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'Something Else' by the Sex Pistols: Song of the Day for May10

Sid Vicious, of the Sex Pistols, was more famous for the way he lived and the way he died than for his music.

Vicious was born John Simon Ritchie on May 10, 1957 in London, England. Twenty-one years later, he died of a drug overdose in 1978 when he was 21, months after being charged with killing his girlfriend Nancy Spungen.

The name Sid Vicious fit him better than his birth name. But he wasn’t named for his violent streak. It came after a friend’s hamster named Sid, bit him on the finger. He yelled, “Sid is really vicious.”

He played bass for the Sex Pistols. They were the epitome of the punk movement, and Vicious was the maestro. The group broke up because of Vicious’ drug use and the band’s dislike of his girlfriend Spungen.

Nancy Spungen was as troubled as Vicious. She died from a knife wound to the stomach on October 12, 1978 in their hotel room.

At first, Vicious confessed but then recanted. Some theories say it was a suicide pact gone bad.

Defenders say Vicious couldn’t have killed her because he had taken up to 30 sleeping pills that night. Another theory was a bodyguard who supplied drugs killed Spungen when she found him stealing money.

It didn’t matter. IN 1978, Vicious was charged with the crime, but he overdosed two days after being released on bail and never faced trial.

Vicious never was a songwriter. Eddie Cochran recorded and co-wrote the Song of the Day, “Something Else” with his brother Bob and Sharon Sheeley, in 1959. Cochran’s version reached number 22 in England and 58 in the U.S. on the Billboard Hot 100.

Vicious’ version came out a few weeks after his death and reached number three in England.

Song of the Day is created by Sheldon Zoldan, and produced by Pam James for WGCU. To receive the Song of the Day in your inbox every day, email shzoldan@comcast.net with the subject line ADD ME TO SOTD.