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Punk has been romanticized and embalmed in various media. It has been portrayed as an English class revolt and a reckless diversion that became a marketing dream. But there is no disputing its starting point. Every story of punk starts with its idols, the Sex Pistols, and its sneering hero was Johnny Rotten.
In Rotten, Lydon looks back at himself, the Sex Pistols, and the "no future" disaffection of the time. Much more than just a music book, Rotten is an oral history of punk: angry, witty, honest, poignant, and crackling with energy.
"Alive at the core . . . Lydon's quite the humorist . . . [Full of] cut marks of wit and ego."—The New Yorker
"A wrathful Irish poet . . . Lydon proves to have a keen wit and rare insight."—The Washington Post Book World
"A pavement philosopher whose Dickensian roots blossom with Joycean color."—Rolling Stone
"Invaluable . . . sheds welcome light on that short period of great music and spasmodic cultural change."—San Francisco Chronicle
"Britain's short-lived, notorious late-'70s punk band the Sex Pistols has become one of rock 'n' roll's greatest legends. But it's time to set the record straight, writes Lydon, aka Johnny Rotten, frontman for the Pistols and author of the controversial songs—'Anarchy in the U.K.,' 'God Save the Queen'—which made his band an immediate sensation. In his engagingly nasty and unexpectedly witty autobiography, he seeks to demythologize the Sex Pistols by suggesting that punk rockers are just like the rest of us, people with families, friends and financial troubles. Vitriolic about the British class system and the music industry, Lydon is nevertheless unabashedly affectionate when discussing his own family. And his depiction of Sid Vicious, his ironic bandmate who has been alternately romanticized and maligned for his addictions to heroin and self-mutilation emerges as a touchingly helpless figure. He augments his personal perspective with the disparate impressions of his fellow bandmates and associates to make his memoir a convincingly candid account of the Sex Pistols as working-class stiffs who mainly wanted to shake things up a bit and inadvertently stumbled across rock 'n' roll sainthood."—Publishers Weekly