Rob's Reviews > England's Dreaming: The Sex Pistols and Punk Rock

England's Dreaming by Jon Savage
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's review
Apr 07, 2011

really liked it

History was created by those who say "no" as Savage claims at the back of this book and during Royal Wedding week in the UK, this seems more relevant than ever - especially in view of the Sex Pistols' attempted hijacking of a previous royal event, the 1977 Silver Jubilee.

An exhaustive account of the early days of punk and the rise and fall of the Pistols in particular, this volume deserves its place in the pantheon of classic rock literature. What astonishes is the ability of people at the time to push back boundaries and shock when now, their every pronouncement would be converted into a marketing "angle" - well, maybe not the stunts using swastikas.

Not that this wasn't pretty much exactly what Malcolm McLaren was doing of course. The story becomes ever more horrific and Sid Vicious in particular emerges as a deeply manipulated figure - as opposed to John Lydon, whose subsequent track record with Public Image Ltd reveals a man of real creativity.

Highlights include some superb final sections on the legacy of punk - via New Wave and Post-Punk and an annotated discography that should be a first pit stop for anyone at all interested in exploring the era's music.
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