In 1986, one the most iconic punk rock bio pics ever was released – Sid and Nancy.
This (so-called morbid) bio pic about John Simon Richie – famously known as Sid Vicious, the bass player for the Sex Pistols – starred a fresh-faced British actor, Gary Oldman in the starring role. The movie revolves around Vicious’ tumultuous and drug infused relationship with his girlfriend Nancy Spungen, played by Chloe Webb.
Oldman portrayed Vicious too perfectly, and made viewers feel somewhat sympathetic with the almost childish, bumbling, lost, and gone-too-soon punk icon.
I must admit I am a bit biased writing this article; I am a huge Sex Pistols and Sid Vicious fan. I also have an undying love for the incredibly talented (and hugely underrated) character actor Gary Oldman. I’ve written about the Sid and Nancy controversy before and hold some very strong opinions about Vicious’ innocence. However, I do believe what I am about to delve into can be completely agreed upon by most.
The one iconic song, which is Sid Vicious’ legacy, is the song penned by Paul Anka as a cover of the French song Comme d’habitude, (As Usual), co-composed, co-written and performed in 1967 by Claude François. While Anka altered the lyrics and arrangement, it is still considered a cover. The result of this cover, made popular by the velvety voice of the one and only Frank Sinatra, went down in history as My Way, and became one of Sinatra’s most loved songs ever.
While there were many remakes of My Way over the years by greats such as Elvis Presley, none was quite like Vicious’ rendition. His version of My Way, was and still remains, the ultimate punk rock cover song – especially since Vicious forgot the actual lyrics and improvised with his own.
There is nothing more punk rock than improvising a classic song with vulgar lyrics.
Vicious’ version of My Way punk rocked its way up to #7 on the UK charts in 1978, and the (cut and edited for vulgarity) video made it into the 1980 punk film The Great Rock and Roll Swindle, written and directed by Julian Temple.
Sid Vicious will be remembered forever for this ultimate punk rock cover song.
This version has become a classic over the years, being used in movies such as Goodfellas, Juan of the Dead and in an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, as well as in an Acura commercial in 2015.
The only thing better than Vicious’ cover of Sinatra, is Oldman’s cover of Vicious’ version in Sid and Nancy.
In 1986, Oldman sang and performed the role of Sid Vicious – and completely nailed his rendition of Vicious’ My Way. Temple made sure to almost completely remake Vicious’ video version of this song, but added Vicious shooting Spungen at the end of it, adding a bit of foreshadowing to the tragic ending of this bio pic.
Gary Oldman covering Sid Vicious covering Frank Sinatra covering Claude François – the all-time best cover of a cover of a cover song ever! But don’t take my word for it, watch and decide for yourself.