Anarchy in the Year Zero:
The Sex Pistols, The Clash & The Class of ’76
By Clinton Heylin
Route is delighted to announce the acquisition of Clinton Heylin’s explosive new Punk chronicle: Anarchy in the Year Zero: Sex Pistols, The Clash and the Class of ’76, to be published on the 40th anniversary of one of the most significant gigs in British popular music history, when The Sex Pistols played the Lesser Free Trade Hall in Manchester. This is an account of a movement that not only changed the face of British music, but had a profound and lasting effect on the course of British culture as a whole.
Route editor Ian Daley said of the acquisition, ‘It’s an honour to work with Clinton Heylin, a writer I’ve long admired. His distinctive approach of using multiple eye-witness accounts of all the key players in the story, skilfully combines the objective rigour of a biography with the personal immediacy of a memoir. The result is that the reader feels as though they are there, on the inside, as the drama of this truly transformative year for British culture unfolds before us. It’s a great addition to our growing list of music titles and dovetails perfectly with our previous title The Big Midweek: Life Inside The Fall.’
Clinton Heylin is renowned music biographer and cultural historian with over 20 books to his name including From the Velvets to the Voidoids (the definitive history of American punk), over a dozen music biographies plus books on Orson Welles and Shakespeare’s sonnets. He is recognised all over the world as a leading authority on Bob Dylan.
Anarchy in the Year Zero is the story of the birth of Punk, with a capital P, in the only country where it was a mainstream movement: the UK; told entirely by eye-witnesses (Heylin included) whose words, then and now, have been held up to the light of history’s hindsight.
This is also the story of the rebirth of Rock, by a bunch of bands who set out to deconstruct and destroy the form, on the island that largely invented it and reinvented it at least twice in the fifteen years before Punk.
And it is the story of the ex-Catholic, semi-Irish, snot-nosed, working-class Cockney oik who dealt the final, fatal blow to England’s dreams of empire when he became a Rotten revolutionary.
But most of all it is the story of a handful of British youths who were inspired to raise their voice in song, and allow it to echo around the world.
It is a story that, till now, has only been told piecemeal: of one band blazing a trail gig by gig, convert by convert, to the pre-set agenda – not always adhered to – of a fetish shop owner until, within a single year, the whole island rocked to the sound of ANARCHEEE.
How did this happen
and why does it still matter?