Iconic influential footage of Sex Pistols show sells for £15,000 at auction

Footage of the show in Manchester that influenced many beloved bands and kickstarted the area’s music scene in the ‘70s has sold at auction for a hefty price.

Iconic influential footage of Sex Pistols show sells for £15,000 at auction

In 1976, the Sex Pistols played two shows at Manchester’s Lesser Free Trade Hall, shows that would not only initiate the musical boom of the north of England, but also influenced many iconic bands of the future.

Members of future bands like The Buzzcocks, The Smiths, The Fall, and New Order, as well as Anthony Wilson (founder of the now renowned label Factory Records) all attended the performances, and were inspired heavily.

About 40 people were at the iconic first show on 4 June 1976, including Peter Hook and Bernard Sumner, who would go on to create Joy Division and New Order. Ian Curtis, vocalist of Joy Division, also attended the 20 July gig. Steven Morrissey was there too, at the young age of 17. He would then form The Smiths, before embarking on a long solo career.

Omega Auctions sold the video, shot by music fanatic Mark Foster’s Super 8mm Films. A spokesperson said it was the "only known footage of the gigs", so the "historic nature" of them was "indisputable". Auctioneer Paul Fairweather said the shows were “so important”, and that the shows were "huge for bands that spawned off the back of them, It was the birth of punk."

The show was put on by The Buzzcocks members Pete Shelley and Howard DeVoto, after seeing the band play in London. Morrissey wrote about the gig for NME, saying the band showcased “discordant music and barely audible audacious lyrics”, he did enjoy attending though, apparently.

Those in attendance birthed the start of UK’s post-punk and indie scenes, after witnessing the Sex Pistols perform. The band proved back then that anyone with passion, emotion, and a guitar could start a band and play music, without releasing any recorded music prior – even though the band were found to be manufactured by Malcolm McLaren years later. Steve Diggle of The Buzzcocks once said: "That was the day the punk rock atom was split, that's where it exploded from, it changed Manchester and it changed the world."

Header Image Credit: "Sex Pistols Experience" by Man Alive! is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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Ash Edmonds

Ash Edmonds Kickstart

A graduate of Music Journalism from BIMM Brighton – where he now lives – Ash has been writing about everything creative for the past few years. An avid audiophile, he spends a lot of his time searching streaming platforms, record stores and live shows trying to find his next musical obsession.

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