Entertainment Weekly (1/8/93, p.55) - "...Graded generously for changing the world..." - Rating: A
Mojo (Publisher) (p.114) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "[A]mong its 24 tracks are several brilliant, bozoish punk rock anthems that make a guilty pleasure of Sid Vicious, Steve Jones and Paul Cook's loutish, young offenders school swagger."
The Sex Pistols: Johnny Rotten (vocals); Steve Jones (guitar); Sid Vicious, Glen Matlock (bass); Paul Cook (drums).
Additional personnel: Malcolm McLaren, Ronnie Biggs, Tenpole Tudor (vocals).
Producers include: Matrixbest Productions, Paul Cook, Steve Jones.
Originally released in 1979 as the soundtrack to a documentary that marked the rocket rise and flaming crash of the Sex Pistols, THE GREAT ROCK & ROLL SWINDLE was really Pistols' manager Malcolm McLaren's cinematic (and vinyl) potshot at the music industry he despised. Engaged in vicious legal battles with Johnny Rotten, Warner Brothers Records and Virgin Records, McLaren fought back in the only way he knew how -- by raising hell and documenting the whole bloody mess.
By the time THE GREAT ROCK & ROLL SWINDLE was released, the punk-era soap opera had ended: Sid Vicious was dead and Rotten had formed Public Image Limited. Probably best known for Vicious' tortured deconstruction of "My Way," the 21-track compilation features seven tracks by the Pistols -- even though Rotten only appears in the film via archival footage-as well as songs by Tenpole Tudor, Ronnie Biggs and others. Curiosities abound, including a French version of "Anarchy in the U.K," drunken rugby songs, and the fey, McLaren- crooned "You Need Hands." Both ragged and riveting, THE GREAT ROCK & ROLL SWINDLE is a fascinating, screaming document of the tattered remains of one of the most explosive moments in rock history.