Personalities | Public Image Limited | Eighties | Rock
(Vocal/instrumental group, 1978–93, 2009–present)
To the surprise of many, Johnny Rotten reinvented himself after The Sex Pistols as John Lydon. He enlisted Keith Levene (guitar, drums), Jah Wobble (b. John Wardle, bass) and a variety of other transient contributors. The punky thunder of PiL stormed the UK Top 10 and a good self-titled debut album followed in 1978. Their second collection, 1979’s Metal Box (packaged in a metal box) was extraordinary: a beguiling mix of dub, Krautrock and Eastern-inflected weirdness and Lydon’s inspired, spooky rants, it was released as Second Edition (1980) in the US, and amazingly made the UK Top 20. Two more masterpieces ensued before PiL’s output got a little muddy: the powerful UK hit ‘This Is Not A Love Song’ in 1985 and 1986’s ‘Rise’, with unlikely collaborators such as Steve Vai, Ravi Shankar and Ginger Baker. With PiL Lydon proved he was no one-trick pony but a major player and innovator. The band re-formed in 2009.
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