"Pretty Vacant" is a song by the English punk rock band the Sex Pistols. It was released on 1 July 1977 as the band's third single and was later featured on their only album, Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols, released that same year. The song reached number 6 on the UK Singles Chart and marked the band's (then) only appearance on the British music showTop of the Pops, until 1996 when the original line-up performed the song (after the live version was released that year) as well as "New York" on the same showing. The song is infamous for vocalist John Lydon's phrasing of the word "vacant", emphasising the last syllable making it sound like the vulgar word "cunt".[1][2] According to Glen Matlock, the song's main riff was inspired by "S.O.S." by ABBA after he heard it on the radio. The B-side is a cover of The Stooges' "No Fun", which the band played on the spot without a proper rehearsal. It was taken from demo sessions recorded by producer Dave Goodman.

The band made a video of "Pretty Vacant" (as well as one for "God Save the Queen") on 11 & 12 July 1977 at the studios of ITN in Wells Street, London. They were thrown out after throwing cans of lager at the cameramen on the 11th but came back on the 12th to finish the recording.

NME magazine made it their Single of the Year in 1977.[3] In March 2005, Q magazine placed the song at number 26 in its list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Tracks.

The album was reissued as a 2-CD set in 1992. A live version of the track from Filthy Lucre Live was released as a single in 1996, and a 7" picture disc was released in 2012.

Covers and samples[edit]Edit

"Pretty Vacant" was covered by Paul Jones in 1978.[4] Joan Jett released a cover version on single, and Joey Ramone used the lead riff in his cover of "What a Wonderful World".

The song was used in the 1981 film American Pop. An Irish language version of the song, entitled "Folamh go Deas" (a literal translation), was also performed by Irish band Na Magairlí in 1981. In 1996 Black Grape released cover version (very similar to an original) on their single "Fat Neck". South African pop group Shikisha alwso released a cover version of the song in 1996.[5]

The group The Ukrainians perform a Ukrainian language version of this song on their EP Anarchy In The UK and album Respublika. The French band Les Négresses Vertes as well as grime MC Lady Sovereign have both covered "Pretty Vacant" and performed live versions of the song. Lady Sovereign's version is featured in the popular TV show, The O.C. and the cover version is featured on one of the six The O.C. soundtracks called Music from The O.C.: Mix 6 – Covering Our Tracks.

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