John Lydon

Londoners watching a local early-evening TV chat show dropped their forks. It was 1976 and they had expected the usual, easily digestible broadcast. Instead, they were served up musical revolution with their beans on toast. "They are punk rockers. The new craze, they tell me," announced veteran presenter Bill Grundy of his guests, the Sex Pistols. Grundy couldn't hide his contempt, goading the band to increasingly expletive-strewn responses. Viewers were witnessing a clash of generations, but the Pistols flipped a bird not only at their conservative elders but at mainstream rock and its enduring hippie influences.

As the Pistols' lead...

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