Talk:Sex Pistols

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Featured articleSex Pistols is a featured article; it (or a previous version of it) has been identified as one of the best articles produced by the Wikipedia community. Even so, if you can update or improve it, please do so.
Main Page trophyThis article appeared on Wikipedia's Main Page as Today's featured article on May 5, 2010.
Article milestones
DateProcessResult
January 19, 2004Refreshing brilliant proseKept
October 18, 2006Featured article reviewKept
Current status: Featured article

Intro summary[edit]

The Sex Pistols were a British (not English) band. London is the capital of the British Isles. They toured throughout Britain during their significant first incarnation. Their (band-approved)boxset was entitled The Best Of British. The members of the band originated from all over Great Britain.Charles G. Hart (talk) 01:14, 30 October 2013 (UTC)

The first paragraph says "[...] their initial career lasted just two-and-a-half years and produced only four singles and one studio album". Isn't the concept of initial career used here a bit suspect though? If only one member thinks the band is over and the rest keep working, he's wrong, right? 92.30.17.80 (talk) 12:55, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

God Save The Queen chart position[edit]

Great article thank you but I think there is a tiny inconsistency as follows...

Under the "God Save The Queen" Section there seems to be some doubt about whether the single was in fact the Number 1 and there is reference to evidence that it actually was:

"With the official UK record chart for Jubilee week about to be released, the Daily Mirror predicted that "God Save the Queen" would be number one. As it turned out, the record placed second, behind a Rod Stewart single in its fourth week at the top. Many believed that the record had actually qualified for the top spot, but that the chart had been rigged to prevent a spectacle. McLaren later claimed that CBS Records, which was distributing both singles, told him that the Sex Pistols were actually outselling Stewart two to one. There is evidence that an exceptional directive was issued by the British Phonographic Institute, which oversaw the chart-compiling bureau, to exclude sales from record-company operated shops such as Virgin's for that week only."

However ... under the Singles Section, 'God Save The Queen' is listed as Number 1 with a subnote which seems to have no doubt that the single was Number 1:

" Often quoted as reaching number two; but it sold the most copies that week so is the actual number one single, even if it is not an official number one by the OCC (the OCC decided to exclude the single with a one-week rule change)."

In other words, in one part of the article there is evidence and doubt, whilst in another part of the article the evidence is now fact and there is no doubt. That is inconsistent and one of the two entries needs to be changed accordingly I think? Either it was Number 1 or it wasn't? — Preceding unsigned comment added by FillsHerTease (talkcontribs) 02:56, 5 August 2013 (UTC)


Actually the charts were compiled by the British Market Research Bureau who compiled the charts 1969-82, Gallup compiled them 1983-94 and the Official Charts Company since February 1994. The OCC had nothing to do with the charts then as it didn't exist! (Coachtripfan (talk) 17:44, 1 August 2016 (UTC))

Wording is hard to follow[edit]

On 10 March 1977, at a press ceremony held outside Buckingham Palace, the Sex Pistols publicly signed to A&M Records (the real signing had taken place the day before). Afterwards, intoxicated, they made their way to the A&M offices. Vicious smashed in a toilet bowl and cut his foot (there is some disagreement about which happened first). As Vicious trailed blood around the offices, Rotten verbally abused the staff and Jones got frisky in the ladies' room. A couple of days later, the Pistols got into a rumble with another band at a club; one of Rotten's pals threatened the life of a good friend of A&M's English director. On 16 March, A&M broke contract with the Pistols. Twenty-five thousand copies of the planned "God Save the Queen" single, produced by Chris Thomas, had already been pressed; virtually all were destroyed. This whole paragraph is extraordinarily difficult to follow. Are we doing a weird kind of WP:ENGVAR compliance, deciding that since we write about Tolkien's works in British English with Oxford spelling, we should likewise write about a rock band in the style that rock musicians write and speak? I can't suggest specific improvements because I can't even understand a bunch of what's happening here. Nyttend (talk) 03:26, 13 August 2013 (UTC)

Why is this entire article written from a USA point of view?[edit]

