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Digital Subscriptions > Long Live Vinyl > Aug-18 > PUBLIC ENEMY NO.1

PUBLIC ENEMY NO.1

John Lydon’s next move after the Sex Pistols was a creative, musically varied experiment that’s 40 years old and counting. Sean Egan finds out more…

In the late 90s, John Lydon found himself literally unable to record. Although his band Public Image Ltd had made several acclaimed and/or successful albums, his record company was neither willing to fund further recordings nor release him from his contract. “It’s a conundrum,” he shudders at his Kafka-esque dilemma. “You’re in debt. They won’t loan you the money to raise money against the debt. They won’t help you record or tour, and if you raise money independently they claim it for their debt.” It seemed the end of a career in which the former Johnny Rotten had both suffered for his art and, for some, prostituted himself on the back of it.

PiL – as Public Image stylised their acronym – was born in what Lydon calls a “period of great confusion”. When, in early 1978, Lydon quit his role as Sex Pistols frontman, he was “left stranded in America without a plane ticket”. Returning to the UK, he was soon enmeshed in a court case that left him penniless and nameless. “The management claimed they owned everything, including my name.

That’s why I had to revert to John Lydon. I would have carried on as Mr Rotten.” That Lydon would start a new band was fairly predetermined (“I’d got the bite for writing songs and I loved it”), but it would be one with different parameters. “In many ways, it was ‘free thyself up young lad’, because I knew there were some serious restrictions in the Pistols.”

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About Long Live Vinyl

The Godfather, Super Fly, Blade Runner, Purple Rain, Clockwork Orange, The Graduate, The Wicker Man, Pulp Fiction, Help!… In issue 17 of Long Live Vinyl we salute soundtracks, round up 50 of the greatest film classics ever committed to vinyl and talk to the good people at Invada Records, who brought us the Stranger Things and Drive soundtracks. Elsewhere this issue, in our packed interviews section we speak to Creation Records founder Alan McGee about the albums that shaped his incredible career in vinyl, working with an astonishing array of bands that included Ride, My Bloody Valentine, Primal Scream, Oasis and The Libertines. Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reflects on travelling the world to write the band's best new album in years, Islands, and Gruff Rhys tells us about his own new record Babelsberg. The ever-outspoken John Lydon completes our artist line-up, telling us why he's happier in Public Image Ltd than he ever was in the Sex Pistols. You'll also want to dig into our feature on Grime, arguably the most exciting and fresh musical movement to emerge from British shores since Lydon's punks shook up the 70s. The Trip pays a long-overdue visit to the record shops of Birmingham, while we wish Kate Bush a happy 60th birthday as our Classic Album series turns the spotlight on her 1985 masterpiece, Hounds Of Love. The Who fans, meanwhile, are in for a treat as our Essential feature rounds up the 40 records by Townshend, Daltrey, Moon and Entwistle that every collector should own. We meet the people behind Hypergallery, visit Newport's Diverse Vinyl and, if all that's not enough, you'll find the widest range of new release, reissue, turntable and accessory reviews anywhere on the newsstand, plus essential hi-fi buying advice. Long Live Vinyl is THE magazine for vinyl lovers! Enjoy the issue.
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