Soundtrack Of My Life: Sex Pistols’ Glen Matlock

Punk pioneer and lover of 'The Muppets'

The first song I remember hearing

The Big Bopper – ‘Purple People Eater Meets The Witch Doctor’

“When I was about four or five my uncle gave me his old [records]. He’d been a bit of a teddy boy, so it was Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Earl Bostic, but the one I really liked was by The Big Bopper. It’s got sped-up verses and The Big Bopper in his deep voice is going: ‘There were one, there were two, there were three purple people eaters…’ Even though they were silly songs it kinda rocked somehow. With those old 78-inch records, you’d put them on, big heavy bits of shellac, really thick plastic which shattered if you didn’t treat them right. It was a bit like lighting a firework. You’d put it on and go and stand over the other side of the room in case it flew off and took your head off. There was an element of danger to my musical tastes even back then.”

The first song I fell in love with


The Kinks – ‘You Really Got Me’

“I remember buying it out of my own pocket money from a washing machine shop in Harlesden, northwest London. There wasn’t a record shop but you used to be able to go and buy the ‘Top Twenty’, they had little pegboard cubicles with the numbers of the chart positions in; meanwhile the mums and dads were queueing up to pay for the rental of their TV or radio that week. Times were different back then.”

The first album I owned

The Beatles – ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’

“I got it for Christmas when it came out and I found it the other day when I was finally trying to sort out my LPs. I hadn’t played it for donkey’s years, but it’s still got the cardboard cut-outs that came with it: you got a cut-out moustache you put on like Sgt Pepper, but I never cut them out because when I was about ten, even back then a ten-year-old kid with a dark brown moustache would’ve looked a bit daft. It’s something I’ll never get rid of, it’s a family heirloom.”

The first gig I went to


Pentangle at the Royal Albert Hall, 1968

“I got free tickets out the back of Melody Maker [magazine] and went with my girlfriend from school when we were about 15. They were fantastic, the very crème de la crème of British prog rock, which I didn’t really know about, but I’m glad I saw them. It was a proper put-on show, the standard of musicianship was fantastic.”

The song that reminds me of home

The Kinks – ‘Waterloo Sunset’

“It’s a song about London and the cherry on the cake of Ray Davies’ fantastic songwriting prowess. Where I live, every now and then I see Terence Stamp walking down the street, who’s supposedly the Terry in the “Terry and Julie…” lyrics, loosely. I was on the Bakerloo Line getting on a train once and there was Terence Stamp, but he looked like a hippy with shorts and Jesus sandals on. He sat down near me and nobody said anything. When he got off early, [another commuter] asked me, ‘Who was that?!’ and I said, ‘You don’t know who that is? That’s Superman’s dad!’”

The song I wish I’d written

David Bowie – ‘Heroes’

“It’s just majestic. It’s got a lot of hope in the lyrics and the playing on it is fantastic. It’s kind of that medium-paced song I try to delight in, a bit like ‘Anarchy…’. People always said Pistols stuff is really fast but it’s not, it’s just right. It’s a bit like a cup of tea and a haircut, y’know, ‘How would you like it, sir?’ Just right.”

The song I do at karaoke

Emile Ford & The Checkmates – ‘What Do You Want To Make Those Eyes At Me For’

“I’m a bit of an old rock ’n’ roller. In lockdown, I went out cycling and at the bottom of Kensington Church Street, opposite the church where they sell flowers there’s a blue plaque on the wall and it’s [dedicated] to Emile Ford. It said he was the first British Afro-Caribbean guy to have a hit record in this country. I didn’t know that, so he went up a bit further in my estimation.”

The song I can’t get out of my head

The Snowths – ‘Mah Na Mah Na’ (from The Muppet Show)

“It’s one of those things you start singing in the pub and everybody joins in and it drives everybody mad. About a week later you’re sitting having a coffee and one of your mates comes in and goes “Mah na mah na” and you’re off again. I think it’s an Italian thing – I go to Italy quite a lot and there’s a whole slew of really wacky ‘60s rock ’n’ roll music that they call ‘yeah yeah music’.”

The song that makes me want to dance

Chubby Checker – ‘Let’s Twist Again’

“I’m not shy of having a dance, I think you’ve got to seize the moment. Gone are the days when you’d be propping up the bar going ‘mnnnn’. I like to join in, but only for five minutes.”

The song I want played at my funeral

Lee Marvin – ‘I Was Born Under A Wand’rin’ Star’

“I was lucky enough to go to Joe Strummer’s funeral and as we were filing out afterwards it was ‘I Was Born Under A Wand’rin’ Star’. That was a pretty good choice and maybe I might ape him on that. It applies to any kind of musician, especially at the moment. We’ve been pretty stuck for a long while and I hanker for getting on a plane and going somewhere a bit more exotic than what we’re used to.”

‘The Live Revival’, featuring Glen Matlock, airs on Sky Arts at 9pm on June 3

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