Kings Road was the trendiest street in London in the early ’70s and Sex was the coolest shop on it. Owned by Malcolm McLaren and stocked with clothes designed by then-girlfriend Vivienne Westwood, Sex sold S&M gear and tops that spelled out “P-E-R-V” and “R-O-C-K” in chicken bones. And in one corner sat this amazing jukebox.
“Sex: Too Fast to Live, Too Young to Die” is a selection of songs from that jukebox, and it’s a treasure chest of long-forgotten underground classics. It boasts stomping ’60s dance hall numbers (The Strangeloves, The Castaways), priceless comedy tracks (Clarence “Frogman” Henry’s “Ain’t Got No Home,”) garage-goth (Screaming Lord Sutch, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins), even a subversive C&W number (Loretta Lynn’s “The Pill”). My faves are The Flamin’ Groovies “Shake Some Action,” with its slow-burning guitar riffs, and Alice Cooper’s raw ballad “Eighteen.” Apparently Johnny Rotten got his job in the Sex Pistols when McLaren saw him in Sex and asked him to sing along to a song. I reckon it was track No. 5 — The Spaces’ “You’re Gonna Miss Me” — in which the sneering, arrogant vocal boasts of dumping a girl while guitars clang in the background.
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