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Rotten: No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs

3.95  ·  Rating Details ·  4,676 Ratings  ·  175 Reviews
"I have no time for lies and fantasy, and neither should you. Enjoy or die."--John Lydon

Punk has been romanticized and embalmed in various media. It has been portrayed as an English class revolt and a reckless diversion that became a marketing dream. But there is no disputing its starting point. Every story of punk starts with its idols, the Sex Pistols, and its sneering h
Paperback, 352 pages
Published October 28th 2008 by Picador (first published March 1994)
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Ian "Marvin" Graye
Feb 03, 2012 Ian "Marvin" Graye rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: muse-ik, reviews
Any Old Way You Like It

There are three musicians (with respect to whom).. sorry, I'll start again..

John Lennon, John Lydon, Noel Gallagher... I would listen to everything they ever said and read everything they ever wrote, if only I could get my hands on it.

My, What a Big Sex Pistol You Have

People were scared of the Sex Pistols and terrified of what they might do to the music industry.

This is Rotten to the core.

More, Please

We need something like this to put the wind up us again.

We need more peo
Mar 31, 2010 Amanda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I bought this about 6 years ago when I was a young impressionable 15 year old. I read it like the bible. I was never really into the punk scene, but it FASCINATED me. I began to show up my punker friends with my Sex Pistol knowledge. And it really helped me figure out a lot of things. I began to carry this book wherever I went. It had notes upon notes in it, underlines, circles, everything! I studied this book more than any of my textbooks. Unfortunately I gave it to a friend to read and her mot ...more
Aug 01, 2012 Gen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is utterly fantastic.

I read this when I was 15 and was obsessed, not with the Sex Pistols but John Lydon as a person, his views and how he lives his life.

With the help of many of his musician friends (NAMELY Chrissy Hynde who was everywhere from 1970-1990), he tells his life story from growing up in Finsbury Park to PIL, up to it's publishing in 1994.

I think the main point to make is that this is not another "totez punk" autobiography, John Lydon is far more intelligent and anarchic
“Any kind of history you read is basically the winning side telling you the others were bad.”

If that doesn't perfectly describe this book, I don't know what does.

I am of two frames of mind thinking about this book. One is that I found John Lydon's stance on the entire punk scene to be outstanding, and one that I agree with also, so I'm biased. When the punk scene started it was something completely different than what it evolved into and a lot of punks now don't seem to realize that. The fact t
♥ Marlene♥
Mar 13, 2010 ♥ Marlene♥ rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, memoirs
on Friday, November 28, 2008 I wrote about this book:

Well I am very disappointed with it. The main problem was Johnny Rotten himself. He is constantly bragging about himself and thinks he is God or something. Nobody else does any good except for him. All the band members were bad, all the other bands sucked. (yawn) Plus he is also constantly contradicting himself. lol. Can't take this serious.

Another annoying thing, the story repeats itself also every time because everybody gets a say. And eve
Everett Darling
Apr 30, 2012 Everett Darling rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2012
Who knew Lydon was such a good writer?

-Anyone whos listened to his songs.

I have a few questions; how can the difference between holding individuality as the highest goal fit with the seemingly contradictory purpose of making music and fashion that is understandable to everyone, spanning through the range of economic and social classes?

And all the music that does that, these days anyway, is Pop or Top 20 Hip-Hop, boasting individual stars as benign as flowers, and challenging the status-quo abo
Nov 23, 2014 J.P. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Enjoyable yes, noteworthy no. I wasn't expecting previously untold revelations or learning lots I didn't already know but besides detailing his childhood and what everyone was wearing there's not a whole lot of information here. I did discover that a chain was Sid's weapon of choice. We all know the Sex Pistols didn't get along. It takes all of about 5 pages before John throws Glen Matlock under the tour bus for his opinion on what the group should be like. Had this book spent as much time on th ...more
Marija *Whoever You're Mixing Your Drinks With Is Dying To Go To Town On You*
What a great insight on the music industry of 70's. I recently got into Sex Pistols and when I saw this book on the book fair I just had to have it. It was a really fun and genuine book to read.

Never realised that John Lydon could be such a good writer. I mean, he writes amazing songs but I never thought he could actually write a book. Very judgmental of me, but yeah... I guess I am judgmental after all....

The only thing I didn't like is that in basically 200 or so pages different people talk ab
First off, I have to admit that Lydon is right at the top of the list of people who have influenced me and who I hold in the highest regard.

