Copy editors at newspapers spend a great deal of time and energy on writing headlines. And for good reason — headlines attract attention, and some live on decades after they are written. This is the third in a series of posts on memorable headlines.
THE HEADLINE: The Filth and The Fury!
THE NEWSPAPER: Daily Mirror
THE STORY: In December 1976, members of the punk rock band the Sex Pistols were interviewed on a British television show. They insulted the host, Bill Grundy, and used foul language, leading offended viewers to complain. (Watch it here or read a transcript.)
ITS SIGNIFICANCE: As one of punk’s pioneering bands, the Sex Pistols thrived on shock and outrage — and publicity. This story’s prominent play on the front page and its headline played directly into that plan. The Daily Mirror furthered the band’s outrageous image, which was cultivated by manager Malcolm McLaren.
“The Filth and the Fury” was later used as the title of a Sex Pistols documentary released in 2000. The Pistols used another newspaper headline, “Filthy Lucre,” as the name for their 1996 reunion tour. The cover of the inevitable live album from that tour consisted of a montage of newspaper headlines about the band — a fitting choice.