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Sunday, 4 December 2011

~Winter Wassailing~#18: The Greedy Bastards

1979 was a weird year for the Sex Pistols, or at least what remained of the Sex Pistols. Glen Matlock was long gone, John Lydon had quit, and Sid Vicious recorded some Eddie Cochran covers with Steve Jones and Paul Cook before he succumbed to his own squalid death in rather unpleasant circumstances.
Cook and Jones were left to carry the weight of the name and of the reputation of the band. In 1979 they found themselves performing with some rather odd lead vocalists, which included Great Train Robber Ronnie Biggs, and Eddie Tudorpole who would later find success with his own Tenpole Tudor, as well as becoming a successful actor and presenter of TV's The Crystal Maze.

1979 also saw Cook and Jones become embroiled in the recording of the soundtrack for 'The Great Rock'n'Roll Swindle' (in which they also appeared), Malcolm McLaren's bizarre vision of the Sex Pistols story, which included copious nudity, images of domination and bondage, and under-age girls. They found themselves re-recording guitar and drum parts for old Pistols demos (with Lydon on vocals) so that they could be used in the film, as well as recording all new songs like the title track, Silly Thing, Lonely Boy and erm, Frigging In The Rigging.
After becoming disillusioned with the rotting corpse that the Sex Pistols had become, Paul and Steve began looking for other projects. They would eventually form their own band The Professionals and in turn would join with Paul Simonon of The Clash to appear in the movie 'Ladies & Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains'.
In between all that though they linked up with leather kecked rock god Phil Lynott, of Thin Lizzy, who was a fan of the Pistols.
On the 29th of July 1978, Paul Cook, Steve Jones, Phil Lynott, Gary Moore, Chris Downey, Scott Gorham (the last three all of Thin Lizzy), Jimmy Bain (of Rainbow), and Chris Spedding (long time Pistols cohort) took to the stage of the Electric Ballroom to play a set of Pistols and Lizzy songs under the moniker of The Greedy Bastards.
The Greedy Bastards would return in December of that year without Bain and Spedding, but this time featuring one Bob Geldof!
A year later, in December of 1979, the only fruits of the Pistols/Lizzy concoction were released; a Christmas song under the title of a 'A Merry Jingle', which charted but only reached the disappointing position of Number 28, surprising when you consider the fanbase for both the Pistols and Thin Lizzy!
On the 20th of December 1979, the band, now tastefully re-dubbed The Greedies appeared on Top Of The Pops:


And then, on New Year's Eve, they turned up on Kenny Everett's Hogmanay show:


Paul Cook and Steve Jones were probably wise, and relieved, to leave behind the baggage of the Sex Pistols at that rather crazy and unsavoury time in the band's history, and nearly everything they did immediately post-Pistols is worth checking out.
The late, great Phil Lynott was one of the few pre-Punk rock stars that the Punks actually adopted as a hero figure, and he and his fine band certainly brighten up those mawkish 1976 Top Of The Pops that are being re-shown at the moment.
Not the greatest Christmas song of all time then by any stretch, but an intriguing time capsule of when two of the best bands of the late 1970s collided.

~Gordon~

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