When Sex Pistols’ Johnny Rotten Called Megadeth’s Cover ‘Pure Filth’ and David Ellefson Responded

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Yeah, we all know that Dave Mustaine can be an opinionated loudmouth. 

Do you know who is even more of an opinionated loudmouth, though? John Lydon (aka Johnny Rotten) of the Sex Pistols. Lydon’s got a hell of a reputation for trashing everything and everyone all of the time, be it those in the music industry or any politician (or political supporter) alive or dead. The fact is, it would be downright out of character if he liked Megadeth’s cover of the Sex Pistols’ classic, “Anarchy in the UK.” Spoiler alert: He doesn’t.

In 1988, Lydon called the cover “pure filth” on an episode of the television show Video View. He went on to say of Sex Pistols guitarist Steve Jones’ appearance on the track “it’s a disappointment, actually, because I don’t like the guitar on it. They got all the wrong notes! My God, if Steve doesn’t know his own songs then who does?”

Elsewhere, Lydon has complained about the way Dave and the boys treated his lyrics. Megadeth’s David Ellefson had this to say:

“We just took it off the record as it sounded, so we kind of befuddled the lyrics a little bit as they sounded cool to us so that’s what Dave sang.

“And then I remember reading an interview with Johnny Rotten and he was, ‘Yeah, it was a bunch of rubbish…’ And he totally just dismissed the track, which is like a knife to the heart. You want your heroes to go, ‘Yeah, right on, big enough!’ So it’s funny, ‘Anarchy,’ I think we’re probably a little hesitant to play it sometimes in the U.K. for that very reason. If we realize that as cool as it was over here in America, it maybe didn’t have the same impact over there in the U.K.”

In case you were wondering what Mustaine did to “befuddle” the lyrics, he changed “another council tenancy” to “and other cunt-like tendencies.” 

In 2004, Megadeth sought permission to print “Anarchy in the UK” lyrics for their anthology compilation, a request Lydon denied. “They got them wrong the first time round so there’s no reason to believe they’ll get them right this time,” said Lydon.

Can’t say I blame the guy for being mad.

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