John Lydon Recalls Almost Getting The Death Penalty Due To His Sex Pistols Lyrics
John Lydon, also known as Johnny Rotten, recently talked about the fame of Sex Pistols and revealed that they were accused of treason, and the punishment was the death penalty.
Sex Pistols were the revolutionists of Great Britain from the ’70s until the ’90s. The band was known to be anarchists, and they produced songs that would get them into trouble most of the time. They often criticized the British monarchy and fascism with their songs and lyrics.
The band became the most heavily censored band in the history of Britain after they released their 1977 song ‘God Save the Queen.’ People would listen to Sex Pistols, sing along in public places, and wear t-shirts as signs of anarchism. Therefore, the band wasn’t liked by the authorities.
Johnny Rotten revealed that he was even discussed in the Houses of Parliament ‘under the treason offense,’ which had a death penalty. He recalled his horror after realizing that artists like him could receive the death penalty ‘for words.’ However, it seems like this realization didn’t prevent him from writing politically themed lyrics.
Here is how he recalled being considered for the death penalty crime:
“There was constant pressure. But I got to write the songs I wanted to write, got those lyrics out to Joe Public, and Joe Public was very nice and appreciated it.
But then I had a media and a police force who did not appreciate it. I was discussed in the Houses of Parliament under the treason act. And you go, ‘Ohh, haha,’ but that carried a death penalty! For words!
A few soppy little pop songs like ‘Anarchy In The UK,’ and you can be dead. Off with his head!“
Lydon and the rest of the band were certainly taking risks back when freedom of speech was more limited. Sex Pistols stuck together until 2008, when Lydon decided that it was not fun anymore and quit the band. Later on, the singer criticized his former band for signing a deal with Disney and allowing them to use their music, stating that Sex Pistols is now the property of Mickey Mouse.