This book is entertaining, intelligent, and honest. Lydon is a guy who can laugh at himself. He is also a good storyteller; he has the classic Celtic style courtesy of his Irish roots.

So many artists from this era are dead and gone, if only one could survive to be the official voice of the first punk wave, I am glad it is John Lydon.

Funny how a very small th
Bosco Farr
Oct 24, 2012 Bosco Farr rated it it was amazing
Shelves: punk
Near the end of the book Lydon writes the following line, "We're The Flowers In Your Dust Bin." If there is a better summation of the art of the Sex Pistols. I am unaware of it. I love this book. I love his revisionism. I love his unapologetic contempt. I love the style of his writing though I could do without some of the unnecessary repetition but I can live with it. Pair this up with England's Dreaming and I think you can know all the most important stuff about the original wave of UK Punk Roc ...more
Emmett Mulligan
Jul 16, 2014 Emmett Mulligan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: true-stuff, favorites
One of the best music autobiographies I've read so far. Very eye opening. Whatever you think of the man himself or the legends that surround him, he comes across as humble (despite the bragging) intelligent & every bit as chaotic as you might imagine. Whip smart & with a fantastic sense of humour & the absurd. It's even worth reading just to get to the final line. One of the best ways to end on a high note (of sorts) ever!
If you looked up the word wanker in the dictionary, there would be a picture of John Lydon there. This book was saved from one star by being kind of funny from time to time and having tidbits of information about 70s London punk I didn't know before. Sure, I mean, he's been in involved with 4 or 5 classic records, but reading the rantings of an egomaniac is never a good time.
Rick Brindle
Nov 15, 2013 Rick Brindle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: music, biography
A very entertaining biography from one of the men who made punk happen. John Lydon writes exactly like he speaks, and you get the feeling he's sitting in your living room, talking to you when he tells his story. You might not like some of it, you might not agree with some of it, but this is John Lydon, warts and all, telling his story as it happened. Authentic, funny, honest.
Dec 24, 2008 Andy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: rock-sleaze
This is as honest as you'll get from John Lydon, no conning, no overdone punk rock grandstanding. Lydon talks about his spinal meningitis, his friends aka gang "The Johns" (incl. John "Sid Vicious" Richie) and Siouxie Sioux's delight in owning home appliances. Funny and sad and honest all the way.
Dec 13, 2007 minnie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read this many years ago, I remember it as being a true account of the punk scene, 1977 and all that, as opposed to the glossed up media view of Punk.
Heather Schenk
Sep 24, 2012 Heather Schenk rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I Love this book. It is wonderful blunt writing at it's best. Johnny would be an interesting joy for most to spend some time with. I would love another(book) from him.
Skye McElvenny
I don't like John Lydon. And this is repetitive. And poorly edited. And long.
Jesús Santana
Jun 29, 2013 Jesús Santana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“I am an Anti – Christ.
And I am an anarchist.
Don’t know what I want,
But I know how to get it.”
- Anarchy in the U.K.

El punk es de esos géneros en la música que solo se tienen dos opciones o se ama o se odia, no existe término medio y no hablo de eso que lamentablemente algunos conocen como “punk” ese de ahora edulcorado de distorsión a medias y letras emo (si es que eso existe todavía) y no en lo contestatario ante los sistemas de gobierno y las sociedades en general, bandas como The Ramones, Th
East Bay J
My initial introduction to The Sex Pistols came about by way of a Rolling Stone TV special on rock music. I must have heard The Sex Pistols previously, but there was something about seeing them perform “Anarchy In The U. K.” that cemented this band as something I desperately needed to check out. It was late but I convinced my folks to take me to the record store so I could buy Never Mind The Bollocks.

Oddly enough, I also purchased the first Montrose LP on that trip. I guess the sound of a guitar
Jun 06, 2016 Beth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this one a lot!

If you loved the punk rock thing as much as I did (and do), this is a must-read. I was a small-town girl in Indiana so I never got close to the actual deal, but I was an avid follower via magazines like Creem and Circus. I lived the experience vicariously.

