Maybe Sid was just Punk’s James Dean. In the same way that Brian Jones or Jimi Hendrix had been for the generation before. His death from a heroin overdose in the early morning of 2nd February 1979 sealed the deal, from here on in Sid would be forever young, and his legacy as Punk’s wayward son gone too soon, was guaranteed forever. Ultimately, it was Sid’s willingness to embrace life, it’s peaks and pitfalls so wholeheartedly, that perhaps led him to this untimely death. Well that, and his mother.
Anne Beverley was there to meet her son after his release from Riker’s Island Detention Centre the day before on February 1st 1979, and to celebrate had arranged a party at the Greenwich Village home of actress Michelle Robinson. At around midnight Sid’s friend Peter Gravelle arrived with heroin, the first hit of which almost killed the now drug free Sid, but he revived and as the party came to an end the remaining heroin was left with his mother Anne. Later that night, when Sid asked for more, it was allegedly Anne who helped him to prepare and inject the fatal dose. The following day the news of his grim and possibly self-inflicted end, was all over the front pages of the tabloid press.
With Punks figureheads, the Sex Pistols no more, and Sid dead, it seemed to some, especially those of our parents generation and above, that Punk itself was now over. This audible sigh of relief from Middle England as they read the news the following day, was heard from the small town corner shops and sub Post Offices of suburbia, to the offices in the City. It was as if the uninvited, badly behaved guest had now left, and once the Hoovering was done, the air freshener put around and the cushions plumped up again, somehow everything would all be back to normal. But despite the eye-rolling and the “I told you so”, nothing was ever going back to normal again, not now. Punk had become like the mythical ancient Greek sea serpent known as the Hydra, for every head that was cut off another two would grow in it’s place. The old normal was no longer possible, there were too many of us, with too many ideas and too much energy, and from here on in, now was the new normal.
Sid was 21.