Steve Jones didn’t know what ‘anarchy’ meant when Anarchy In The UK Came Out: “I was pretty illiterate back then”

“I’m not proud of it, but that’s just the way it was. And I never listened to lyrics,” the Sex Pistols guitarist said.

Steve Jones on Guitar Sex Pistols

Image: The Photo Access / Alamy

When you purchase through affiliate links on Guitar.com, you may contribute to our site through commissions. Learn more

Sex Pistols guitarist Steve Jones recently admitted to being “pretty illiterate” in his younger days, admitting that he didn’t actually know what ‘anarchy’ meant when the band released their classic 1976 single Anarchy in the UK.

Appearing on the Rolling Stone Music Now podcast, Jones confessed: “I was pretty illiterate back then. I’m not proud of it, but that’s just the way it was. And I never listened to lyrics.”

Though he wasn’t familiar with the terms used, the guitarist said he was still aware of what fellow member and lyricist John Lydon (aka Johnny Rotten) was trying to convey with the song Anarchy in the UK.

“I mean, I knew he’s on about something,” Jones said. “But to me, it was all just great. Whatever it is. The music was what I used to get drawn to. With any bands. Even if it was pop songs. It was the catchiness that drew me in or the chorus. I really didn’t listen to, like, if I were to listen to Bob Dylan songs, I wouldn’t have a clue what he was singing about. It was too intelligent for me.”

Apart from Jones, Lydon, too, surprised fans recently when he publicly renounced anarchy, calling it a “terrible idea.”

In a recent essay published in The Times, Lydon criticised the ideology, saying “Anarchy is a terrible idea. Let’s get that clear. I’m not an anarchist. And I’m amazed that there are websites out there — .org anarchist sites — funded fully by the corporate hand and yet ranting on about being outside the shitstorm. It’s preposterous. And they’re doing it in designer Dr. Martens, clever little rucksacks and nicely manufactured balaclavas.”

In other news, Sex Pistols’ anti-monarchy anthem God Save the Queen recently claimed the Number One position in the official UK singles charts exactly 45 years after it was denied the top spot. The notorious hit — which was once banned from radio and television airplay — was reissued for Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee, to the delight of fans.

Related Tags


The world’s leading authority and resource for all things guitar.

© 2024 Guitar.com is part of NME Networks.