Reading an insider account from one of the founders of the movement was priceless. Lydon (AKA Johnny Rotten) is a fascinating personality. He has plenty to say about his experience with the Sex Pistols and with Malcolm
I read this when it first came out and I thought it was amazing. An inside look at the Pistols from Rotten himself. It makes sense that Rotten would be the one to write to write this book and as I read it again I was a bit disappointed because it wasn't as great as I remember. The problem doesn't lie with Rotten though. Being a fan I expected the attitude and the ego, but what I found a bit boring was the history lesson on punk. We all know how important the Pistols were and the detailed histor ...more
Sep 15, 2013 Nana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Being a teenager who did not grow up the Sex Pistols era, and hense didnt know much about it to start with, this book was fascinating. I've always been intrigued by the Pistols and their contemporaries, so when I saw this book at a local used bookshop, I had to grab it. Good choice on my part.

John Lydon is a witty, entertaining narrator with an attitude, and this history/retrospective takes you through his life pre Pistols, their career, eventual demise and loose ends (and lawsuits) following i
Jan 11, 2015 Kristen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
Rotten is a fantastic autobiography that captures the sometimes harsh, sometimes gross, sometimes hilarious voice of its author. Like the cut up letters on the Pistols's album covers, Rotten reads a bit like a collage. Lydon's almost stream-of-conscious narrative is interspersed with quotes from his contemporaries in the British punk scene, and a few of the chapters are actually narrated by others -- including Lydon's father, wife, and some of his bandmates. The book also paints a vivid picture ...more
Kevin Tole
I started writing a crit of this then managed to blow it all away somehow. Silly me - so this will be short and sweet.

The main problem here is that JL whilst being the most intelligent of the Pistols and probably of the punk movement in general right from it's start before it was even termed 'punk', is at the same time completely disingenuous and somewhat 'liberal with the veracite'. It's also ghostwritten. He should take the time to write it himself.

Its still a decent document of the period but
Feb 12, 2009 Kurt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm enjoying the hell out of this. I'm sort of Sex Pistols obsessive, in a way, so it's no surprise. Lydon really is a sharp, original thinker, even though he doesn't get enough credit as such. It's always interesting to read something that tries to tell the "truth" about things and set the story straight, so-to-speak, because even if you have two people in the room at the same time the "truth" varies according to each of their perceptions. I have absolutely no doubt that he's being honest and b ...more
James Lundy
Apr 23, 2008 James Lundy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who are intrigued by the advent of punk rock
History is written by the winners and as such is always one sided. Refreshingly, though, there are enough first hand narratives in this book from numerous people both friends with and not friendly with Johnny Rotten who were there when punk rock was born to give a refreshing, enlightening, but sometimes conflicting and confusing account. As egotistical and difficult as John Lydon is, you have to give him credit for including chapters from people who describe him very unflatteringly. There is gre ...more
Nov 28, 2014 Traze rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
I'm not exactly a Sex Pisols fan per se. I only have a cursory knowledge of the band, and that's in part why I decided to read this book. Now that I've completed reading it, I feel like I have a good understanding of them, especially their front-man Johnny Rotten. While funny and informative, the facts ventured in this book, are for the most part slanted towards Rotten's perception of things, who can be at times quite thick and insular. If you want a more balanced understanding of the band, then ...more
Mar 24, 2010 Robert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010
'Rotten' is ostensibly John Lydon's autobiography, but in telling the story of his life he uses the opportunity to set the record straight about the Sex Pistols. I was a little disappointed to find that for this reason 'Rotten' doesn't cover any of his career post-Pistols. It's a candid, entertaining read, though, and offers a valuable first-hand account of the London punk scene.

The format of the book is sort of wacky, part meandering life story and part oral history. Lydon's bits are rife with
Jeremy Deibel
May 13, 2015 Jeremy Deibel rated it really liked it
I'm not sure what I enjoyed more, the hard-scrabble but unemotional story of the future Mr. Rotten's squalid, working-poor upbringing, or the story of the rise and fall of the Sex Pistols (and the first wave of punk itself) told by the men and women who were there. The most pleasantly surprising element of this memoir was the involvement of other parties telling their own sides, creating an oral history of the man, the band, and the movement. Everyone from Johnny's father and childhood mates to ...more
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John Lydon is best known by his former stage name Johnny Rotten who was the lead singer of the 1970’s punk rock group the Sex Pistols. He is the lead singer of the punk band Public Image Ltd (PiL) which he founded. Lydon is also a visual artist.

In 1995, Lydon published his autobiography Rotten - No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs, which dealt with his early life and career in the Sex Pistols. His secon
More about John Lydon...

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“If you are pissing people off, you know you are doing something right” 47 likes
“Any kind of history you read is basically the winning side telling you the others were bad.” 6 likes
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