An eighteen-year-old John Simon Ritchie (aka ‘Sid Vicious’) taken at Hackney Technical College in 1975. The photo is featured in the 1980 book, ‘The Sid Vicious Family Album.’
In 1980, about a year after Sid Vicious OD’d on heroin, his mother Anne Beverley, herself a junkie, put together a 32-page book full of photos of her late son calling it The Sid Vicious Family Album.
I’m pretty sure most of you are aware that young Sidney’s story is about as tragic as they come. When he joined the Sex Pistols as their bass player (replacing actual musician Glen Matlock) he couldn’t even play the bass and had pretty much nothing to contribute to the band musically. Except for when it came to his image, which was powerful and intimidating—and not at all what he was really like. Once Sid crossed paths with Nancy Spungen, the two became inseparable shooting heroin and trashing hotel rooms until they were parted by death. By the time he was only twenty his odds for survival were insurmountably stacked against him. After Spungen’s murder Vicious tried unsuccessfully to take his own life. Then, after a seven-week stint in Rikers Island following a brawl at a club, Sid’s own mother provided her son with the heroin hotshot that killed him. So why am I giving you the “Sid Vicious 101” here? Let me clear that up.
Perhaps I’m getting a little soft, but when I saw these photos I found it very difficult to not feel an overwhelming sense of sadness while looking at them. Although it’s pretty far from the truth these pictures seem to suggest that Sid had a pretty nice, seemingly normal upbringing. There are photos of him as a baby playing on the grass surrounded by a picket fence. He vacationed in Ibiza as a child. For his school photograph when he was eleven, Sid wore a striped tie, and as his mother Anne would say, a smile that “seemed to light up the world.” In his teens he developed a crush on David Bowie and there is a photo of Sid wearing bellbottoms, a denim jacket and a red shirt with Bowie’s image on it. It’s hard to believe that this baby-faced teen with the Ziggy-esque mullet was the same, sneering, snotty Sid Vicious that would go on to perfect the art of stumbling around on the edge of chaos, without so much as a clue as to how he got there.
The book itself is quite rare, but copies of it do often appear for sale on auction sites such as eBay for $50-$75 bucks a pop depending on the condition. In addition to photos of Sid dating back to his birth in 1957, it also contains rare photos of the Sex Pistols, making it a pretty cool punk collectable.
A baby Sid with his mother Anne and father John Ritchie.
Baby Sid in the arms of his mother, Anne Beverley, 1957.
In the caption below the image of a four-year-old Sid playing with a tire in Ibiza, Spain, Anne muses that all of her friends “predicted” that the toddler would be either “nothing i.e., a total drop-out, or Prime Minister of England.”
John Simon Ritchie as a toddler in Ibiza, Spain.
A color photo of one of the three pictured above of Sid in a school photo when he was just eleven.
A sketch done by someone noted as “Charlie” of Sid while he was visiting his mother at her home in Dalston Flat, 1976. In the text below, Beverley wrote that she liked it because it seemed to capture Sid’s “intense honesty of character.”
Sid with his mother Anne.
Sid at sixteen on his way to see David Bowie.
A magazine clipping of Sid and his mother after his release. His mother had returned to using her maiden name of McDonald.
Footage of The Sex Pistols in an interview segment in 1977, as well as rehearsal footage of “No Feelings” from that same year. Though Sid wasn’t really much of a musician, he doesn’t actually sound half bad in this raw clip.
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
We have found the world’s worst Sid Vicious doll
Sid Vicious’ handwritten list of ‘What Makes Nancy So Great’