Rude Caricatures Drawn by Sex Pistols’ Johnny Rotten To Be Preserved

Well, he did go to art school...

A Self Portrait by John Lydon Photo: courtesy Historic England
A Self Portrait by John Lydon
Photo: courtesy Historic England

Two historic buildings on London’s famous Tin Pan Alley containing caricatures drawn by the Sex Pistols’ Johnny Rotten (John Lydon) have been listed Grade II*, a status which gives protection to both the building and the drawings.

Denmark Street in London’s West End is a well-known landmark in the musical history of the British capital: It was here at number four that the Rolling Stones recorded their first album; David Bowie is said to have lived in an old ambulance parked on the street at one time in his life; and Elton John worked at a music publishing company at no. 20, and also wrote the classic Your Song on this street.

Malcom MacLaren by John Lydon Photo: courtesy Historic England

Malcom McLaren by John Lydon
Photo: courtesy Historic England

The 17th century town houses at six and seven Denmark Street also have an outbuilding, which Sex Pistols manager and punk Svengali Malcom McLaren rented out as a studio and home for the band. The walls are covered with cheeky and highly unflattering cartoons of the band and their associates, including Sid Vicious and his girlfriend, Nancy Spungen, McLaren (clutching a fistful of money), as well as a self-portrait of Rotten.

“Cultural phenomena can be difficult to capture in the historic environment, yet here we have an imprint of one of the country’s most famous bands,” said Emily Gee, Head of Designation at Historic England in a statement. “These houses chart the history of Soho, and we’re delighted that they’re being given such important status.”

Malcom MacLaren by John Lydon <br> Photo: courtesy Historic England

6 & 7 Denmark Street
Photo: courtesy Historic England

Grade II* is one of the highest possible conservation orders that can be placed on a building, and means that any alterations to the buildings will have to be cleared with the authorities.

“These 17th century townhouses not only exhibit well-preserved architectural detail but helped nurture Soho’s influence on the global music industry during the 1960s and 1970s,“ said Heritage and First World War Minister David Evennett. “As we celebrate 40 years of punk, I’m delighted to be granting further protection to these buildings which acted as a home and studio to the Sex Pistols.”

This addition of punk rock history into the cannon may well enrage son and heir to Malcom Maclaren and Vivienne Westwood, Joe Corré, who is already threatening to burn his entire collection of punk memorabilia after the Queen gave the 40th anniversary of Punk her blessing earlier this month.

Sid Vicious by John Lydon <br> Photo: courtesy Historic England

Sid Vicious by John Lydon
Photo: courtesy Historic England

 

Nancy Spungen <br> Photo: courtesy Historic England

Nancy Spungen by John Lydon
Photo: courtesy Historic England


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