Most of you know that Sid Vicious was the charismatic, if not controversial, bass player in one of the most influential punk acts in history, the Sex Pistols. You’re probably vaguely aware that the dude played hard and lived life on the edge during his short 22 year tenure in this life but that’s probably the extent of your knowledge. The more senior among you will be more versed with his legend but there’s probably a few facts about the punk rock icon that will still surprise you.
Read our list of 10 things you probably didn’t know about Sid below.
1. Sid Vicious was born John Simon Ritchie
2. Vicious was in a relationship punctuated by bouts of domestic violence and drug abuse with 70’s punk rock figure, Nancy Spungen. Not long into their relationship, Spungen was found dead in their hotel room’s bathtub from a single stab wound to the abdomen. Vicious was charged with the murder but never made it to trial due to his death from a heroin overdose. (Many authors and filmmakers have speculated that Vicious may not have been the murderer, believing that a drug dealer who frequented their room may have actually been the culprit.)
3. Sex Pistols singer Johnny Rotten gave him the nickname Sid Vicious after his hamster Sid bit the-then-John-Ritchie. Ritchie proclaimed, “Sid is really vicious!” and a famous stage name was born.
4. Sex Pistols Manager Malcolm McLaren stated on one documentary that if he had met Vicious before hiring Johnny Rotton, he would have chosen Vicious to be the front man of the Pistols instead, stating that Vicious had “the most charisma of anyone in the band.”
5. Vicious’s abilities on bass guitar were sometimes questioned. In one interview, when asked why he instead of Vicious recorded the bass parts for their album “Never Mind the Bollocks”, former guitarist Steve Jones stated, “Sid was in a hospital with yellow jaundice and he couldn’t really play…not that he could play anyway.”
6. It is very possible that Vicious’s own mother, Anne, was responsible for the heroin overdose that led to his death. Years after his passing and soon before her death, Anne admitted to a journalist that she had purposely administered the fatal dose of heroin to her son. The question remains of whether Vicious wanted her to administer said dose.
7. Vicious is credited with inventing the Pogo move where you bounce up and down with the music.
8. Before joining the Sex Pistols, Vicious was previously the drummer for punk bands Siouxsie and the Banshees and The Flowers of Romance.
9. Vicious did time in an England remand centre (prison) after intending to throw a glass at a member of the band The Damned, but instead blinded a young girl when the glass shattered. After the incident the 100 club, where it occurred, went on to ban all punk acts at the club.
10. In 2006, the Sex Pistols were inducted into the rock and roll hall of fame with the inclusion of Sid Vicious. In typical punk rock fashion, the band rejected the honor with guitarist Steve Jones saying quote: “Once you want to be put into a museum, rock and roll is over.”