Engel - guitar, Sauveur Mallia - bass, and Pierre-André Dahan - drums, laid down the backing track in two hours. Sid didn't want to cooperate with him, so Claude Engel made the decision to play the song in the key of A, although Claude didn't know if the A key fitted with Sid's voice.

Sid took a further two hours to record his lead vocal. During the vocal recording, Sid sat down in the cabinet because he didn't want to see the French crew in front of him. He ordered a second microphone to speak with the sound engineer Manu Guyot, who can recall Sid yelling to him "tell the fuckin' engineer to..."

The session was under the supervision of Barclay's artistic director Jean Fernandez, who spent a lot of time dealing with the problems between Sid and the technical crew.

Studio de la Grande Armée

Pictured: Studio C where Sid did it. The white hand points to the cabinet where Sid sat during the voice recording.

After the end of the session, Manu Guyot made just one copy of the rough mix, before the 24 track recording was sent to Virgin UK where Steve Jones finalized the track by adding guitars. Simon Jeffes added the strings overture.

According to John Tiberi, who helped look after Sid in Paris, the My Way single is compiled from three different takes. This is likely to be three different vocal takes, because there was only one version of the backing track recorded in Paris. Close examination of the version of My Way on Sid Sings, reveals the first part of the vocal take to be the same as the single version, but the remainder of the track to be from a different take. It is possible that three vocal takes were attempted in Paris, the Sid Sings version being the sole complete take.

The backing track on the version on Sid Sings is the same as the My Way single, without the orchestral strings and Steve Jones' guitar overdub. (Note: My Way Take 3, which has appeared on Vicious: Too Fast To Live CD, is the same false live Sid Sings version, with the "applause" roughly cut off - you can hear the noise of the tape recorder when somebody pushed the record button...)

Footnote. French journalist & novellist Patrick Eudeline spent most of his time with Sid during the Paris sessions (about 4 weeks between the beginning of March & mid April.) Patrick was Asphal Jungle's singer (French punk band) and recalled the band showing Sid how to play Something Else & Gene Vincent's Say Mama. On one occasion Sid even confused both songs when he was playing bass. This suggests C'Mon Everybody and Something Else came from the Parisian trip. Nancy was also very impressed by Sid playing 50s rock & roll. McLaren enjoyed this music too... I think it would have been easy for Sid to propose the idea to use these songs in the movie soundtrack.

Written and researched by Géant-Vert
©Géant-Vert / 2004

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God Save The Sex Pistols ©Phil Singleton / 2004
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God Save the Sex Pistols

God Save The Sex Pistols ©Phil Singleton /