Johnny Rotten’s Cordial Letter to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: Next to the Sex Pistols, You’re ‘a Piss Stain’

johnny rotten hall of fame

The Sex Pis­tols cer­tain­ly weren’t the first to balk at show­ing up to receive a tro­phy at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induc­tion cer­e­mo­ny. They were, how­ev­er, notable for the style in which they declined to attend. When word came in ear­ly 2006 that the Pis­tols would be induct­ed, the band’s singer John Lydon, whose stage name was “John­ny Rot­ten,” faxed the Hall of Fame a hand­writ­ten note. “Next to the SEX-PISTOLS rock and roll and that hall of fame is a piss stain,” wrote Lydon. “Your muse­um. Urine in wine. Were not com­ing. Were not your mon­key and so what?” You can read the rest above, or watch below as a bemused Jann Wen­ner, co-founder of the muse­um, reads the let­ter out loud dur­ing the cer­e­mo­ny.

via Let­ters of Note

Relat­ed Con­tent: 

The His­to­ry of Punk Rock: A Doc­u­men­tary

The Art of Punk, MOCA’s Series of Punk Doc­u­men­taries, Begins with Black Flag

Mal­colm McLaren on The Quest for Authen­tic Cre­ativ­i­ty

Punk Meets High Fash­ion in Met­ro­pol­i­tan Muse­um of Art Exhi­bi­tion PUNK: Chaos to Cou­ture

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Comments (17)
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  • Hanoch says:

    Good boy, John­ny. Now its time to prac­tice our “ABCs”.

  • jan ostrom says:

    John­ny, let’s see, uh, is he still alive?

  • Fred says:

    Thanks JR for not sell­ing out.

  • Dylan says:

    While they did­n’t refuse the induc­tion, one of the mem­bers of Rush (sor­ry, nev­er been a fan of the band, though always respect­ed their musi­cian­ship) gave the best accep­tance speech in his­to­ry, com­ment­ing on the absur­di­ty of the enter­prise in what was essen­tial­ly — well, an absur­dist per­for­mance piece:

    Start it at 4:20 for fun.

  • donkeypant says:

    Kudos to him. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is a joke. No rhyme or rea­son. Arbi­trary non­sense. I don’t know why any­one feeds into it.

  • Mike says:

    I think Jan was plas­tered

  • nicos says:

    he’s a punk rock­er to the end. I do find some of the induc­tions ridicu­lous but hey who am i to say. i’m just a guy who lis­tens to rock is all

  • kortnyluv says:

    John­ny Rot­ten, you would have made Sid Vicious (and Nan­cy Spungeon(sp?)) VERY proud. Thank you.
    Much Love, kl

  • danny says:

    Hard­ly a sur­prise. I don’t think it’s the mid­dle fin­ger some per­ceive it as since it was a pre­dictable response. And who cares? They made one glo­ri­ous rau­cous years ago, have had sev­er­al skep­ti­cal reunions to cash in, and keep act­ing like 20 some­things they are not. Bit sad real­ly as the joke isn’t fun­ny any­more. But they got it right once which is more than most bands.

  • Anonymoose says:

    Well played, Mr. rot­ten. Well fuck­ing played.

  • Ramzo says:

    Johh­ny was not play­ing some game here, what he wrote in let­ter is what he tru­ly is — at home, on street, in movie, on con­cert — he is always same man, so I respect him !

  • Agapee says:

    When I first heard they were going to have a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, I thought it was a joke, and fig­ured, no self respect­ing rock an roller would ever go. And now voila! it’s like the Oscars. We now live in a Cor­po­rate world where every­thing is swal­lowed up by the cor­po­ra­tions, music, sports, health, reli­gion, art, food, fash­ion, drugs, the list goes on and on. Bra­vo John­ny, and to all the free spir­its on this plan­et, that see past the non­sense of “left” and “right” and keep spread­ing the love, soul and pas­sion.

  • lois Weiss says:

    would like to have Blue Mag­ic entered into the Hall of Fame for their known hits & tal­ents & for the great lead singer Ted mills

  • Steve says:

    Amer­i­ca nev­er real­ly got it , but John did,think free and you may just have an incline into what real­ly counts ‚peace

  • Nora Rizkalla says:

    It’s appro­pri­ate for the R ‘n’ R Hall to induct the Pis­tols, but, they should’ve bin ready for JR’s response.
    I, too, think they’re a piss stain. There’s noth­ing like see­ing a hyp­o­crit­i­cal snob like JW read a let­ter from an actu­al rock­star telling him to go get fkd. Beau­ti­ful.

  • Tony McCluskey says:

    I love jon­ny rot­tens per­for­mances too but you do real­ize that he is play­ing a char­ac­ter and that the real john lydon is noth­ing like this? he is the gor­don ram­say ofthe music industry…this is a per­sona he wheels out for the press and public…a very clever bloke that made good use of what tal­ent he had…but make no mis­take, its still an act

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