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Digital Subscriptions > Classic Pop > Jul-18 > PUBLIC IMAGE LIMITED THE PUBLIC IMAGE IS ROTTEN (SONGS FROM THE HEART)

PUBLIC IMAGE LIMITED THE PUBLIC IMAGE IS ROTTEN (SONGS FROM THE HEART)

“‘ELLO ‘ELLO…” IS IT PiL YOU’RE LOOKING FOR? LAVISH BOXSET HIGHLIGHTS WHY THERE WAS A LONGEVITY TO LYDON’S POST-PISTOLS OUTFIT, LOST IN PUNK’S CRASH & BURN IDEOLOGY

UNIVERSAL MUSIC

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With hindsight, it’s bizarre that Johnny Rotten ever joined the Sex Pistols. His snarled vows of anarchy may have spread terror across Middle England but he never really bought into the amphetamine-powered garage rock that the band subsisted on.

Once the Pistols had imploded and John Lydon had reclaimed his real name, he set out to do something completely different. This lavish 5CD/2DVD boxset is a salutary reminder of how different Public Image Ltd actually were.

It’s a major retrospective but, PiL being PiL, there is no Graveyard or Bad Baby from 1979’s classic Metal Box, and only Four Enclosed Walls and the title track from 1981’s The Flowers Of Romance. You can almost hear Lydon’s contemptuous sneer: “Completists are just bores!”

Instead, Disc one cuts to the chase – a chronological collection of the singles from 1978 to 2015.

It’s a thrilling sequence, right from Lydon’s defiant yodel on debut Public Image as he reclaimed his ego and identity from McLaren and the UK media, post-Pistols: “I will not be treated as property!”

With Keith Levene’s atonal guitar mangling Swan Lake, Jah Wobble jabbing out funkreggae riffs like punches, and Lydon howling of his mother’s death from cancer, Death Disco remains manically bleak: it’s bizarre that it not only got on Top Of The Pops but went Top 20. Yet PiL could do pop, when they chose: This Is Not A Love Song and Rise were attitudinal earworms.

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About Classic Pop

In the new issue of Classic Pop magazine we catch up with Johnny Marr to hear about the former Smiths and Electronic star’s superb new solo album Call The Comet. Tom Bailey tells us why he's returning to pop with a new album after years exploring dub and world music – remarkably it’s the former Thompson Twin frontman’s first solo LP. Also making a much-anticipated comeback is Swing Out Sister – Classic Pop talks to 80s icon Corinne Drewery and other half Andy Connell as they break what is effectively a decade of studio silence with Almost Persuaded. Elsewhere, we tell the story of the legendary Factory Records label and serve up a buyer’s guide to the work of Blondie and Debbie Harry. The ever-industrious Neil Arthur tells us about his new project Near Future and gives us details of a new Blancmange album plus we also catch up with Jaki Graham for the inside story on her diverse new album When A Woman Loves. New albums from Tom Bailey, Erasure, Years & Years and Let’s Eat Grandma get the once-over alongside reissues by David Bowie, The Cure, Public Image Limited and George Michael. We also jostle our way to the front to review live shows including Beck, Echo & The Bunnymen and Blossoms. Enjoy the issue!

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