A NOTORIOUS long-lost track by punk pioneers the Sex Pistols is to finally be released after a tape was discovered after three and a half decades.
The recording of Belsen Was A Gas was thought to have been lost in the mists of time with only a live version and a later recording featuring Ronnie Biggs thought to exist.
But now a studio version in demo form has been unearthed, turning up in the vaults when the band’s archive moved to a new label.
It is set to appear on a remastered version of the band’s only studio album in a package which will also include footage from gigs of 1977 – including one in Huddersfield.
The Pistols played for the former Ivanhoes club in Manchester Road on Christmas Day 1977, after earlier hosting a party for local children.
In the evening more than 400 crammed into the club for the band’s gig, with Johnny Rotten mixing with many of the fans.
The discovery of the Belsen track will be celebrated by fans although the subject matter made it probably their most controversial song. Its lyric was about the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany, which contrary to the song’s title, did not house any gas chambers.
Frontman John Lydon – who in his Pistols days was known as Johnny Rotten – later admitted the song was in poor taste.
In an interview he said it was a “very nasty, silly little thing” which he claimed should have “ended up on the cutting room floor”.
The newly discovered version will feature in a deluxe reissue of the band’s only studio album, Never Mind The Bollocks, Here’s The Sex Pistols, which is to be released on September 24.
The demo of Belsen dates back to 1977, although the live recording and version featuring train robber Biggs appeared on the soundtrack to the movie The Great Rock’n’Roll Swindle.
It was found with master tapes of the album when the group’s back catalogue transferred from Virgin Records to Universal earlier this year.
The remastered box set version of the album will also feature demos which have previously only appeared on bootlegs, as well as single B-sides.
Live recordings from 1977 will be included as well as a 100-page diary with some unseen images.
An accompanying DVD features concert footage from the Silver Jubilee year, as well as a film of the group’s famous performance on a boat on the Thames and interviews.