Nancy Spungen: Wikis


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Nancy Spungen
Born February 27, 1958(1958-02-27)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Died October 12, 1978 (aged 20)
New York City, New York, U.S.

Nancy Laura Spungen (February 27, 1958 – October 12, 1978) was the American girlfriend of Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious. Spungen has been the subject of controversy among music historians and fans of the Sex Pistols.


Early life

Spungen was born at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,[1] to Frank and Deborah Spungen. She was born with severe cyanosis, and nearly died of brain damage after being choked by her umbilical cord during delivery. The doctors successfully secured a blood transfusion which healed her brain damage, and she was released from the hospital eight days after birth. [1] The Spungen family was a middle class Jewish family who resided in Lower Moreland Township, a suburb of Philadelphia. Her father was a traveling salesman, and her mother owned an organic food store called The Earth Shop in nearby Jenkintown, Pennsylvania.

Nancy was a difficult baby, displaying crying fits and temper tantrums late into childhood. At three months old, she was administered a liquid barbiturate by a pediatrician, however her violent behavior persisted.[1] In an interview, Deborah Spungen stated, "I know it's normal for babies to scream, but Nancy did nothing but scream."

Nancy scored "superior" on an intelligence quotient test at five years of age,[1] and was allowed to skip the third grade. Though she excelled academically, Nancy had few friends during her elementary school years.[1]

Nancy was a temperamental child who exhibited violent behavior toward her younger sister, Susan, and brother, David. She allegedly threatened to kill a babysitter with scissors, and attempted to physically assault her psychiatrist whom accused her of "acting out" for attention.[1] At age eleven, she was expelled from public schooling when she was absent from class more than two weeks.[1] Her parents, weary of her erratic behavior, enrolled her at The Devereux Glenholme School and Devereux Manor High School. In January 1972, at age thirteen, Nancy ran away from Devereux Manor and attempted suicide by slitting her wrists with scissors. A friend, Phillipe, intervened in the attempt as Nancy had contacted her via telephone to say goodbye.[1]

Nancy graduated at Devereux Manor High School in April 1974, and her application to attend the University of Colorado at Boulder was accepted two weeks earlier. However, five months into her freshman year, she was arrested for purchasing marijuana from an undercover police officer. She was expelled from UCB, and permanently banished from the state of Colorado.[1]

Relationship with Sid Vicious

Spungen left home at age 17 and moved to New York City. She followed bands such as Aerosmith, The New York Dolls and The Ramones. She was also reportedly a friend of Debbie Harry, although Harry did not attend her funeral[citation needed]. In 1977, at the age of 19, she moved to London, allegedly to win over Jerry Nolan of the New York Dolls and The Heartbreakers, but met The Sex Pistols instead. When lead singer Johnny Rotten rejected her, she pursued bassist Sid Vicious and they soon moved in together.

During a tumultuous 23-month relationship, Spungen and Vicious became addicted to heroin and other drugs. Vicious was already an abuser of multiple drugs before he met Spungen, but many sources claim she introduced him to heroin; other sources claim that he had begun to use speed with his mother at an early age and then got into heroin after meeting Spungen.

The tabloids dubbed Spungen "Nauseating Nancy" for reported frequent and public displays of verbal abuse and violence. After the Sex Pistols broke up in 1978, Spungen and Vicious moved to the famous Hotel Chelsea in New York City. There, Vicious tried, with limited success, to continue his musical career.


Over the next few months, Vicious and Spungen spiraled into deeper drug abuse, punctuated by reports of domestic violence. The end of their relationship came on October 12, 1978, when Spungen was found sprawled on the bathroom floor of their hotel room, clad in black lingerie. She bled to death from a single stab wound to the abdomen, later traced to a knife owned by Vicious. This was reportedly a "007" hunting knife he had obtained after seeing Dee Dee Ramone give one to The Dead Boys' Stiv Bators, although conflicting reports claim the knife to be a Jaguar K-11 with a five-inch blade.[2][3] Vicious was immediately arrested for murder. There are several theories that Spungen was murdered by someone else, usually said to be one of the two drug dealers who visited the apartment that night, and involving a possible robbery, as certain items (including a substantial bankroll) were claimed to be missing from the room. In his book, Pretty Vacant: A History of Punk, Phil Strongman accuses actor and stand-up comic Rockets Redglare of killing Spungen. Redglare had delivered 40 capsules of hydromorphone to the couple's room at the Chelsea Hotel the night of Spungen's death.

Redglare steadfastly denied any involvement in the murder of Nancy Spungen throughout his life. He stated that the other dealer known to have been there that evening had left before him to obtain more heroin, and was due back after he had left the building. He said he believed that the other dealer returned, found Vicious out cold, and attempted to steal the remaining drugs, leading to a confrontation with Spungen.

Vicious confessed in a signed statement. In it, he said "I stabbed her, but I didn't mean to kill her. I loved her, but she treated me like shit".

Work about Nancy Spungen

The title of this memoir is taken from a poem written by Vicious after Spungen's death.

  • Rats by Veronica Schanoes, in the Interfictions anthology, 2007

This story is a punk rock fairy tale inspired by Spungen's life. The author says:

I wrote "Rats" because I was angry with the way the recent coffee-table histories of punk seem to have no problem demonizing a dead, mentally ill, teenage girl.

See Also

Sid and Nancy



External links

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