B-side “No Fun”
Released 1 July 1977 (UK)
27 October 1977 (US)
The song reached No. 6 on the UK Singles Chart and marked the band’s first appearance on the British chart music TV programme Top of the Pops. The song gained attention for vocalist John Lydon’s phrasing of the word “va-cant“, emphasising the last syllable to sound like the vulgar word cunt.
According to bassist Glen Matlock, the song’s main riff was inspired by hearing “S.O.S.” by ABBA. The B-side of the single was a cover of The Stooges’ “No Fun”, which the band played on the spot without a proper rehearsal. It was taken from demo sessions recorded by producer Dave Goodman.
The band made a video of “Pretty Vacant” (as well as one for “God Save the Queen”) on 11 and 12 July, 1977 at the studios of ITN in Wells Street, London. They were thrown out after throwing cans of lager at the cameramen on the 11th, but came back on the 12th to finish the recording.