Something Rotten in the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame?

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In what some may see as the ultimate act of punk heresy, England's legendary Sex Pistols have been tapped for induction into the Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame. Others, of course, might argue that it completes what the Pistols' estranged ex-manager-creator Malcolm McLaren dubbed the "Great Rock'n'Roll Swindle"—he maintains that the iconoclastic band he devised from his King's Road boutique was really just an elaborate prank on the music industry. Indeed, there is more than a measure of irony in the Pistols' being anointed to the iconic pantheon of a genre they had decried as fatuously boring and had aimed to destroy. Still, the actual band—drummer Paul Cook, guitarist Steve Jones, original bass player Glen Matlock and infamously thorny frontman, John Lydon (a.k.a. Johnny Rotten)—perceive the invitation as long overdue, asserting that they were the only people McLaren swindled, by deviously dividing their loyalties and dissolving the band at the tail end of their acrimonious debut North American tour in 1978.

The most notorious Pistol won't attend the ceremony, of course, although his specter will loom large: Almost 27 years after the death of troubled bass player Sid Vicious (initially recruited to replace songwriter Matlock, allegedly booted for being a fan of the Beatles), the image of the lanky youth notorious for his cartoonish depravity, drug-abuse and violence, which became the sartorial prototype for punk rock, still dwarfs the band's actual accomplishments.

Though gloriously jarring in its time, the Sex Pistols' lone studio album, 1977's Never Mind The Bollocks, Here's The Sex Pistols, sounds relatively conventional today in comparison to the countless legions of acolytes. Rife with Steve Jones' signature beefy guitar riffs and Rotten's venomous social commentary, Never Mind The Bollocks is rightly hailed as a classic that helped shake rock'n'roll out of its shaggy doldrums, re-inserting a palpable whiff of danger and defiance into an art-form grown shallow and pompous. Never mind the narrow mores of tongue-clicking punk rock purists—the Sex Pistols have more than earned their place in the Hall of Fame. Respect is due.