John Lydon
English rock musician
John Lydon
John Joseph Lydon, also known by the former stage name Johnny Rotten, is a singer-songwriter and television presenter, best known as the lead singer of punk rock band the Sex Pistols from 1975 until 1978, and again for various revivals during the 1990s and 2000s. He is the lead singer of the post-punk band Public Image Ltd (PiL), which he founded and fronted from 1978 until 1993, and again from 2009.
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Q&A: Filmmaker Alex Cox on 'Tombstone Rashomon,' 'Repo Man,' and 'Sid and Nancy'
Huffington Post - about 1 year
When tallying the adjectives used to describe filmmaker Alex Cox, the term "maverick" is probably at the top of the list. This is an accurate word to describe him, given that his movies are about wily repo men on hot pursuit of a $20,000 reward for a possessed '64 Chevy Malibu that zaps to death the people who open its trunk, a love story of two punk junkies on their last legs, as well as a Spaghetti Western spoof high on surrealistic violence and short on tempers (and that's just his first three features). Collaborating with the likes of immortals Joe Strummer, Iggy Pop, John Lydon, and Elvis Costello, Cox was able to get more rock stars in a room than a gaggle of groupies. In late 1987, he directed Walker, a biopic of American soldier of fortune and filibuster William Walker, who invaded Mexico in the 1850s and made himself President of Nicaragua shortly thereafter. Cox threw in modern anachronisms (Walker appears on the covers of Newsweek and Time; Zippo lighters ignite; a Me ...
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Huffington Post article
John Lydon On World Cafe
NPR - over 1 year
The former Sex Pistol shares music from PiL's second studio album since re-forming in 2009. » EMail This
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NPR article
John Lydon: The Foul-Mouthed Yob Sets The Record Straight
NPR - almost 2 years
"After reading so much rubbish written about me over the years, it became obvious that I had to just tell it like it is," Lydon tells NPR's Arun Rath. Lydon just wrote his memoir, Anger Is An Energy. » E-Mail This
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NPR article
ArtsBeat: ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ Tour Is Abruptly Canceled
NYTimes - over 2 years
Brandon Boyd of Incubus and John Lydon of the Sex Pistols were among the performers signed up for a planned 50-plus-city arena tour.
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NYTimes article
John Lydon: I'm not a museum piece
CNN - over 3 years
John Lydon is wondering whether he's looking old. He jokes that the camera should be smeared with Vaseline to give a flattering, soft-focus effect. "Or we could use butter!" he laughs in reference to a series of TV commercials which helped to fund his band's latest album.
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CNN article
Lydon honoured by music industry
Bucks Free Press - over 3 years
Punk pioneer John Lydon, who once brought anarchy to the charts and was too hot to handle for several record labels, was honoured by the music industry tonight as record executives toasted his success.
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Bucks Free Press article
No restraints as John Lydon’s still keeping it real
Yorkshire Evening Post - over 3 years
‘For me, the idea of a book is a good one,” says John Lydon. “I know you’ve got modern electronica, multi-media, but I don’t think they have the longevity in them the way a book has.
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Yorkshire Evening Post article
The secrets of songwriters
Guardian (UK) - over 3 years
The day the Kinks overtook the Beatles, why the Clash wrote 'Rock the Casbah', when Johnny Marr first drove to Morrissey's house … Daniel Rachel has interviewed many of the nation's best songwriters. Here are some highlights Ray Davies, the Kinks Can you recall the sentiment behind writing "Lola"? It was about love, but not directly. The song was designed. I didn't show the words to the band. We just rehearsed it with the la-la la-la Lo-la chorus which came first. I had a one-year-old daughter at the time and she was singing along to it. But I was bothered by the arpeggio guitar at the beginning. I said, "It's got to be hit in the first three seconds." Later I went back in the studio and took the phrase at the end of the verse, C C C C D E, and replayed it at the beginning to grab people's attention. I had a new Martin acoustic guitar which I tracked three times all slightly out of time to give it character. And then I put a National guitar on top of it. What was the ambition at th ...
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Guardian (UK) article
Neil Durkin: Holidays in the Sun: Now I Gotta Reason...
