Sex Pistols' Break Up

Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious on stage during the band's last show at Winterland in San Francisco, January 14, 1978
Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious on stage during the band's last show at Winterland in San Francisco, January 14, 1978

Historical Context

In January 1978 the Sex Pistols embarked on their first and last tour of America, and their last tour as a band. They might not have known it, but the group that had caused a moral panic in their native UK and helped spark the punk wave of the late 1970s was about to collapse completely.

The audiences were hostile - their promoter had purposely booked what he called "redneck bars" to provoke violence. During the concerts Sid Vicious fought with audience members and attacked them with his bass guitar, as well as fighting with security guards and staff on and off stage.

During their final show Johnny Rotten walked off after having performed one song, a cover of "No Fun" by the Stooges. The band would never perform together again. Sid Vicious - described by Rotten as having gone "completely off the rails" by the start of the tour - was hospitalized shortly after the tour but would die of a heroin overdose in 1979.

Photo Info


Photographer: Monty Fresco/​Daily Mail/​Shutterstock
Date taken: January 14, 1978
Location taken: USA

Source: Shutterstock

Related Events

  • 1976-10-08 Sex Pistols sign with EMI
  • 1976-12-01 Sex Pistols using profanity on TV, gets them branded as "rotten punks"
  • 1977-01-06 EMI records drop punk rock group Sex Pistols
  • 1977-06-07 During the Queen's Jubilee, the Sex Pistols attempt to perform on a boat on the River Thames, but are forced to stop by the police
  • 1978-01-05 Start of the Sex Pistols final tour in Atlanta, Georgia
  • 1978-01-14 Sex Pistols' final concert held in Winterland, San Francisco
  • 1978-01-17 After a tumultuous final tour the Sex Pistols break up as a band, which is announced the following day
  • 1978-07-13 BBC bans Sex Pistols "No One is Innocent"
  • 1980-10-06 John Lydon (aka Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols) sentenced to 3 months imprisonment on assault charges

Related Famous People

Historical Photos