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Biography of Sid Vicious

Sid Vicious was the bassist of the hugely successful punk rock band, Sex Pistols, and was known for his rebellious ways. Read on to know more about his life...
Parun Pereira
One of the most influential figures in the realms of punk rock, Simon John Ritchie, popularly known by his nickname Sid Vicious, was born on May 10, 1957. Known for his outrageous stage antics and hard-hitting bass notes, Sid influenced a sea of rockers, who devoted themselves to the genre of Punk.
His showmanship and diabolic intensity on stage captured the hearts of many. He was nicknamed 'Sid Vicious' by John Lydon, the eclectic vocalist and lyricist of the Sex Pistols.


Born in London to John and Anne Ritchie, Sid had a traumatic childhood. His father worked as a guard at Buckingham Palace and his mother was a strong believer of the hippie culture. Soon after Sid's birth, his father deserted his family. Sid, along with his mother, shifted to the island of Ibiza.
After his mother married Christopher Beverley in 1965, the family relocated to Kent, London. Six months after his stepfather passed away, he and his mother started living in a rented flat in Tunbridge Wells. He attended Sandown Court School and later attended Clevedon Secondary Modern in Somerset.

Early Years

Sid was influenced by the strains of music at an early age. He played a few musical instruments, and his musical journey began when he joined the band The Flowers of Romance in 1976. He donned the role of a vocalist and also played a bit of saxophone. He played drums with the band Siouxsie & the Banshees in their first gig, at the 100 Club Punk Festival, London.


Although Sid was never a bassist, he was hellbent on learning it and made repeated attempts to achieve that goal. He even asked Lemmy, the vocalist and bassist of Motorhead, to give him a few bass lessons. He was reported to be a very quick learner and supposedly learned to play bass in one night after listening to an album by The Ramones through the night.
Although his abilities on the bass were not admired by many in the music fraternity, he was adored by fans for his persistence and dedication.

Nancy Spungen

Sid started dating groupie Nancy Spungen, who was known for her heroin addiction, early on in his career. The two got into a relationship and their drug-induced trips reached new heights. On October 12, 1978, Vicious woke up to find Nancy dead in the bathroom of their room in the Chelsea Hotel in New York. She had bled to death due to a stab wound to her abdomen. Sid was arrested and charged with murder on November 22, 1978.
In his defense, he claimed that although he had stabbed her, he never intended to kill her. Later on he even went on to say that he wasn't even clear about the whole episode. His mother, who had encouraged his misuse of drugs, had to arrange for a bail of fifty thousand dollars to get him out. Ten days after the death of Spungen, Vicious slit his wrist and attempted suicide. He was hospitalized at Bellevue Hospital for three days.


To celebrate the bail that was granted to him, a small gathering was held at his new girlfriend Michele Robinson's place. There, Sid began his heroin trip and later the two fell asleep. The next morning, on February 2, 1979, he was found dead with some heroin residue and a syringe lying next to him. An autopsy confirmed that he had died of a lethal heroin overdose.
Although Sid's life was filled with turmoil, his acquaintances often described him as a calm and shy person. His performances with the Sex Pistols were memorable and are fondly remembered even today.