Huffington Post - over 3 years
Whenever I think of summer holidays I almost involuntarily hear the Sex Pistols' scornful punk classic Holidays In The Sun ricocheting around in my head. As you'll recall, this opens with the unforgettable "a cheap holiday in other people's misery" line and continues with: "I don't wanna holiday in the sun / I wanna go to the new Belsen." (Check out this footage of the band performing it in, suitably enough, Penzance!) Hmm, in the mood for your holiday now? Well, I'll come back to the Sex Pistols later, but first a quick run-through of the summer holiday ritual in all its sun-baked glory. First, the packing. Oversized Jackie O-style sunglasses: check. Swimming costume: check. Sunblock factor 30: check. Latest must-read summer blockbuster: check. Other seasonal cliched items: check-mate! Yes, the deeply-entrenched British (northern European?, Western?) idea of a summer holiday comes with bulging suitcases full of "expert" advice starting with... what to pack. Then there's ...
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Huffington Post article
Sex Pistols frontman Johnny Rotten to be named Icon of music
Yahoo News - over 3 years
(Reuters) - Johnny Rotten may not like it but he is starting to become Johnny Icon. The 57-year-old former frontman of the anarchic 1970s punk band the Sex Pistols is to receive an award for his contribution to music from the music rights organization BMI, although he angrily rejected previous honors. Singer-songwriter John Lydon, who went by the name Johnny Rotten as he belted out songs like "Pretty Vacant" and "Anarchy in the UK", will be presented with BMI's Icon Award at a gala in London on October 15. ...
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Yahoo News article
Steven Rosen: Should Richard Hell Be in the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame?
Huffington Post - over 3 years
So far, this has been a hell of a year for Punk. By that, I mean it's been a great year for recognizing the formative influence that Richard Hell, now 63, has had on Punk -- and, by extension, all Rock & Roll and pop culture that has followed in its aggressive, assertive, rebellious wake. Hell just published a literary, frank, edgy autobiography, I Dreamed I Was a Very Clean Tramp, that has earned comparisons to Patti Smith's Just Kids. It tells how the roots of his restless disaffection with society, his hell-raising personal conduct and his interest in the arts (and Rock music) all began while growing up as Richard Meyers in Lexington, Ky. His dad, who died when Hell was just 7, was an experimental psychologist at the University of Kentucky. Hell can also claim a very important role in the Metropolitan Museum of Art's new blockbuster fashion exhibition, Punk: Chaos to Couture. His impact on the creation of 1970s-era New York Punk is represented in the very f ...
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Huffington Post article
Lydon to sue over 'I spat in sushi'
Byron Shire News - almost 4 years
PUNK icon John Lydon considers legal action against a publicist who spat in his sushi. He also wants to kiss and make up with Carrie.     
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Byron Shire News article
WATCH: Johnny Rotten's Disgusting Sexist Rant
Huffington Post - almost 4 years
Former Sex Pistol Johnny Rotten has come under fire after launching a bizarre sexist rant on Australian TV when the show's female anchor, Carrie Bickmore, asked him about the death of Baroness Thatcher. Rotten, real name John Lydon, has been branded a “sexist, misogynist pig” by Bickmore's co-host Andrew Rochford, after his appearance on talk show 'The Project' on Channel Ten. The disgusting tirade started with Rotten saying "missus, shutup", he then told her, "when a man is talking do not interrupt." He continued, with his seemingly over-inflated ego, thus: "You're beginning to sound like excited children, you're talking to a proper master of the universe here." Rotten is currently touring the country with his band Public Image Limited. However, he has hit back at claims he's sexist.“It’s quite clear to me I’m not a sexist and I’m not a misogynist.” He said that if someone interrupts, “you are going to have to say something at some point, whether it be ...
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Huffington Post article
John Lydon hits back over TV bust-up
Calgary Sun - almost 4 years
Sex Pistols star John Lydon has hit back at accusations he deliberately intimidated a female TV presenter on Australian TV on Tuesday, insisting he is "not a sexist" and "not a misogynist".
