I Swear I Was There: The Gig That Changed the World
Author David Nolan
First published 2001 Milo Books 29 May 2001
Republished 2006 Independent Music Press
Paperback 208 pages
On June 4, 1976, four young men took the stage of a tiny upstairs hall in Manchester for a gig that, quite literally, changed the world. In front of a handful of people they played one of the most important live sets of all time. Alongside Woodstock and Live Aid, the Sex Pistols performance at the Lesser Free Trade Hall has been named by critics as one of the most pivotal performances in music history … not necessarily because of the quality of the music - but because of the effect the music had on the audience.
The crowd were mesmerized by the power and possibilities of punk - and it inspired them to create their own music that would shape the sound of rock music for decades to come. Members of Joy Division and New Order, the Smiths, the Fall and Buzzcocks were there that night as well as Tony Wilson, a key player in the story of Factory records, the Hacienda, Madchester and beyond. This was truly a gig that changed the world.
The truth behind that gig - plus the Pistols repeat performance six weeks later and their first ever TV appearance - has been shrouded in mystery for thirty years. Until now, everyone's been happy to print the legend. For the first time, here's the truth. Featuring previously unpublished photos, interviews with key players and audience members, I Swear I Was There brings pop culture to life thirty years after the Summer of Punk.