The Sex Pistols were a British phenomenon. This entire article is written from a USA point of view and in a USA idiom. Punk rock was started in Britain with inspiration from USA influences (just as USA bands were inspired by British bands in the '60s), and achieved significance (~in socio-economic/ political and commercial terms) in Britain long before it became any kind of significant influence in USA popular culture. I resent the USA flavour of this article and will devote time and energy to restoring the Sex Pistols' vital legacy to a more truthful British account.Charles G. Hart (talk) 02:11, 30 October 2013 (UTC)

Brit punk-rock was started in England ... The Stooges, for example, preceded the Pistols by a decade and were an American band.104.169.26.177 (talk) 05:10, 6 January 2017 (UTC)

British/English[edit]

NO CONSENSUS. REVERT TO LONGSTANDING VERSION OF ARTICLE:"THE SEX PISTOLS WERE AN ENGLISH BAND"
On the basis of this local discussion, there is little to distinguish between the merits of describing the Sex Pistols as either an English or British band in terms of Wikipedia Policy.

In support of describing the band as English, reference was made to the WP guideline, Manual of Style/Biographies which advises that the opening paragraph of biographical articles should, in most cases, contain a reference to the subject's country (location) understood as that entity of which the subject is a "citizen, national or permanent resident". This formulation is almost certainly derived from US nationality law and is a reference to one's legal status as a "citizen, national or permanent resident" rather than any wider concept of nationality (cultural, social, linguistic, ethnic, etc). It also explicitly states that no reference should be made to a subject's place of birth unless "relevant to the subject's notability". The applicability of these categories in non-US contexts is perhaps questionable (i.e. how to reference persons of distinct nationality without a state such as Kurdish people?) as these are American categories of citizenship. Most pertinently, the use of the word "national" should be understood in a specifically American context where it is defined as referring to "persons who owe permanent allegiance to the United States"; all US citizens are US nationals but not all US nationals are US citizens as one may acquire US national status through one's birth in or connection to an outlying US national possession. Again, this does not indicate that the word "national" which appears in the guideline should refer to any context of nationality that is not strictly defined in terms of one's legal status within a given state.

The same guideline also advises the non-inclusion of any reference to a subject's ethnicity in most circumstances. Ethnicity is a very nebulous concept but one could assert that its inclusion here seems to argue against an inclusion of a subject's nationality if it lacks some legal standing in relation to a given state.

It was argued that as the band members were all born in England they were "by default" English and that this referred to their "nationality" rather than their ethnicity. It was countered that "English" is not a true nationality in any sense aside from personal sentiment whereas British nationality has legal status. We are therefore dealing with two definitions of nationality here: one which is broader and applies to social and cultural definitions of nationality; and, one which is narrower that effectively collapses the distinction between nationality and the state. It seems to me that the referenced guideline would seem to indicate a strong preference for the latter interpretation of nationality and to disregard place of birth unless it impacts on one's citizenship status. If this is the case, reference to "English nationals" would be seemingly precluded [1].

However, it is obvious, here and elsewhere, that the use of the word "national" in the guideline has been interpreted in much wider context than a merely legal one throughout WP and has often been taken to be equivalent to concepts of social, cultural and linguistic nationality. Moreover, applying the logic of the guideline in a strict fashion would result in nonsensical additions such as describing Wayne Rooney as British, rather than English, although he plays for the English national football team. Likewise, it would seem inappropriate to describe Barry McGuigan, who holds British citizenship, George Best, and Richard Burton as British, or to refer to the Super Furry Animals as a British band (never mind the problem of how to refer to the nationality of Elizabeth II. However, as things stand, it would seem that one could reasonably argue with reference to the existing guideline on biographical subjects that they should all be referred to as British.

Charles G. Hart, in his first bold edit which initiated this discussion [2], referred to the Irish parentage of John Lydon and that Steve Jones had a Welsh surname. However, these points seem to be made redundant with reference to the biographical guidelines which indicates that only one's current country should be indicated in the lead of an article. It is interesting, however, that no-one brought up the question of Lydon's citizenship, which may have further complicated the issue. Hart also referred to the title of 2002 Sex Pistols boxset ("Best of British") but without further evidence on whether this is consistent with the Sex Pistols identity as a group.

