Saturday, October 8, 2016

40 Year Itch : Your Cheap Appeal

Sex Pistols : EMI

On  October 8 1976, The Sex Pistols were signed to two year contract by EMI records for £40,000 ($68,000).

 EMI's Bob Mercer explained why his label wanted to sign the band to Q Magazine:

Basically, their message was "The Pistols may be a piece of shit, musically, but it's what's happening in the streets. These are the forerunners of the punk movement. It's a feather in our cap to be able to sign them. Besides which, what do you know? You're over 30!" So I said, "Fine. Go ahead". And I gave them a limit on the deal which was £40,000 for about two or three records in as many years, with options, which we would pay to record.

In his memoir Anger is an Energy, John "Johnny Rotten" Lydon writes:

Be very careful what you sign, everybody in the world! Even though you think you know what it is all about, you'll find out you didn't know nothing! The wording in contracts is riddled in tangles and lawyer -ese -- it might as well be Vietnamese.

The EMI contract would end within three months, after the release of the "Anarchy in the UK" single which the company then deleted from their catalogue. Following a now infamous appearance on Bill Grundy's talk show in December and other incidents,  EMI later issued a statement saying it felt unable to promote the Sex Pistols' records in view of the adverse publicity generated over the last few months.

Lydon again:

I suppose EMI thought it would be a gigglefest and they really, really couldn't cope with what it actually was. The hardcore edge just rocked them to their foundations so it was get our of EMI quick. And in many ways it was great because the recordings that we did for EMI were shit.

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