Sid Vicious

Born John Simon Ritchie on 10th May, 1957.

Sid Vicious was, for many, the epitomy of punk. Along with fellow Sex Pistol, Johnny Rotten, his is the name most people would come up with if asked to name a punk. But he wasn't very talented or original, or, indeed, nice. He copped his look 100% from Richard Hell (of Television, Johnny Thunders And The Heartbreakers, and the Voidoids, who, himself, had stolen the look from French romantic poet Arthur Rimbaud), the self-mutilation from Iggy Pop, and the drug habit from Lou Reed (Johnny Rotten would later comment that Sid had died for Lou Reed's sins).

Sid was very much part of the early London punk scene, turning up at the Roxy and the 100 Club (and throwing glasses at random people, and beating up NME journalist Nick Kent), as well as whatever gigs were going on. He was also part of the Bromley Contingent, a group of mad Sex Pistols fans/groupies who dressed in Nazi/S&M/bondage gear, which included Susan Ballion (who would later start calling herself Siouxsie Sioux), and played the drums (badly) in The Flowers Of Romance, a band who would later metamorphose into The Banshees.


Around 1976, Johnny Thunders (ex-New York Dolls, one of the main inspirations behind British Punk) and his band, the Heartbreakers, came to London to play a few gigs. With them came Nancy Spungen, a prostitute/groupie/junkie who had her heart set on Heartbreakers drummer, Jerry Nolan. The Heartbreakers' manager warned her off coming near Nolan, whose drug problems were only exacerbated by Spungen, so she worked as a prostitute around London, until she found Sid, who she soon had wrapped around her little finger. Nancy also introduced Sid, and the rest of the London punks, to heroin; before then, the drug of choice for most punks was either amphetamines or spliff.

Soon afterwards, Sid was recruited as bassist for the Sex Pistols, more because he looked the part and had the appropriate attitude than for any musical talent. He replaced Glen Matlock, who was apparently fired for liking The Beatles, although he and Rotten had never seen eye-to-eye on the Pistols' music. After recording a few singles and a debut album (during which producer Chris Thomas went to great lengths to keep Sid away from any musical instruments), the Pistols went off to the U.S. to tour. The tour organisers had to pay a $1,000,000 bond against the Pistols' behaviour, and so had Sid badly beaten before the tour started, to ensure his good conduct. By this stage, Sid was so dependant on smack that he could barely make it from city to city; as soon as they got off the bus/plane/train, he was off looking to score.

The tour took a lot out of the band, and by the time they reached San Francisco's Winterland, they were on the verge of imploding. Which they did. That night, they played one song (a cover of Iggy and the Stooges' "No Fun"), after which Rotten asked the crowd "Ever get the feeling you've been cheated?" and left the stage and the Sex Pistols.

Sid then became a solo artist, recording an album of mostly covers called "Sid Sings," which included his infamous version of Frank Sinatra's "My Way." Things were getting bad between him and Nancy at this stage, Nancy telling her mother that he was beating her; and then one day, October 12th 1978, Spungeon was found dead in her underwear, in the bathroom of her and Sid's hotel room, a huge stab wound in her abdomen. Sid was found with a knife, in a drug-induced haze, in the bedroom, and was arrested and charged with murder, although it's likely that it was no more than an accident.

He was later released on $50,000 bail, and his mother, Anne Beverley, flew over to Manhattan to take care of her son; to such an extent that, on the night of the 1st February, 1979, she went out to buy him a bag of heroin. It was the purest heroin that Sid had ever been given, and he died of an overdose that night.

A poem written on a scrap of paper was found in his pocket when he died.


You were my little baby girl
And I knew all your fears
Such joy to hold you in my arms
And kiss away your tears
But now you're gone
There's only pain
And nothing I can do
And I don't want to live this life
If I can't live for you.

Here's a quote about Sid....
Sid is someone I turn to in times of need. When things get bad, when times are rough, I say to myself: "What would Sid Vicious have done in this situation?" and then I choose from the lengthy list of possibilities (time-permitting): (1) Pass out, or (2) Break something.

-- The Cube, ("borrowed" from Augusta's homenode, thanks!)

Sid Vicious died of a heroin overdose on February 2nd 1979, aged 21. He was the bassist in the British punk band The Sex Pistols.

After being charged with second degree murder of his girlfriend Nancy Spungen on October 12th 1978, he attempted suicide on October 22nd the same year.

On February 1st 1979 he was released from Riker's Island, detoxified. On February 2nd 1979 he took a 'hit' from some heroin bought for him by his mother. It was very pure heroin and his mother found him the next morning, dead from overdose.

It was not until after his funeral that his mother found Sid's suicide note inside the pocket of his jacket. It was written on a small piece of lined paper and written in shaky block capitals on both sides was his note.




Sadly, Vicious was never buried next to Nancy. Sid's mother dropped the urn containing his ashes on the concrete of Heathrow Airport as she got off the plane.

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