Sex Pistols, “Silly Thing”

Absolutely superb song from 1979’s Great Rock and Roll Swindle, the last album ever produced by the Sex Pistols. I was always certain that this was a cover of some great old rock song by, say, The Who, but this is actually a Cook/Jones Sex Pistols original! It’s incredible. Listen to that Wall of Sound. As good as anything Phil Spector ever did.

You can hear this famous Wall of Sound all through their first album, Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols. Those songs were recorded in 1977. I’m not sure how they went about getting this sound. I guess it’s all down to producer Dave Goodman.  and yes, this single was produced in Spring 1978. Johnny Rotten announced that the band was breaking up in January 1978. For the next several months, the remaining three band members, Sid Vicious, Paul Cook, and Steve Jones, recorded a number of songs with Goodman.

These songs were released the next year as part of the Swindle album. Jones is on guitar and Cook is on drums and vocals (His vocals are great!) here. Jones also overlayed the bass rather than suffer the incompetence of Vicious’ bass playing. People don’t realize this but everyone in the band does not need to be present when a song is recorded. You can indeed record any or all of the instruments separately and the vocals also.

It’s probably true though that the more band members you have up there playing in the studio, the better it sounds. Songs straight out of the studio don’t sound real great. Ever hear a “live in the studio” song? They’re not that great. They have a very basic, garage band type simplicity, but some people like that minimalism. The difference between live in the studio and what you hear on vinyl is all down the skills of the producer and what it does with that song after the musicians have played it.

Goodman is one of the best rock producers ever. People have no idea how important production is. It’s literally make or break for many songs and albums. There’s so much more to a great song than just music, lyrics, playing, and singing. So, so much more. You have no idea.

What you see, you can get
Nothing’s free, nothing’s said
Don’t be fooled by the signs
Don’t read in between the lines
What you’re gonna say?
What you’re gonna do?
Now you’ve missed out once again
But I thought you knew

Oh, you silly thing
You’ve really gone and done it now
Oh, you silly thing
You really gone and done it now

Trouble here, trouble there
People stop just to stare
What’s the use of wasting time?
Just move on, leave ’em all behind
What you’re gonna say?
What you’re gonna do?
Now you’ve missed out once again
But I thought you knew

Oh, you silly thing
You’ve really gone and done it now
Oh, you silly thing
You’ve really gone and done it now

Can’t you ever depend
On someone you call a friend?
When you see the naked eyes
You don’t even ask ’em why
You don’t even ask ’em why

Oh, you silly thing
You’ve really gone and done it now
Oh, you silly thing
You’ve really gone and done it now

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3 thoughts on “Sex Pistols, “Silly Thing””

  1. Marky Ramone said Glen Matlock was the Sex Pistols; that he wrote most of their great shit. Agree? Disagree? Ever check out the Johnny Lydon (Rotten) Marky Ramone video on YouTube? Lydon was very drunk. Also featured Henry Rollins of Black Flag and others.

    1. I’m not sure if he actually wrote most of their stuff or not.

      No, I haven’t seen that video.

      Which was the Ramone who was a long-time heroin addict?

      1. Dee Dee Ramone, the founder of the band, died of a heroin overdose. The original 4: Dee Dee, Tommy, Johnny and frontman Joey. Johnny was the leader, Tommy and Dee Dee the architechts. Joey the face of the band.

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