By the time the record was released, the group was finished as a musical unit: the "Sex Pistols" consisted only of manager Malcolm McLaren and designer Jamie Reid. Their relationship with Virgin records was difficult, and Reid's tacky sleeve design was intended to warn people against another cash-in; it was largely interpreted as a hip joke, and seems to have hurt sales very little.
Reid's first sleeve design consisted of the title hastily scrawled across his designs for the Never Mind the Bollocks (front cover) and The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle albums (back cover). It was printed, and copies exist, but was rejected by Virgin and never made it to record stores. For its replacement, Reid used a photo of a model from the cheapest agency he could find, along with dull letraset lettering, making the record look like a cheap easy listening album. The back cover featured a fake plastic dog turd on top of a gold disc of the Never Mind the Bollocks LP, a reference to a scene in the film The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle in which Steve Jones defecates on the gold disc awarded to Johnny Rotten for Never Mind The Bollocks. The album was released without the band's involvement or permission.
The title has several ironic meanings: the idiomatic one of the saying "Flogging a Dead Horse" reflecting the fact that the Pistols' endeavours were now finished, futile and pointless; and the British slang use of 'flogging' to mean 'selling' - i.e. the Pistols' management, in true punk style, were overtly referencing that they were trying to get as much money for as little effort as possible from the album's sales.
"Great Rock 'N' Roll Swindle" (Jones, Cook, Julien Temple) – 4:24
Tracks 1 through 7 plus 13 are sung by Johnny "Rotten" Lydon, 8 features train robber Ronnie Biggs, 9, 10 and 12 are sung by Sid Vicious and are his complete studio recordings (not counting his brief solo stint), 11 is sung by drummer Paul Cook (although the version that was released as a single in the UK was sung by Steve Jones), and 14 is sung by several hopefuls auditioning to be the Sex Pistols' new lead singer - the winner was Edward Tudor-Pole. The album sleeve features no individual credits.