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Sex Pistols, 1977

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The Sex Pistols photographed by Janette Beckman during a rehearsal in 1977

 

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One Band’s Success Thanks to Some Bad Teeth

On the December 1, 1976, Mercury and the rest of Queen were in the middle of promoting the release of A Day at the Races. As a result, they were supposed to appear on the talk show Today with Bill Grundy that day. However, Mercury bailed because he apparently hadn’t gone to the dentist in 15 years and it had become a now or never situation. Instead, Queen’s label, EMI, sent a newer band in Queen’s place: the Sex Pistols. The young punk band made an obscene scene on the show, prompting nation-wide condemnation and instant infamy. It was exactly the kind of big break that they needed, and it only happened because Mercury was such a procrastinator when it came to dental hygiene!

Don’t Mess with Mercury, or He Will Rock You

Sadly, the Sex Pistols weren’t exactly grateful to Queen for the chance to shout swear words on the air. The Pistols loathed Queen’s image and stardom, while for his part, Mercury didn’t even consider what the Sex Pistols produced to be music—fair enough, really. In 1977, the bands’ paths crossed at their mutual recording studio. While John Lydon (AKA Johnny Rotten) was actually polite when talking to Queen, Sid Vicious drunkenly tried to pick a fight with Mercury. For his part, Mercury wasn’t goaded into fighting with “Simon Ferocious,” as he humorously called him during the encounter. He preferred instead to belittle him, like most of  the critics of the world were doing at the time—and mostly still are.

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