Public Image Ltd

When Sex Pistols finally disbanded amid controversy, acrimony, and lawsuits, front man John Lydon – the real name of Pistols’ vocalist Johnny Rotten – formed post-punk and avant-garde rock project Public Image Ltd (PiL) in 1978. The group’s line-up was never stable, but the band’s early line-up included guitarist Keith Levene and bassist Jah Wobble (real name: John Wardle). PiL’s repertoire mixed punk, dub, reggae, and industrial noise and made them one of music's most groundbreaking and influential forces. John Lydon was as uncompromising and antagonistic as ever on debut album First Issue in 1978, but it was on second album, Metal Box (1979), that he really started to open up, writing emotionally about his mother on preceding single “Death Disco.” The band infiltrated the mainstream with the Number 5 single “This Is Not a Love Song” (1983) and earned critical and commercial success with the glorious pop of 1986’s “Rise.” PiL went on to release a total of eight studio albums – including Album (1986), Happy? (1987), 9 (1989) and That What Is Not (1992) - before their split in 1992. After the band’s break-up, Lydon took part in a Sex Pistols reunion and recorded a solo album before reforming PiL with a new line-up in 2009. They returned to the studio to work on new material, resulting in 2012’s One Drop EP. A full-length album followed in the form of 2012’s This Is PiL, their first studio album in 20 years. They followed this with 2015’s What the World Needs Now..., which included the single “Double Trouble.” The group’s catalog has been celebrated numerous times with compilations, live releases and several box sets including the 2018 release The Public Image Is Rotten – Songs from the Heart. Original guitarist Keith Levene, who had briefly been a member of The Clash in their early days before joining PiL, died of liver cancer on November 11, 2022, at the age of 65. In 2023, Lydon, assisted by Lu Edmonds (guitar), Scott Firth (bass, keyboards), and Bruce Smith (drums), released End of World, the eleventh studio album and the first in eight years. The track "Hawaii" is a heartfelt tribute to Lydon's late wife, Nora Forster, who passed away shortly before the song's release.

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