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John Lydon, a.k.a. Johnny Rotten, is a true punk legend. He was the singer of the Sex Pistols, the ground-breaking British punk band. The Pistols formed in 1975, and their raw sound combined with Lydon’s powerful, unfiltered lyrics taking shots at the Queen, the music industry, and the system as a whole created something entirely new – a sound, look, and attitude that would quickly be picked up and copied by legions of bands to follow, and would spark the punk rock revolution.

The Sex Pistols broke up in early 1978, and Lydon went on to form the influential group Public Image Limited, or PiL. The group went in an entirely different direction, making often-danceable, experimental music. Their second album, 1979’s Metal Box, is generally regarded as a landmark release, and was chosen as one of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time by Rolling Stone.

Lydon’s new memoir, which covers the entirety of his life and career, is called Anger Is An Energy: My Life Uncensored (Dey Street).

We were joined by legendary photographer Janette Beckman (soon to be a Cipher guest herself), who took some pictures – the first time she had photographed Lydon since she took now-famous shots of him with the Sex Pistols and in the early days of PiL, like the image you see above.

Tracks featured in this episode:

  1. Public Image Limited, “Rise”
  2. Sex Pistols, “Pretty Vacant”
  3. Sex Pistols, “Anarchy in the UK”
  4. Sex Pistols, “God Save the Queen”
  5. Sex Pistols, “Bodies”
  6. The Johnny Rotten Show: The Punk and His Music, Pt. 1
  7. Sex Pistols, “Submission”
  8. Sex Pistols, “E.M.I.”
  9. Public Image Limited, “Banging the Door”
  10. Public Image Limited, “Phenagen”
  11. Time Zone, “World Destruction”
  12. Malcolm McLaren, “Buffalo Gals”
  13. The Golden Palominos, “The Animal Speaks”
  14. Public Image Limited, “Bags”
  15. Public Image Limited, “Warrior”
  16. Public Image Limited, “Armada”
  17. Public Image Limited, “USLS 1”
  18. “Arsenal fans singing at White Hart Lane incl. the funny ‘One of Our Own’ Chant”
  19. John Lydon, “Sun”
  20. John Lydon, “Dis-Ho”
  21. John Lydon, “Take Me”
  22. Public Image Limited, “The Room I Am In”
  23. Public Image Limited, “Reggie Song”
  24. The Raincoats, “Fairytale in the Supermarket”
  25. Donna Summer, “I Feel Love”
  26. John Lydon Lollipop Blog Part 2: Occupy Wall Street & Donna Summer RIP
  27. Alice Cooper, “I Love the Dead”
  28. Public Image Limited, “Public Image”
  29. Public Image Limited, “Four Enclosed Walls”

Show notes:

  1. PiL interview: Melody Maker, October 28th, 1978
  2. Letters of Note: The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is a piss stain
  3. Janette Beckman photo of John Lydon taken during our interview #1
  4. Janette Beckman photo of Lydon #2
  5. Janette Beckman photo of Lydon #3
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