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Public Image Ltd.

One of the first and most significant post-punk bands, Public Image Ltd. (PiL) were originally a quartet led by singer John Lydon (formerly Johnny Rotten, born January 31, 1956) and guitarist Keith Levene, who had been a member of the Clash in one of its early lineups. The band was filled out by bassist Jah Wobble (John Wordle) and drummer Jim Walker. It was formed in the wake of the 1978 breakup of Lydon's former group, the Sex Pistols. For the most part, the band's early incarnation devoted itself to droning, slow-tempo, bass-heavy noise rock, overlaid by Lydon's distinctive, vituperative rant. The group's debut single, "Public Image," was more of an uptempo pop/rock song, however, and it hit the U.K. Top Ten upon its release in October 1978. The group itself debuted on Christmas Day, shortly after the release of its first album, Public Image. Neither the single nor the album was released in the U.S.

Metal Box, the band's second U.K. album, came in the form of three 45-rpm 12" discs in a film canister. It was released in the U.S. in 1980 as the double-album Second Edition. By this time, PiL were a trio consisting of Lydon, Levene, and Wobble; the latter two played some of the drums on recordings, while the position was held by a series of percussionists, none of whom stayed long. The third album, not released in the U.S., was the live Paris au Printemps (1980). Lydon and Levene, plus hired musicians, made up the group by the time of The Flowers of Romance (1981), the much-acclaimed fourth album, which reached number 11 in the U.K. In 1983, PiL scored their biggest U.K. hit when "This Is Not a Love Song" reached number five. By this time, however, Levene had left, and the name from here on would be, more than anything else, a vehicle for John Lydon (though with a comparatively steady lineup). A second live album, Live in Tokyo, appeared in England in 1983.

The following year saw the release of This Is What You Want...This Is What You Get, only PiL's third album to be released in the U.S., though by now the group had six albums out. It marked the start of Lydon's move toward a more polished and accessible dance-rock style, a direction that would be pursued further in 1986's Album (also called Cassette or Compact Disc, depending on the format), notably on the hit "Rise," as well as on Happy? (1987) and 9 (1989). In 1990, PiL released the compilation album The Greatest Hits, So Far, and in 1991 came the new album That What Is Not. After completing his memoirs in late 1993, Lydon decided to put PiL to rest -- largely the result of contractual issues -- and pursue a solo career. The career-spanning box set Plastic Box arrived in 1999, but otherwise the band seemed truly dead until 2009 when Lydon announced he was reviving the project for a short set of gigs in the U.K. The new PiL, featuring past members Lu Edmonds and Bruce Smith, along with Scott Firth, were so warmly received in their homeland that a U.S. tour followed in 2010. An album of all-new material, This Is PiL, followed in 2012. ~ William Ruhlmann, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: Compact Disc

Comments

Happy
very cool and original love pop tones and careering
Is this a love song?
Just an AMAZING track!!!
dlambert489
It's Steve Vai's birthday, blow out the candles!
Love this track still sounds gorgeous!
timmullins59
Why is the first album not in the discography?
What is this garbage ? Thumbs down losers
cameronevanw h i t e
If steve vai was never born this album would still be great
yes, i'd say public image ltd. is very similar to PiL
Saw them 2 weeks ago in Houston, TX at a tiny venue called the Scout Bar - what a great show! They played about 16 songs including Rise, Love Song, Albatross and Disappointed ! Johnny was as good as ever!
jkinney2311
Thank God Steve Vai was there to give this album it's greatness!
Saw PiL in 1983 in San Francisco (in what seemed to be the lobby of an unused office building)... a w e s o m e show!
bdalida3
PIL played at First Ave in Minneapolis in the early 90's (Where Purple Rain was filmed) Top three best conterts ever seen. Saw them play with new order and sugar cubes too that year at a larger venue... He out performed them both!!!
I saw P.I.L. at the San Diego X fest back in the 90s. Johnny wore a bright orange and yellow plaid suit,They rocked,but he wouldn't play until someone in the front row put out a joint.Then New Order came on and he said"I make a million dollars a year I don't care what you do" LOL
I saw PIL open for New Order in 1989, San Diego State University with my cousin Davis while we were stationed in San Diego. He was more interested in the Suger Cubes, but most bizarre was that the opening band was De La Soul singing me myself and I.
I saw these guys in concert this year. Amazing show.
this band is going to be awesome live...johnn y rotton is amazing live..that crazy motherf**ker
"Not a band...it's a company" - Lydon
And one of the similar artists is the same band itself under a different name! My god. Oh well.
Glad to hear this stuff sounds as good as it did when it was first done. LOL, 'similar artists'???
S.A. Birl (aka Ogal Finklestein) says: 03-26-2009

Pandora needs to get 'Happy?' '9' and 'That what is not' on here. Please!\

TOTALLY AGREE....... . . . . P L E A S E DO SO
Pandora needs to get 'Happy?' '9' and 'That what is not' on here. Please!
don1983
Metal Box..Brillia n t . Post Punk brilliance. Uncompromisi n g , honest, real.
That is PIL.
Love Public Image. Just a lot of fun to listen to. Surprised to see no comments.
One of the Best Concerts in the Early 80s I had ever attended, I have seen them Multiple times.

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