The long-awaited debut album from The Sex Pistols was finally released on 28th October 1977. ‘Never Mind The Bollocks – Here’s The Sex Pistols’ hit the record shop shelves amid a flurry of controversy over the seemingly offensive nature of the title. A record shop manager in Nottingham was eventually arrested under the then 88-year-old Indecent Advertisement Act for displaying the sleeve in his shop window. Record shops in High Wycombe were quick to react and make comment.
Harlequin Records in White Hart Street (on the site of the former Percy Prior’s shop), took the decision the remove the display from their window following the much-publicised case a couple of weeks after the long player was released. Having said that, the album was on full display inside the shop.
High Wycombe’s other major record shop at the time, Derek’s Records in Octagon Parade, didn’t have the album cover on display in the window but made no attempt to hide the cover inside the shop. Shop Manager Graham Hale was asked about the album in a Bucks Free Press article by Janice Raycroft. He said: “It’s not really a case of offending people. The record has been selling so quickly, there’s hasn’t been time to get a sleeve in the window.”
The Manager agreed to pose with the album cover for a photo for publication in the Bucks Free Press. He added: “After all, I’m broadminded and I can’t see that it would really offend other people either. It’s not the worse in common use and you can hear more on the television. It’s about time people stopped living in the past. A word can’t hurt them.”
Meanwhile, a local fan of punk rock had stuck a gigantic poster for the album on the wall of High Wycombe Guildhall. Initially the complete title was in full view before what was described as a ‘less broad-minded citizen’, ripped the top off the poster to remove the problematic word.
The Sex Pistols had famously played High Wycombe on two occasions on route to their route to notoriety – in February 1976 they caused havoc at a Screaming Lord Sutch gig at The College, while in September 1976, local promoter Ron Watts brought them to the Nag’s Head for a performance that pre-dated their rise to fame following the Bill Grundy incident in December 1976.
The YouTube video below is the wonderful Classic Album documentary for the iconic album.