Steve Jones Recalls John Lydon’s First Sex Pistols Audition With Alice Cooper’s ‘I’m Eighteen’


Sex Pistols’ Steve Jones remembered the band’s frontman John Lydon‘s joining them in his latest conversation with Rolling Stone Music Now. The guitarist highlighted that he found Lydon’s performance for Alice Cooper‘s ‘I’m Eighteen’ very interesting.

Alice Cooper dropped his third studio album, ‘Love It to Death’ on March 9, 1971, and the record became the band’s most popular and commercially successful work until then. Its song, ‘I’m Eighteen,’ released as a single initially, helped Cooper convince Warner Bros. about his musical potential. However, it wasn’t the only song that changed Cooper’s and his band’s destiny, but also Lydon’s.

While Lydon was hanging out at promoter and manager McLaren and Vivienne Westwood’s shop, McLaren was promoting Sex Pistols which consisted of Jones, Glen Matlock, and Paul Cook. During one of his visits, the then-future frontman began singing Cooper’s ‘I’m Eighteen’ standing next to the shop’s jukebox. After McLaren realized his one-of-a-kind style and vocal talent, Lydon became the band’s singer.

During his interview, Jones recalled those moments and unveiled that he questioned Lydon’s style and way of auditioning, which changed everything for him. The guitarist admitted that he saw him as a clown mocking the situation by accompanying a jukebox. However, later Jones realized that he did the right thing, and this was his unique method of performing a very well-known song.

Jones shared his ideas, saying:

“I didn’t see his genius at the time. I thought, ‘Who was this clown, and why he was trying to get this gig by singing along to the song?’ He absolutely did the correct thing from the beginning. That was his thing.”

You can listen to the song below.