Another argument for describing the band as English was that it was more specific and accurate (they were all born in England) than British and to describe a subject as English naturally implies that they are also British. However, again, the guideline seems to preclude an indication of the subject's location simply as derived from place of birth. Moreover, the point was made that applying the same logic one could just as easily refer to the Sex Pistols as a London band.

Reference was made to the WP essay Nationality of people from the United Kingdom. The most important point that this essay makes is that, outside perhaps of the designation of certain types of sporting figures, there is no existing consensus on Wikipedia on how to refer to the nationality of UK citizens.

Another argument was that all current featured articles on British bands refer to their constituent nationalities within the UK (i.e. "English", "Scottish", "Welsh", and "Irish"/"Northern Irish"). This would seem to be the case and one could argue that the wider WP consensus outside of this local context would seem, therefore, to favour the use of the word "English" to describe the band's location/country. Yet, while featured articles may be representative of the best work in WP it is not clear whether the conventions established by featured articles have any bearing on community consensus in WP. Moreover, I was unable to locate any discussion of the nationality of British/English bands in any featured article assessment.

The use of sources to argue for the use of British or English as a descriptor of the band relied upon particularly poorly executed Google searches from which no reasonable conclusion could be derived. This is unfortunate as here one could have invoked WP policy to determine the best appellation.

A number of editors also suggested that the argument was of no great importance and they just wanted it resolved one way or another. I am very sympathetic to these editors' point of view but given the quality of the arguments present, the imprecision of the guideline on this issue, and the failure to produce decent evidence to argue for the appropriate weighting of the use of English or British, it is not possible to determine consensus on at this time.

As this is a non-admin closure, feel free to appeal if you are aggrieved.

(non-admin closure) FiachraByrne (talk) 11:27, 18 December 2013 (UTC)
The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Seems like there needs to be a discussion on whether the band should be described as British or English in the lede. Well, the members were all born and raised in England. That makes them English by default, nationality, not ethnicity. Most bands from England are described as English rather than British on Wikipedia. WP:MOSBIO says "Ethnicity should not generally be emphasized in the opening unless it is relevant to the subject's notability". Being called English by nationality and not of ethnicity is valid. Does this need to be so controversial? TheOnlyOne12 (talk) 01:44, 31 October 2013 (UTC)

Just FYI - "English" is not a nationality in any sense except "a person's subjective sense of belonging to something", whereas "British" is a nationality. For which reason, I personally think "British" covers things uncontroversially, whereas "English" probably doesn't. --DaveG12345 (talk) 23:36, 1 November 2013 (UTC)

Actually, "English" is a nationality and yes, British is a nationality as well. However, British people who are born and raised in England are English. This is a fact. All the members of the Sex Pistols were born in England. The term, "British" is not really specific enough. It's like calling a Scottish or Welsh person British. Also, it seems Charles G. Hart, the user who keeps my reverting my edits without any real explanation is not interested in participating in the discussion or explaining why he/she thinks the Pistols should be called British other than the band toured throughout "Britain". TheOnlyOne12 (talk) 04:11, 4 November 2013 (UTC)

