David Gilmour’s Reaction To John Lydon’s ‘I Hate Pink Floyd’ T-Shirt

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Since it first appeared in the music scene during the mid-1970s, punk has always been more than a sound. It was the whole attitude that turned it into a cultural phenomenon. While there were also musical differences between the two genres, such as its relatively simple, short, and fast songs, punk separated itself from the rock world with its distinctive style.

Punk embraced an anti-establishment attitude and thus challenged the traditional ideas in the music world. They liked offering commentary on the ongoing political and social issues. The genre also favored offensive language and connected with its fans in unconventional ways. One of the genre’s most famous offensive comments came when Sex Pistols’ lead singer John Lydon wore a t-shirt saying that he hated Pink Floyd.

How Did David Gilmour React To John Lydon’s ‘I Hate Pink Floyd’ T-Shirt?

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As a nonconformist movement, punk was never interested in sophisticated song structures, and stylized, well-produced albums, unlike their predecessors. Their recording process was mainly fast-paced and filled with raw energy and aggression. Being one of the biggest rock acts, Pink Floyd, on the other hand, stood out with their carefully-organized style and meticulous work on their works.

Thus, it is not a surprise that Pink Floyd would be a subject of criticism for punk. It was not just about musical differences; punk also saw Pink Floyd as an elitist, insincere band who wrote songs about the world’s injustice while also making money off them at the same time. For punk, Pink Floyd entirely corresponded with what mainstream 1970s rock represented.

During this period, Sex Pistols’ John Lydon became famous for wearing a T-shirt saying ‘I Hate Pink Floyd.’ The statement was totally in line with the spirit of the movement. Maybe he didn’t directly target Pink Floyd, but the band eventually became a symbol of what punk rejected in the rock scene at the time. This kind of reaction against the bands like Pink Floyd was strategic and necessary from punk’s point of view.

During an interview with Q magazine in 1999, Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour was asked about this issue and whether he hated the Sex Pistols. Gilmour said that he thinks Sex Pistols was a rather good band. Then, Gilmour recalled when Johnny Rotten told him that he never hated Pink Floyd when they came together. Instead, the rocker enjoyed listening to them. Gilmour stated that he already never believed that he hated them, so Lydon’s statement didn’t surprise him.

The interviewer’s question on John Lydon’s T-shirt:

“Johnny Rotten had his famous ‘I hate Pink Floyd’ T-shirt. Did you hate the Sex Pistols?”

In his response, David Gilmour said:

“No, I thought the Sex Pistols were rather good. I’ve been on a show with Johnny Rotten. It was at Sadler’s Wells, and he said he never really hated Pink Floyd, and actually, he was a bit of a fan. I confess to not having entirely believed it in the first place. I mean, who could hate us?”

David Gilmour probably understood the sub-meaning behind the T-shirt but never really thought that John Lydon hated their music. Moreover, the musician was aware that countless people appreciated their music instead of slamming it since they have always been regarded as one of the greatest bands in rock history.