Sex Pistols – 1976 Johnny Rotten Handwritten “Problems” Lyric

An extremely rare partial lyric for the Sex Pistols song “Problems,” handwritten by Johnny Rotten in 1976.  Rotten (John Lydon) has written the song title “Problems” and the first nine lines of the song in blue ink, on the top half of a sheet of paper. Below the lyric are  the names and home addresses of the Sex Pistols (in a different hand,) and notes about the band singning a managerial agreement with Malcolm McLaren’s Glitterbest Ltd. on 20th Sept 1976, their upcoming single to released by EMI at the end of November 1976, and the negotiation of a publishing agreement.  A name and address is written in red at the bottom of the sheet.

Jon Savage, author of the definitive Sex Pistols history, England’s Dreaming: Sex Pistols and Punk Rock, has confirmed Rotten’s handwriting, and noted that “Problems” is one of the earliest Sex Pistols songs, “dating back to early 1976 at least.”  This document dates from sometime between September 20, 1976 (when they signed the management agreement) and November 16, 1976 when EMI released “Anarchy in the UK.”

We acquired this unique document from music historian and author Johan Kugelberg.  His letter of authenticity reads in part “These notes were likely written by a journalist doing a story on the band, or someone writing a press release.  This document was written prior to November 1976 when, it notes, the band will be releasing a single on EMI.  I acquired this during research for my book (with Jon Savage) Punk: An Aesthetic (Rizzoli, 2012.)  The British memorabilia dealer who sold this to me that he’d gotten it from a deceased publicist involved with the Sex Pistols.”

We know of no other handwritten Sex Pistols lyrics to have been sold publicly.  With Johan Kugelberg’s letter of authenticity and Recordmecca’s lifetime guarantee of authenticity.

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