  • I agree with TheOnlyOne12's logic; to call them English is not only accurate, it's also more specific. While it's not inaccurate to call them British, they were born and raised in the United Kingdom, specifically in England, which is a nation within a group of nations that form the ethnic identity. If all the members were born and raised in England then they are by definition an English band. If one member each had been Irish, Welch, Scottish and English we would call them British. GabeMc (talk|contribs) 21:29, 4 November 2013 (UTC)
TheOnlyOne12's attitude in reverting my previous contribution to this discussion demonstrates to me very clearly how much they desire an actual discussion. I won't be lectured by anybody about "facts" about "English nationality" if the lecturer is unable to produce any evidence for those "facts", and can only respond by deleting all disagreement. --DaveG12345 (talk) 22:02, 4 November 2013 (UTC)
Well, it's not a right or wrong question, it's a question of right or more right. It's not wrong to call them British, but why would you not be more specific? It's like calling Rush a North American band. Why not call them Canadian? GabeMc (talk|contribs) 22:06, 4 November 2013 (UTC)
But you see, that's exactly what it is not like. Not in any way whatsoever. --DaveG12345 (talk) 17:36, 9 November 2013 (UTC)
I think you are splitting hairs here, but okay. Maybe it's more like calling Sublime an American band when they are more specifically a California band. GabeMc (talk|contribs) 17:40, 9 November 2013 (UTC)
No, it isn't. And the more you say "maybe it's more like" and suggest a totally irrelevant American-centric suggestion, the more you demonstrate you haven't a clue about the subject. --DaveG12345 (talk) 17:45, 9 November 2013 (UTC)
And when edits like this are made, it doesn't help your cause either - it again makes it look like things are being pushed through regardless of discussion. [3]. --DaveG12345 (talk) 19:57, 9 November 2013 (UTC)
My cause? I think you should re-read WP:CIVIL, as several of your comments are directed at editors, not content. To clarify, no. Per WP:BRD, it's 1) bold, 2) revert, 3) discuss. It's not 1) discuss, 2) bold, 3) revert. Also, to say that current consensus is for British is to say that one voice in this discussion declares consensus. Well, let's let the 30-day RfC indicate where current consensus lies, shall we? GabeMc (talk|contribs) 21:25, 9 November 2013 (UTC)
I don't need to come up with any "evidence" to support my claims because what I said are facts. Just look it up on the Internet. I just think it's more appropriate to call the band English because all of the members are English-born. TheOnlyOne12 (talk) 04:20, 4 November 2013 (UTC)
DaveG12345, if you want some further proof about British/English nationality, please see WP:UKNATIONALS. This might help clear things up a little bit. TheOnlyOne12 (talk) 22:30, 6 November 2013 (UTC)
Some WP essay is no "proof" of anything. I have already noted what I think of your opinion on the subject. --DaveG12345 (talk) 17:38, 9 November 2013 (UTC)

Straw poll[edit]

The purpose of this poll is to gauge the current consensus regarding referring to the Sex Pistols as a) British, or b) English. GabeMc (talk|contribs) 19:59, 9 November 2013 (UTC)

