The Sex Pistols: The Stolper-Wilson Collection

The Sex Pistols: The Stolper-Wilson Collection

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 4. Johnny Rotten | No Feelings, autograph manuscript lyrics, 1976.

Johnny Rotten | No Feelings, autograph manuscript lyrics, 1976

Lot Closed

October 21, 01:03 PM GMT


15,000 - 20,000 GBP

Lot Details


Johnny Rotten

No Feelings, autograph manuscript lyrics

18 lines in blue ballpoint, a working manuscript with corrections and revisions to four lines, with title added in black ballpoint in block capitals, one unrelated line ("lets go find somewhere to hide") in green ballpoint on the verso, 2 pages, on a leaf of stave music paper (292 x 195mm) torn from a notebook , some folds, wear to edges

"[No Feelings] originally came from a Steve Jones riff. It would work this way: one night someone would have an idea, and then everyone else would just build around it until it was done. I had very little to do at all with the Pistols’ music. I knew nothing about music. While they’d be fiddling about, I’d be in the corner writing. I’d just shout out if I liked certain bits and I had lyrics to fit in. It’s a haphazard way, but that’s the way it was. You don’t need to be technically proficient at your so-called art to write songs. If you are musically proficient, usually you won’t be any good at writing songs because you won’t be able to express your feelings. You’ll be bogged down in the technology of note perfections, set patterns and set ideas." [Rotten, No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs, p.237.]

'No Feelings' is an early song, which featured in the band's live shows from April 1976. It was one of three songs recorded as demos in the band's first recording session on 15 May 1976 at Majestic Studios. Another recording was made for Never Mind the Bollocks. This version of the song lacks several lines that formed part of the song by the time of its first recording, so presumably dates from March-May 1976, when Rotten was still developing the lyrics. 

WORKING LYRICS TO SEX PISTOLS SONGS ARE EXTREMELY RARE AT AUCTION. Most of the small number of autograph manuscripts to have appeared on the market are fair copies of various songs, including 'No Feelings', on Glitterbest headed stationery, which were written in early 1977 for copyright purposes.

Jamie Reid; 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.90-91 and 128