Tuesday 21 January 2020

Johnny Rotten refused to allow American Idol show to use Sex Pistol’s hit Pretty Vacant

Anthony Barnes

PUNK veteran John Lydon has revealed he banned TV bosses from using one of the Sex Pistols' best known songs after they tried to feature it in hit show American Idol.

The star refused to allow a "marshmallow" version of the track Pretty Vacant, and he branded media mogul Simon Cowell "poisonous" and "evil".

Lydon - known in his punk days as Johnny Rotten - revealed just days ago that he had been asked to perform the same song at the Olympic opening ceremony but turned it down.

In an interview with music paper NME, he said: "We had a ridiculous situation with American Idol when they wanted to use Pretty Vacant for this contestant because he was the 'rock singer' - the long hair and the scraggly beard and the leather jacket.

"No, you cannot use it. Stop it. I don't need someone imitating in that way. You've got the genuine article. What on earth do you want a fake phoney version like that for? Is that how it's always going to be, according to Cowell's universe?"

He continued: "We have the genuine article but that's not as good as the fake version ten years later? It kills the volatility - all the great songs in the world make you shiver and you're going to cover it in marshmallow. Write your own songs, fella, and then I'll judge you."

The incident happened when Cowell was still a judge on American Idol. He has gone on to set up a rival, with the US version of The X Factor, for which he is a panellist.

Lydon was dismissive of "twisted" Cowell's impact on the music business.

"He's really bad news for music. He's hilarious to watch but he's poisonous really. He's very destructive and bitter and twisted and evil," said Lydon who is about to release his first album with his band Public Image Ltd for 20 years.

He recently tried to distance himself from a campaign to get the Sex Pistols song God Save The Queen to number one for Jubilee week in June. The track is being re-released by music company Universal to mark its 35th anniversary.

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