Support calling them British
  1. Flip a coin. This isn't worth arguing about, either is fine. I lean a bit towards British because it's a bit more common in US English and "English" could be taken as describing their language rather than the country. North8000 (talk) 00:11, 10 November 2013 (UTC)
  2. Contra GabeMc, "English" being more specific does not automatically make it better. Why not call them a London band? Rather, I think "British" should be the default and we should go for "English" if there is a particular reason to. Lydon has Irish parents. They didn't call their debut single "Anarchy in England". Their immediate sphere of influence was obviously UK-wide. AFAIK, there's nothing specifically English, rather than British, about them. But I also agree that it's not an enormous deal. Formerip (talk) 00:29, 10 November 2013 (UTC)
  3. Support - The BBC does here, as does Britannica, and it's often known as the British punk rock movement that they ignited. That's what I see when doing Google searches for "sex pistols british" and "sex pistols english". GRUcrule (talk) 16:17, 13 November 2013 (UTC)
  4. Per GRUcrule and what I already said some weeks ago. --DaveG12345 (talk) 22:54, 14 November 2013 (UTC)
  5. Support - In the US, "British" denotes a location whereas "English" is usually meant to talk about language. Something like "London-based" would work too. (Later edit: my thinking was that the wording should be geared towards the greatest number of readers of the English Wiki, British readers would be a relatively small percentage.) petrarchan47tc 04:26, 16 November 2013 (UTC)
  6. Support - in the context of music, the term "British Invasion" is part of the lexicon. While the Sex Pistols are punk, they are also "British".Mattnad (talk) 15:22, 20 November 2013 (UTC)
Support calling them English
  1. Support. - They are both British and English, but since English is more specific, that's what we should go with. GabeMc (talk|contribs) 19:59, 9 November 2013 (UTC)
  2. Support. I don't have strong opinions on this matter. I was originally going to support "British", as it was the first choice offered and it seemed perfectly acceptable. However, out of curiosity, I checked Iron Maiden, The Cure, Pink Floyd, Blur (band), etc, and they all were labeled as English. Then I thought about it a bit more, and I figured English was perfectly fine, too. English, British, London-based, UK-based – who really cares? However, English seems to be the consensus for describing unambiguously English bands, and that's fine with me. Or just call them Earthlings. NinjaRobotPirate (talk) 02:59, 18 November 2013 (UTC)
  3. Support - per Gabe. Jusdafax 08:53, 19 November 2013 (UTC)
  4. Support -- Yes, I shan't lose too much sleep whichever way this goes, but I think NinjaRobotPirate has got it right. I'd say "British" works best if different members come from England, Scotland, etc. Using a city seems too granular. Out of all the possibilities, "English" makes the most sense to me. Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 10:49, 19 November 2013 (UTC)
  5. Support, also per Gabe. Neither is inaccurate, but English is more precise. --BDD (talk) 18:11, 11 December 2013 (UTC)
Extended discussion
  • User:North8000. 1) Can we really flip a coin or is that some kind of lame joke? Because I'm not opposed to getting it over quick like that, but I also am not aware of any precedent for that in practice. 2) Per WP:ENGVAR, why would we use the most common term in the US, this is a British subject, right? GabeMc (talk|contribs) 00:19, 10 November 2013 (UTC)
First, I think that both terms are fine and so for me it's a near-tossup. I don't think that WP:ENGVAR weighs in on this. I meant "flip a coin" whimsically but if the parties involved wish to, it can be done. I've seen it done using the odd/even attribute of an edit number. North8000 (talk) 12:30, 10 November 2013 (UTC)
Well, I cited ENGVAR because you said we should use "British" because it's the more common term in the US, but per ENGVAR, we should use the most common term in the UK for a British subject. I'm not at all opposed to flipping a coin, but I've never seen it done. FWIW, I tend to agree with User:SilkTork's comments below, but my experience has been that reviewers at FAC assert that English is more specific and accurate than British; indeed every article I have ever gotten through FAC used English, and that wasn't my personal choice, but rather I was corrected in that regard during an FAC. GabeMc (talk|contribs) 18:29, 10 November 2013 (UTC)
  • From John Lydon's book, page 184: "In our own way, we English people view music as our own personal, closely guarded secret." From the back cover: "Punk has been romanticized and embalmed in various media. It has been portrayed as an English class revolt and a reckless diversion that became a marketing dream." GabeMc (talk|contribs) 18:37, 10 November 2013 (UTC)
  • I'm unclear on why bands are given a nationality. I know it's common, but I'm unclear on it. I tend to think it more helpful to state where a band was founded and/or emerged/developed, and where they achieved their greatest notability. The Sex Pistols were formed in London and initially achieved success/notoriety in the UK (not just England) before touring America and gaining international attention. Statements in articles assigning nationality to bands are unhelpful, uninformative, and - as here - problematic. SilkTork ✔Tea time 09:29, 10 November 2013 (UTC)
SilkTork, I hear you on the diminishing returns of these types of disputes, however: the question here is not "should we identify their nationality", it's how should we describe their nationality. Every FAC that I have ever been to agreed with English when dealing with a British subject. To your point, are you suggesting that we should omit their nationality altogether? I.e., "The Beatles were a an English rock band formed in Liverpool in 1960."? GabeMc (talk|contribs) 19:23, 10 November 2013 (UTC)
  • To re-state my point; someone who is English is by definition also British, but someone who is British is not necessarily English. Therefore, English is most precise and it also conveys all the needed information, whereas to call them British does not answer a question about their country of origin. In other words, English conveys more information then does British. Also, when we write-out a location in the UK, we do not include the UK. E.g., the Beatles' place of origin is Liverpool, England. We do not include UK at the end, we write Liverpool, England only. This point has been made to me by numerous editors. GabeMc (talk|contribs) 21:12, 10 November 2013 (UTC)
Agree with Gabe. I prefer to be called English, it's more precise. Other Europeans rarely call us British. I feel indignant for Scots &c when they get called English, but that's for them to sort out if they want. Rothorpe (talk) 21:24, 10 November 2013 (UTC)
Sympathize with Silk Tork as to the difficulty in assigning a quality to a group of people. However in this case the issue is not whether it should be mentioned but rather which one it should be. Since all of the members were born in England, and the group was formed there, it makes sense to call them an English band.--KeithbobTalk 02:55, 13 November 2013 (UTC)
  • It gets extremely tiresome - not to mention rather offensive - to repeatedly read people on a website explaining to me what nationality I am "by definition". But anyway - never mind the idiots - the fact is, British is the nationality of the collective members of this particular band, and any further granularity is WP:OR. --DaveG12345 (talk) 23:05, 14 November 2013 (UTC)
Well, you might be most correct, but would you apply this to all UK bands? GabeMc (talk|contribs) 23:14, 14 November 2013 (UTC)
Are we discussing all bands, or this one? --DaveG12345 (talk) 23:21, 14 November 2013 (UTC)
It's not a trap; I'm just curious if you feel it's especially apt for the Sex Pistols, but not necessarily all UK acts. GabeMc (talk|contribs) 23:23, 14 November 2013 (UTC)
We can probably discuss your curiosities elsewhere, but here we are discussing Sex Pistols. Presumably, you agree with me about this particular group? --DaveG12345 (talk) 23:28, 14 November 2013 (UTC)
I don't see any reason why we would treat this band any differently than the rest of the UK acts, which usually use English, especially when they are formed in London, IME. GabeMc (talk|contribs) 00:10, 15 November 2013 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Sex Pistols Vs. THE Beatles[edit]

