Sid Vicious was born John Simon Ritchie-Beverly on May 10, 1957 in London, England. His father left the family when Sid was very young, leaving them to fend for themselves. His mother did not have a trade and they moved to the island of Ibiza, where she became a drug dealer.
In 1965, they moved back to England, where she met a man named Christopher Beverly and married him. They moved to Kent, England, but Sid's new stepfather died after only six months. In 1968, him and his mother moved to Tunbridge Wells, where he attended the local school. In 1971, they moved again to the city of Hackney.
By this time, Sid had begun using drugs under his mother's supervision. She was still involved in the drug trade and Sid was getting into the more dangerous ones, like heroin. In his free time, he started studying at the Hackney Technical College, where he met someone named John Lydon. The two became close friends and would hang out frequently.
Lydon was also a member of a punk music group, the Sex Pistols. Sid became one of the group's biggest fans and started his own punk group with Keith Levene and Jah Wobble, calling it "The Flowers of Romance". Later, he joined "Siouxsie & the Banshees", with whom he played drums. At the 100 Club Punk Festival, he reportedly threw a glass cup into the crowd, where it shattered against a pillar and blinded a girl in one eye. That night he also attacked a journalist named Nick Kent with a bike chain.
In February of 1977, one of the Sex Pistols, Glen Matlock, left and Sid took his place. He was hired as the bass player, but he was supposedly awful at it. The group's manager, Malcolm McLaren, supposedly wanted Sid to join the group mainly because he had a distinct punk look about him.
Sid's early bass playing was so awful that the group would often leave his amplifier off during performances. He eventually sought the assistance of Motorhead bassist Lemmy Limister, who termed Sid a hopeless student. On April 3, 1977, he had his first gig with the Sex Pistols at the Screen on the Green Cinema in London.
In November of 1977, Sid met a groupie named Nancy Spungen and they started a close relationship. She was heavily addicted to heroin and helped Sid become addicted along with her. The two were reportedly in love, but their relationship was a very rocky one.
Sid and Nancy went with the Sex Pistols on their tour of North America, but the band broke up on January 14, 1978 in San Francisco. Sid left the band to begin a solo career that did not get very far. For the next several months, Sid and Nancy lived in a haze of drugs. Sid accidentally overdosed on heroin one day and spent some time in the hospital as a result.
On October 12, 1978, Sid woke up in a hotel room at the Hotel Chelsea in New York City. Next to him was Nancy, who was lying in a pool of blood with a stab wound in her abdomen. Sid was arrested and charged with murder, later claiming that he "killed her because I'm a dirty dog." He was put in Rikers Island Prison, where he sobered up quickly.
In February of 1979, he was released on bail that was posted by Virgin Records. Right after his release, a party was thrown by his friends celebrating his release. At the party, he was given some heroin by his mother and died from a massive overdose that night, February 2, 1979.