Inside Sex Pistols’ Sid Vicious’ wild life – drugs, animal abuse and assault

Born Simon John Ritchie, Sid Vicious was as the bassist of the legendary punk band the Sex Pistols and was known for his outlandish behaviour.

His life was the epitome of a sex, drugs and rock and roll and he died incredibly young as a result, at only 21.

His relationship with Nancy Spungen was famous, spurning many stories, songs and even a film in 2006 called Sid and Nancy, and culminated in both of their deaths.

Today on what was his birthday, we take a look inside his wild and erratic life.

Mum gave him heroin

Sid’s mother was heavily involved with drug, so it is little surprise that Sid ended up an addict himself.

Anne Beverly often used a young Sid as a mule for hashish during his childhood in Spain, routinely stuffing drugs in his toddler clothing to smuggle them back to England.

John Lyndon who is better known as Johnny Rotten the lead singer of the Sex Pistols, used to hang out at Sid’s home and drink beers and listen to music together.

One night on Sid’s birthday his mum came home and gave him a baggie of heroin and several syringes and Johnny recalled she said “Happy Birthday Sidney” upon giving her son the drugs, The Independent reported.

While Johnny was horrified, Sid reassured him he mum meant well and knew that heroin helped him relax, showing how Sid got hooked on drugs from a young age.

Drug use

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After that Sid Vicious was famous for his prolific drug use in his life, after beginning as a child.

Dee Dee Ramone of the fellow punk band The Ramones recalled that he and Sid once went to a party where they were given speed.

They went to a bathroom to search for water to inject the drug but found it was covered in vomit from fellow partygoers.

Sid was reportedly unfazed and stuck syringe into a toilet full of vomit and drew water from it, before he injected himself with the mix of the drug and someone else’s vomit, showing a total dependency on the drug.

Named after a hamster

Despite being a famous punk rocker who lived up to his name, Sid Vicious was actually named after a hamster.

Back when he was Simon Ritchie he was visiting Johnny Rotten, when Johnny’s hamster Sid bit him hard.

Johnny exclaimed “Sid is really vicious!” and after that began using the nickname Sid Vicious for Simon and the name stuck.

Murdered a cat

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In one of the more awful chapters of Sid Vicious’ life, he is rumoured to have tortured and killed a cat in front of his friends.

One friend Mark Helfond witnessed the horrifying act saying in later years he wished he could go back and stop the incident.

Mark witnessed Sid wrapping a belt around that poor cat’s neck and slowly suffocating it to death in a brutal act of animal abuse.

The father of Johnny Rotten, also witnessed some of these incidents and claims they were due to Sid’s insatiable need for attention.

He said: “If he was sitting here and no one was taking any notice of him, he’d cut his hand or something to attract attention. You’d have to take your mind off everything else and look at him.”

Assaulted a journalist

Sid did not reserve his viciousness for animals, showing himself to be capable of hurting other people as well.

During the Sex Pistols’s North American tour in Nashville, Sid brutally assaulted reporter and former Sex Pistol Nick Kent over the head with a bicycle chain.

Nick was a reporter for the New Musical Express and had a tendency to bad mouth Johnny Rotten and the band in the press.

The story goes that Nick tapped Sid on the shoulder at a club and asked him to move over to see better.

Sid is said to have responded by saying he didn’t like Nick’s trousers before grabbing a bicycle chain out of his pocket and hitting Nick over the head three times splattering blood all over the wall.

Cost the Sex Pistols a recording contract

Record labels were reportedly aware of Sid’s reckless nature and reluctant to sign the band as a result.

The Sex Pistols were dropped from EMI, their label in 1977 after breaking out into a massive brawl at Heathrow airpot, yelling at airport staff and spitting on each other.

Luckily for them another label, A&M decided to take a chance on them and signed them, even throwing a party to celebrate afterwards at their offices.

Unluckily for them Sid became intoxicated and vandalised the director of A&M’s office and vomited all over his desk, leading to A&M dropping them from their label only six days after signing them.

Sid and Nancy

Almost as famous as Sid’s music career is his relationship with Nancy Spungen.

Sid and Nancy had a reportedly extremely unhealthy codependent relationship, with Nancy frequently being verbally abusive and Sid responding with physical violence.

However they were also deeply in love, with Sid penning a loving tribute to her in 1978 where he wrote a list of the things he loved about her in a numbered list, where he praised her beauty, figure, sense of humour, wit, eyes and fashion sense among others.

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But October 12 1978 Sid woke to find Nancy dead of a single stab wound to the abdomen.

After calling the reception to report her death Sid was found wandering the halls of the hotel crying and saying “I killed her… I can’t live without her… She must have fallen on the knife.”

He was arrested and charged with her murder but plead not guilty and he died before the case could be closed.

The theories surrounding what happened to Nancy range from a suicide pact to being murdered by one of the many drug dealers who frequented the hotel, but her death has never been solved.


Sid’s mother while also responsible for her son being hooked on drugs, may have also been responsible for his death.

When Sid was bailed out of prison at Rikers Island his mum Anne, threw him a freedom party.

Though Sid was on a detoxification methadone programme from prison he called his friend Peter Gravelle to bring him heroin, that was reportedly 98% pure, an incredibly lethal purity for anyone.

Vicious died sometime in the night from an overdose and was discovered by his mum early the next morning at the age of 21.

The manager of the Sex Pistols Malcolm McLaren, claims that Anne gave Sid the heroin herself, to save him from doing time in prison because she knew he’d hate it.

After his death, Anne claimed that her son had been completing his part of a suicide pact he had shared with Spungen saying that she had found a note in his leather jacket reading: “We had a death pact, and I have to keep my half of the bargain.

“Please bury me next to my baby. Bury me in my leather jacket, jeans and motorcycle boots. Goodbye.”

  • Drugs

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