Sex Pistols Box Set (2002)
Review by Scott M, July 2002
(taken from Pistols at The Palace gig programme)
My first thought was, ‘How can you have a Sex Pistols a box set, they (really) only had one album and four singles’? Well, this 3 CD compilation – made up of the classic ‘Never Mind the Bollocks’ album, B-sides, demos, studio outtakes, and unreleased live material – proves you can…
Disc 1 features the complete ‘Never Mind the Bollocks’ album, the four B-sides, and the band’s first demo session with Chris Spedding. ‘NMTB’, and the B-sides have all been remastered, they’ve never sounded better. At least, not since the first time you heard them. The Spedding session sounds superb, probably in the best sound quality it’s ever been issued.
Disc 2 contains a staggering amount of Sex Pistols demos and studio outtakes. Practically every demo the band ever made is on this disc. 22 tracks in all. Starting off with the July 1976 Dave Goodman demos, the disc travels through the band’s repertoire of rehearsal cover versions. It also includes a rejected version of the seminal ‘Anarchy in the UK’ single, and unearths the previously unreleased Mike Thorne EMI demo sessions; before finishing off with the January 1977 Dave Goodman sessions, and outtakes from the Chris Thomas ‘NMTB’ sessions. Again all tracks have been remastered, with the sound quality pristine.
Disc 3 features the whole of the legendary – and previously unreleased – Screen on the Green 31.8.76 gig, along with a selection of other previously unreleased live bonus tracks; including the unrecorded tracks: ‘Understanding’ and ‘Flowers of Romance’. Considering the Screen on the Green gig was recorded two months before the band even signed to a record company, it finally puts an end to the myth the Sex Pistols couldn’t play. The band are tight, and Johnny Rotten is at his confrontational best. For such an old recording, it sounds great! And although the sound quality of the live bonus tracks can be a little ropey, they are an important inclusion; as not many fans will have them.
To top things off the box set comes packaged in a lavish 80 page book, featuring many previously unseen photographs, along with detailed sleevenotes; including a biography, quotes from the band, lyrics, discography, and a gig guide.
The box set is a ‘must-have’ for every Pistols fan. The most definitive Sex Pistols compilation ever, it packages virtually every Rotten-era recording of the band into 3 discs. You no longer have to buy countless rip-off bootlegs to get this material. It’s every Sex Pistols recording you ever needed, and never wanted! And I haven’t even mentioned the secret hidden tracks at the end of each disc…
Of course the eagle-eyed amongst you will have spotted there is no material from the post-Rotten ‘Great Rock n Roll Swindle’ era. That material has been left for the ‘Jubilee’ singles compilation.
1. Holidays in the Sun
13. I Wanna Be Me
21. (Hidden Track)
1. Pretty Vacant
3. Anarchy in the UK
11. Anarchy in the UK*
12. No Feelings (instrumental)
16. New York
23. (Hidden Track)
1. Anarchy in the UK
16. Understanding (live bonus track)
17. Flowers of Romance #1 (live bonus track)
18.Flowers… #2 (live bonus track)
19. Belsen Was a Gas (live bonus track)
20. (Hidden Track)
* indicates previously unreleased