Music History

How the Sex Pistols Saved Christmas!

When they were around for the first time, the Sex Pistols were considered vile, evil and a threat to everything that was good and decent about Great Britain.  It might surprise you to learn that they had a very soft side.  From Dangerous Minds:

For the families of the striking fire fighters, Christmas 1977 was going to be a difficult one. With little or no money coming in, celebrations, presents, and even food were on ration. But something quite wonderful happened on that Christmas Day in Merrie England, when four of the country’s allegedly most reviled people brought happiness and festive gifts to the firefighters and their families.

This was Christmas Day 1977, when The Sex Pistols played a benefit gig for the families of striking fire fighters at the Ivanhoe’s club, Huddersfield, in the north of England.

As has often been recorded, The Pistols were the most hated and feared group in the country, portrayed by the press as the biggest threat to any nation’s children since Herod slaughtered the innocents. They had been banned from nearly every civic venue in the UK and were on an MI5 blacklist. For many a politician or council member, the very mention of The Sex Pistols could cause the veins to ominously throb on their sweaty, flabby brows.

But it wasn’t just The Pistols who these politicians and their obsequious press feared, it was the unions—in particular the fire fighters who were striking for a 30% wage increase.

For two years, the fire fighters had waited for the Labour government to negotiate a pay raise, but nothing had happened. As the cost of food, fuel and taxes skyrocketed, the pay-in-the-pocket of the average worker was worthless. Therefore, a ballot of the 30,000 strong Fire Brigades Union was held, which received 97.5% support for strike action. On the 14th November, 1977, the fire fighter’s strike began.

On Christmas Day, 1977, the Pistols quietly organized a benefit gig for the Fire Brigade Union.

Keep reading.  And there’s more video like this, too.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38550 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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