Penthouse Retrospective

by Deborah Spungen Originally Published: October, 1983

Nancy Spungen | BONUS Penthouse Legacy

The almost unbelievable story of the love-death relationship of Sid Vicious and his girlfriend Nancy Spungen — as witnessed by the victim’s mother.

Penthouse Magazines - October 1983Love Me, Kill Me

“There’s really a lot goin’ on here, Mom. Music. People. I’m meeting a lot of people.” It was a transatlantic phone call from my twenty-year-old daughter, Nancy. In spring of 1976 she had gone to London to visit. She had just spent a traumatic eighteen month away from home, living in New York City, where she has hung out in the rock music scene — her first love — and taken too many drugs, including heroin. Nancy had been emotionally disturbed since birth. She had spent over one fifth of her life in a school for disturbed children. She also has been committed for brief periods to several mental institutions. For years my husband, Frank and I had little control over her. Visits with too many psychiatrists had not helped. In the end, there was nothing to be done but let Nancy go, let her lead her own life.

“You know who I met at a party last night?” she continued excitedly. “You won’t believe it.”


“Sid Vicious!”


“Sid Vicious.”

“Who is he?”

“A punk rocker. He’s with the Sex Pistols, Mom.”

“Who are the Sex Pistols?”

“They’re the biggest band in England. They’re great. The Best.”


“He’s nice. Really nice. I really like him. I think he likes me, too”

“What kind of name is that, Sid Vicious?”

“I met Johnny, too”


“Johnny Rotten. The singer.”

“He’s with the Sex Pistols, too?”


“That’s very nice.” I had learned long ago not to cross Nancy. My objections had not impact on her. In fact, they only served to fuel her ever present anger.

I paid no further attention at that time to the subject of punk music or the musician Sid Vicious. I assumed he was just another of her fleeting attachments. There was no reason then to think otherwise.

Within two weeks Nancy was, it appeared, back on heroin. She denied it, but on the phone her voice was slurred. She was paranoid and didn’t make a lot of sense. And she was out of money.

“I can’t stay with my friends no more, Mom. They don’t like me. Don’t want me there. They hate me.”

“So where are you staying?”

“On the street. In a car. Your Nancy’s sleepin’ in a car. And I got no food. Nothing to eat. No money, Mom.”

“You’re back on.”

“No, it isn’t that.”

“Nancy, don’t lie to me.”

“I’m not. ”

Few can tell a tragic story as well as a mother, and the Nancy Spungen story qualifies as one of the most sad. Beware the dreams of the Punk Romantic..

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