The Anniversary of the Day Sid Vicious Almost Died

ViciousWhile perusing rock and roll history sites to find something to pique my interest I discovered that it was on this day 35 years ago that Sid Vicious attempted suicide after being released from police custody. He had been charged with the second degree murder of his girlfriend, Nancy Spungen. I know that this doesn’t sound like a very fascinating fact or much of an anniversary to celebrate, let alone write about, but The Sex Pistols have always been a guilty pleasure of mine ever since I heard the album Never Mind the Bullocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols back in 1978 and I have always had a bit of a morbid obsession with Sid and Nancy. They were a mere curiosity for me until I saw the critically acclaimed film Sid and Nancy, directed by Alex Cox and starring Gary Oldman and Chloe Webb in what can only be described as tour de force performances. That was it, I was officially hooked. The story was dramatic, sad, violent and at times hilariously funny.

They met in London just before Thatcher came to power and the middle class, or what was left of it, was being squeezed as they never had been before. Youth disenfranchisement was at an all time high and punk music came along at the perfect time for English kids to grab a hold of it for all it’s worth and lash out against anything that smacked of being normal or hierarchical, especially seeing as they were at the bottom of that hierarchy. It was a short-lived generational primal scream that was necessary for the times at hand and somewhat intoxicating for the screamers in its calamity. Somehow it was a perfect mirror image of Sid and Nancy’s relationship… intense, turbulent and extremely unpredictable.

The break-up of The Sex Pistols in early 1978 while on a US tour probably sped up the downward spiral Sid had been embarking on. There was no one to watch him… no one to curtail his ever increasingly and more powerful drug intake… no bodyguards to babysit him. Left to his own devices, and with not an insignificant amount of money, Sid moved to New York with Nancy and they quickly fell into a deeper haze of booze and heroin.

Within eight short months of the band breaking up Nancy Spungen lies in their seedy hotel room, dead of single abdominal stab wound. This is where the story gets murky. Although Sid is charged with her murder, there is rumor that while he is passed out a low level drug dealer enters room and stabs Nancy. It wouldn’t matter whether this was true or not. Sid would never face a jury. He would die in February of 1979 of a heroin overdose. A few days after his death Sid’s mother found a note in his leather jacket that read, “We had a death pact, and I have to keep my half of the bargain. Please bury me next to my baby. Bury me in my leather jacket, jeans and motorcycle boots. Goodbye.” Although not buried together, Sid’s mother climbed the fence of the cemetery where Nancy was buried and spread his ashes on her grave. He ended up exactly where he wanted to be, with his Nancy.

A song from The Sex Pistols’ final performance at the Winterland in San Francisco in 1978.

R.I.P. Nancy And Sid (a blatant rip-off of Alex Cox’s ending to the movie Sid and Nancy)