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John Lydon

Although he is best known as Johnny Rotten, the lead-singer of The Sex Pistols, John Lydon did not end his music career with his departure from the pioneering punk act in 1978. Lydon formed PiL, or Public Image Ltd, shortly thereafter and dropped his adopted name. 

Widely considered to be the first post-punk band, PiL experiments with a wide palette of sounds including dub, rock, and disco. PiL debuted with First Issue in 1978 and released albums through 1992. The band dynamic was not too healthy. For example, when bassist Jah Wobble left in 1981, he was not formally replaced. That year’s album, The Flowers of Romance, had no bass parts. In 1993 the band took a formal hiatus.

PiL reformed in 2009 to play some shows in the UK, and Lydon registered PIL Twin Limited as a music publishing company in the UK. PiL released This is PiL on May 28, 2012 – the groups first studio effort in two decades. In today’s episode of World Cafe, John Lydon explains the origin of his band’s curious name and how their now healthy band dynamic sets them apart from The Sex Pistols. Lydon shares his views on the music industry and his happiness at the slow demise of traditional record companies. Lydon explains that he has stayed in music out of love, and how he funneled all the money from a butter commercial that he did into restarting PiL.


Set List:                
Public Image Ltd /  DEEPER WATER     /   This is PiL      1:36                 
Public Image Ltd   /LOLLIPOP OPERA       / This is PiL    2:02              

Recent Release: This is PiL
Release Date: May 28, 2012
Band Origin: U.K.

Article in New Yorker

John Lydon is best known as "Johnny Rotten," vocalist for the Sex Pistols. He was born in Finsbury Park, London, England in 1956 and contracted spinal meningitis at age 7. This caused him to slip in and out of comas and lose his memory. Many years later, he joined The Sex Pistols and was quickly known for his sarcastic, provocative, political lyrics as well as his quirky persona and biting honesty. The band existed for less than three years and broke up in 1978. Lydon went back to his real name, and he started Public Image Ltd., or PiL for short. PiL is considered by many to the be the original post-punk band, and their first two records, First Issue and Metal Box, are highly influential experimentations with rock, dub, and disco. They released several more albums before disbanding in 1993 as Lydon pursued a solo career. A new lineup returned in 2009 and a new album, titled This Is PiL, was released on May 28, 2012.

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