When looking at the darkness that crept into Rock culture in the 70s and 80s, it's important to remember the darkness in the culture that was driving it.
And it didn't get much darker than Jimmy Savile and the Moors Murders, which couldn't help but have an affect on the collective consciousness at large.
Unlike many First-Wave punk poseurs, Johnny Rotten actually was a product of the working class. Born to Irish immigrant parents and raised in a dumpy flat on the wrong side of London - but possessing a keen intellect and a biting wit - Lydon's rage against the pampered classes was no pose.And so it was that Johnny was too stroppy and insolent to pretend that national hero Jimmy Savile wasn't a particular kind of evil.Savile's predilections were hiding in plain sight the whole time, it's just that no one wanted to notice how much attention he paid to little girls on his various television programs. England needed an Irish wise-ass with absolutely no fucks to give to point out that not only did the Emperor have no clothes, he was also diddling very young children all over the British Isles.It's mind-boggling in hindsight, given how extravagantly psychotic and demonstrably lecherous Savile always was, but media conditioning is a very powerful thing.
Read the rest on the Secret History of Rock 'n Roll blog.
Comment there or in The Den.