The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle (album)

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The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle
Soundtrack album by Sex Pistols
Released 26 February 1979
Recorded 1978
Genre Punk rock
Length 78:39
Language English, German, French
Label Virgin Records
Producer Dave Goodman
Sex Pistols chronology
Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols
(1977)
The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle
(1979)
Flogging a Dead Horse
(1980)
Singles from The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle
  1. "No One Is Innocent/My Way"
    Released: 30 June 1978
  2. "Something Else" b/w "Friggin' in the Riggin'"
    Released: 23 February 1979
  3. "Silly Thing" b/w "Who Killed Bambi"
    Released: 30 March 1979
  4. "C'mon Everybody" b/w "The God Save the Queen (symphony)/Watcha Gonna Do About It"
    Released: 22 June 1979
  5. "The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle" b/w "Rock Around the Clock"
    Released: 5 October 1979
  6. "(I'm Not Your) Stepping Stone/Pistols Propaganda (movie trailer voice-over)"
    Released: 6 June 1980
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3.5/5 stars [1]
Robert Christgau (B+) link
Rolling Stone (Not Rated) link

The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle is the soundtrack album of the film of the same name. Although released under Sex Pistols' name, it includes performances by other artists.

Production[edit]

The band was defunct by the time the soundtrack was being prepared, and Johnny Rotten refused to participate in the project, so the "proper" Sex Pistols tracks were done by taking Lydon's vocals from the October 1976 demo session recordings and rerecording their instrumental tracks (done by Paul Cook and Steve Jones).[1]

The double album features a significant number of tracks that omit Lydon entirely; most of them written and recorded after the band broke up. These include Sid Vicious singing cover songs, two new original songs ("Silly Thing", sung by Cook and "Lonely Boy", sung by Jones), tracks Cook and Jones recorded with Ronnie Biggs, the title track and "Who Killed Bambi?" sung by Edward Tudor-Pole, and numerous novelty tracks including French street musicians playing "Anarchy in the UK" and a medley of several Sex Pistols songs covered by a disco band.

Two further tracks were recorded along with "Lonely Boy" and "Silly Thing" between May and July 1978; "Black Leather" and "Here We Go Again". While the two songs did not end up on either the film or the soundtrack, both were later released as Sex Pistols singles.[1]

Along with Rotten, people who sang on The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle include:

Variations[edit]

The album has been released in different variations featuring different track listings. There have been two main versions, which were featured on double-album vinyl and CD. The biggest differences between the track lists is that the songs are re-arranged and version A features "I Wanna Be Me" and the Dave Goodman produced version of "Anarchy in the UK" while version B features "Watcha Gonna Do About It" and the Chris Thomas produced version of "Anarchy in the UK". Version A was the most common track list until 1992, afterwards version B is the most common. A 2012 reissue by Universal incorporates both track lists, as it features the Version A track list with "Watcha Gonna Do About It" added on to the end.

Additionally, a single-album version was released in May 1980 to tie in with the release of the film, and featured a different cover and a pared-down track list. Some early releases came with a copy of the original movie poster.

Track listing[edit]