Not being funny, right, but this Wikipedia article is feeble. It's written in a glossy, journalistic fashion - "They were responsible for initiating...", "London's Chelsea neighbourhood", "the only talented guitarist who tried out". It's also riddled with factual inaccuracies and has a clear bias towards the idea that USA influences were predominant ("With the search going nowhere, McLaren made several calls to Richard Hell, who turned down the invitation"). I think the whole thing should be re-written from a British pov, preferably by people who know what they're talking about, not merely what Rolling Stone magazine has told them to think. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Charles G. Hart (talkcontribs) 01:13, 27 February 2015 (UTC) "The band rejected the honour in coarse language on their website" hahaha! Coarse language? That's British English!

I agree with some of this, but saying that the article has improved dramatiaclly since I was involved. I'm certainly for a re-wright RSP to a Brit & post-punk POV. Welcome on bord Charles. Ceoil (talk) 09:41, 28 February 2015 (UTC)
I was surprised at just how toned-down the article was towards the Beatles. Here are some examples that counter the narrative: Irene Morra's Britishness, Popular Music, and National Identity: The Making of Modern Britain (2014) describes how guitarist Marco Pirroni witnessed the Sex Pistols kicking Beatles records around Vivienne Westwood's store proclaiming: "We hate the fucking Beatles". The second issue of Skum fanzine states how Sid Vicious defecated on the cover of the Beatles first album, when he first joined the Pistols. The current Wikipedia article is almost an apologetic, placing Beatles-lover Matlock on a pedestal, above the other band members. It's in a definite need of a re-write and I concur with Charles G. Hart's assertions of bias. PunksRocks (talk) 00:28, 1 March 2015 (UTC)
Not a very accurate assessment - after all, this is a desperately minor band, despite the press hoo-ha over them. Trying to make a silk purse of a sow's ear is hardly encyclopedic, now-blocked sock puppet.104.169.26.177 (talk) 05:08, 6 January 2017 (UTC)

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sex pistols Anarcho punk[edit]

Are sex pistols part of the story of Anarcho punk maybe even proto Anarcho punk — Preceding unsigned comment added by 78.144.21.58 (talk) 18:46, 13 August 2017 (UTC)

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Cheers.—InternetArchiveBot (Report bug) 08:41, 21 January 2018 (UTC)

i like sex pisstols — Preceding unsigned comment added by 82.1.7.138 (talk) 13:25, 26 April 2019 (UTC)

asefdqE — Preceding unsigned comment added by 185.207.69.178 (talk) 09:05, 3 June 2019 (UTC)

Very editoralised[edit]

This article doesn't read like an encyclopedia article; it reads like a mediocre music critic's editorializing. Can't believe this is a featured article. AHauntedMind (talk) 18:53, 14 December 2019 (UTC)