The Sex Pistols: The Stolper-Wilson Collection

The Sex Pistols: The Stolper-Wilson Collection

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 26. Johnny Rotten | Holidays in the Sun; Submission, handwritten lyrics, 1977.

Johnny Rotten | Holidays in the Sun; Submission, handwritten lyrics, 1977

Lot Closed

October 21, 01:27 PM GMT


15,000 - 20,000 GBP

Lot Details


Johnny Rotten

'Holidays in the Sun' and 'Submission', autograph manuscript lyrics to two songs

here entitled "Holiday in the sun", 31 lines written in black ballpoint with revisions to three lines, the opening line ("A cheap holiday in other people's misery") added in pencil possibly in another hand, entirely written in block capitals, an early version of the song with substantial differences to the final text; with, on the verso, untitled lyrics to Submission, 10 lines written in green ballpoint, comprising the first two verses and refrain, entirely written in block capitals; two pages on a single leaf of foolscap folio plain writing paper (watermarked "Polygraph British made", 330 x 203mm), probably April-June 1977, neat repairs to edges, some folds

ORIGINAL WORKING LYRICS TO TWO SEX PISTOLS SONGS. The use of capitals suggests that these lyrics were written by Rotten for easy legibility in rehearsal, probably during the period of recording at Wessex Sound Studios for Never Mind the Bollocks. 'Holidays in the Sun' was not written until after March 1977. It was recorded on 18 June, first featured in live sets during the Scandinavian tour the following month, and was released as a single on 14 October. The substantial divergence in lyrical content between the current text and the recorded song means that this manuscript almost certainly dates from before the song was recorded on 18 June. 

'Holidays in the Sun', the first significant song written after Matlock's departure, was Rotten's response to the band's trip out of the UK in March 1977 to escape the media furore that followed the A&M debacle. They attempted a "holiday in the sun" in Jersey, but were expelled from the island after 24 hours, and travelled on to Berlin, which was of course then divided into two ideologically opposed cities by the Berlin Wall. Rotten has recalled his response to the city: "I loved the wall and the insanity of the place. Twenty-four hours of chaotic fun It was a fairground with only one airport and one motorway leading into it - surrounded by downtrodden, dull, grey, military-minded bastards who lived thoroughly miserable lives. They looked in on the circus atmosphere of West Berlin - which never went to sleep - and that would be their impression of the West. I loved it. I had this feeling of Berlin being this wall all around me. It was a ridiculously small wall, and the whole thing seemed absolutely absurd." (quoted in No Future, p.101)

If 'Holidays in the Sun' shows Rotten at his most politically sensitive, 'Submission' was a joke at the expense of the band's manager, who had been angling for a song that would help sales of Westwood's bondage clothing. It is a slightly earlier song, co-written by Rotten and Matlock in a Camden Town pub in a moment of rare amiability: ‘Malcolm gave us his list of words and ideas. It was so funny. One of the words was “submissive”. We turned it into “Submission” – a submarine mission. Glen and I enjoyed the humour of it all. I don’t think Malcolm did.’ [Rotten p.238.]

WORKING LYRICS TO SEX PISTOLS SONGS ARE EXTREMELY RARE ON THE MARKET. Most of the small number of autograph manuscripts to have appeared at auction are fair copies on Glitterbest headed stationery written in early 1977 for copyright purposes.

Jon Savage; BeatBooks/Andrew Sclanders, from whom purchased 2003

Exhibited: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, Cleveland U.S., 1996-2000; Hospital, London 2004; Urbis, Manchester 2005

No Future pp.100-102; Satellite p.103