Version A
No. Title Writer(s) Vocals Length
1. "God Save the Queen" (orchestral rendition with spoken word over the music about how punk rock and the Sex Pistols were "invented" (alternate title: God Save The Queen (Symphony)") Johnny Rotten, Steve Jones, Glen Matlock, Paul Cook Malcolm McLaren 3:23
2. "Johnny B Goode"   Chuck Berry Johnny Rotten 2:36
3. "Roadrunner"   Jonathan Richman Johnny Rotten 3:47
4. "Black Arabs" (disco medley, includes "Anarchy in the UK", "God Save the Queen", "Pretty Vacant" and "No One is Innocent") Rotten, Jones, Matlock, Cook, Ronnie Biggs performed by a group called Black Arabs 4:51
5. "Anarchy in the UK" (Mike Thorne remix (beef-ed up drums) of previously unreleased session from October 1976) Rotten, Jones, Matlock, Cook Johnny Rotten 4:00
6. "Substitute"   Pete Townshend Johnny Rotten 3:10
7. "Don't Give Me No Lip, Child" (cover of Dave Berry, 1964) Barry Richards, Jean Thomas, Don Thomas Johnny Rotten 3:27
8. "(I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone"   Tommy Boyce, Bobby Hart Johnny Rotten 3:06
9. "L'Anarchie pour le UK" (performed by a trio of French street musicians with accordion and fiddle. (alternate title: "Anarchie pour le UK")) Rotten, Jones, Matlock, Cook Louis Brennon 3:28
10. "Belsen Was a Gas" (alternate title: "Einmal war Belsen Vortrefflich") Rotten, Jones, Sid Vicious, Cook Johnny Rotten 2:12
11. "Belsen Vos a Gassa" (alternate title: "Einmal war Belsen wirklich Vortrefflich") Rotten, Jones, Vicious, Cook Ronnie Biggs 2:17
12. "Silly Thing"   Jones, Cook Paul Cook 2:51
13. "My Way"   Paul Anka, Claude François, Jacques Revaux Sid Vicious 4:06
14. "I Wanna Be Me"   Matlock, Cook, Jones, Rotten Johnny Rotten 3:03
15. "Something Else"   Eddie Cochran, Sharon Sheeley Sid Vicious 2:14
16. "Rock Around the Clock"   Max C. Freedman, James E. Myers Edward Tudor-Pole 2:04
17. "Lonely Boy"   Jones, Cook Steve Jones 3:07
18. "No One Is Innocent"   Jones, Cook, Biggs Ronnie Biggs 3:04
19. "C'mon Everybody"   Eddie Cochran, Jerry Capehart Sid Vicious 1:56
20. "EMI" (orchestral rendition with Steve Jones speaking the lyrics (alternate title: "EMI (Orch)")) Rotten, Jones, Matlock, Cook Steve Jones 3:44
21. "The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle"   Jones, Cook, Julien Temple Edward Tudor-Pole, Steve Jones, Paul Cook & others 4:21
22. "Friggin' in the Riggin'"   Traditional; arranged by Jones Steve Jones 3:37
23. "You Need Hands"   Max Bygraves Malcolm McLaren 2:54
24. "Who Killed Bambi?"   Edward Tudor-Pole/Vivienne Westwood Edward Tudor-Pole 3:07
Version B
No. Title Writer(s) Vocals Length
1. "God Save the Queen (Symphony)" (orchestral rendition with spoken word over the music about punk rock and the Sex Pistols were "invented") Johnny Rotten, Steve Jones, Glen Matlock, Paul Cook Malcolm McLaren 3:23
2. "Rock Around the Clock"   Max C. Freedman, James E. Myers Edward Tudor-Pole 2:04
3. "Johnny B Goode"   Chuck Berry Johnny Rotten 2:36
4. "Roadrunner"   Jonathan Richman Johnny Rotten 3:47
5. "Black Arabs" (disco medley, includes "Anarchy in the UK", "God Save the Queen", "Pretty Vacant" and "No One is Innocent") Rotten, Jones, Matlock, Cook, Ronnie Biggs performed by a group called Black Arabs 4:51
6. "Anarchy in the UK"   Rotten, Jones, Matlock, Cook Johnny Rotten 3:32
7. "Watcha Gonna Do About It?"   Ian Samwell, Steve Marriott, Ronnie Lane Johnny Rotten 1:55
8. "Who Killed Bambi?"   Edward Tudor-Pole/Vivienne Westwood Edward Tudor-Pole 3:07
9. "Silly Thing"   Jones, Cook Paul Cook 2:51
10. "Substitute"   Pete Townshend Johnny Rotten 3:10
11. "Don't Give Me No Lip, Child"   Dave Berry Johnny Rotten 3:27
12. "(I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone"   Tommy Boyce, Bobby Hart Johnny Rotten 3:06
13. "Lonely Boy"   Jones, Cook Steve Jones 3:07
14. "Something Else"   Eddie Cochran, Sharon Sheeley Sid Vicious 2:14
15. "Anarchie pour le UK" (performed by a trio of French street musicians with accordion and fiddle) Rotten, Jones, Matlock, Cook Louis Brennon 3:28
16. "Einmal war Belsen Vortrefflich"   Rotten, Jones, Sid Vicious, Cook Johnny Rotten 2:12
17. "Einmal war Belsen wirklich Vortrefflich"   Rotten, Jones, Vicious, Cook Ronnie Biggs 2:17
18. "No One Is Innocent"   Jones, Cook, Biggs Ronnie Biggs 3:04
19. "My Way"   Paul Anka, Claude François, Jacques Revaux Sid Vicious 4:06
20. "C'mon Everybody"   Eddie Cochran, Jerry Capehart Sid Vicious 1:56
21. "EMI (Orch)" (orchestral rendition with Steve Jones speaking the lyrics) Rotten, Jones, Matlock, Cook Steve Jones 3:44
22. "The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle"   Jones, Cook, Julien Temple Edward Tudor-Pole, Steve Jones, Paul Cook & others 4:21
23. "You Need Hands"   Max Bygraves Malcolm McLaren 2:54
24. "Friggin' in the Riggin'"   Traditional; arranged by Jones Steve Jones 3:37
Single-album version
No. Title Length
1. "God Save the Queen (Symphony)"   3:23
2. "The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle"   4:21
3. "You Need Hands"   2:54
4. "Silly Thing"   2:51
5. "Lonely Boy"   3:07
6. "Something Else"   2:14
7. "Rock Around the Clock"   2:04
8. "C'mon Everybody"   1:56
9. "Who Killed Bambi?"   3:07
10. "No One Is Innocent"   3:04
11. "L'Anarchie pour le UK"   3:28
12. "My Way"   4:06

Song notes[edit]

"Johnny B Goode", "Roadrunner", "Anarchy in the UK", "Substitute", "Don't Give Me No Lip, Child", "(I'm Not) Your Stepping Stone", "I Wanna Be Me" and "Watcha Gonna Do About It?" were originally recorded in October 1976. Instrumental tracks for some of these were rerecorded in 1978 by Jones and Cook.

References[edit]