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Calgary Sun article
Vaccines: Nothing trendy about their rock
San Francisco Chronicle - about 4 years
Vaccines: Nothing trendy about their rock With dance music - and the redonkulous EDM tag - on so many lips and in so many playlists, it might be a tad discouraging for some to find themselves still in the thrall of guitars, besotted with a 4/4 beat, smack in the thick of a classic rock four-piece. Last year's "Come of Age" recalls not only the Cali positivity that pops up in the twangy punk of Social Distortion ("Bad Mood") but also the classic rock of forebears like the Beach Boys ("All in Vain"). Even in the face of dread ("No Hope"), the Vaccines take a more upbeat tack than the Sex Pistols could ever muster, though Young clearly taps John Lydon with his snarling delivery. Confident enough to roll out a sexy hip-shaker like "I Wish I Was a Girl," the band almost revels in the sweet melodies and eccentric left turns of "Aftershave Ocean" or "Weirdo," with Young crooning on the latter, "I know that I'm neurotic/ And I'm hard to please/ And I'm disobliging/ And ...
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San Francisco Chronicle article
Steven Rosen: The 30 Best Post 50 Albums Of 2012
Huffington Post - about 4 years
(Written/Compiled for Rock's Backpages, THE 84 ROCK'S BACKPAGES contributors -- and other invited music aficionados who participated in its second Senior Moments poll -- had a heap of fun with their list titles. As if "senior moments" and "silver-haired top tens" (both coined by RBP's editorial director Barney Hoskyns) weren't sly enough, David Quantick came up with the wonderful acronym MOPO -- "Music of Older People Origin." Robert (Robot) Hull rather bluntly labeled his submission "Top Ten Albums of the Year by Old Farts." Tim Riley's tag was "Geezer Youth." Holly Gleason called hers "Top 10 Dinosaur Rock Records." We could go on. And yet, for all the merriment, there was also commitment to the cause. While rock may have started as youth music, and that's still an artistically vital and commercially lucrative part of it, it is indeed only a part of it. Older musicians who were influenced by rock and all its related streams -- country, sou ...
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Huffington Post article
Jonny Mulligan: How Do You Make Pensions Sexy?
Huffington Post - about 4 years
Jam today -- Jam tomorrow -- or no jam at all. In 1996, Oasis, who were supported by The Charlatans, Kula Shaker, Manic Street Preachers, The Bootleg Beatles, The Chemical Brothers, Ocean Colour Scene and The Prodigy, played two shows with an audience of 150,000 per night. Over 2.6 million people applied for tickets for the shows, making it the largest ever demand for concert tickets in British history. If the average of people there was 20-25 today they are 36-41 I wonder how many of them have a pension pot. I suspect not many. If this is the case then how many of the Rihanna generation 16-21 are wise to the problem. Maybe none. Pensions are not very exciting for someone below the age of 40. They are possibly one of the most impossible things to market and get mass appeal and understanding. I wonder if you could get Rihanna to appear in an advert telling us to save for our old age. John Lydon, now that he has passed the butter test, would do it but possibly would not ...
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Huffington Post article
Public Image Ltd.: Re-imagining Eden
NPR - over 4 years
After more than three decades, John Lydon and his re-formed PiL still perform with intensity and conviction. Here, they visit The Current in the Twin Cities to perform songs from their first album since 1992. Watch Lydon wail his way through "Reggie Song." » E-Mail This     » Add to
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NPR article
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of John Lydon
  • 2014
    Age 58
    He has been a supporter of the NHS since receiving treatment for meningitis aged 7, stating in 2014: "I want national health and education to always be of the highest agenda and I do not mind paying tax for that."
    More Details Hide Details Lydon describes himself as a "pacifist by nature" and declares Gandhi as his hero. In a 1978 BBC Radio 1 interview, Lydon alluded to the sordid conduct by Jimmy Savile, as well as the suppression of negative information about Savile by mainstream social forces many decades in advance of it becoming a public scandal. Lydon stated: "I'd like to kill Jimmy Savile; I think he's a hypocrite. I bet he's into all kinds of seediness that we all know about, but are not allowed to talk about. I know some rumours." He added: "I bet none of this will be allowed out." All chart positions are UK. Studio album Compilations and live albums Singles Studio albums Compilations and live albums Singles Studio albums Single Studio album Compilations Singles
    In 2014 he admitted to losing £10,000 on iPad games.
    More Details Hide Details Ever since his rise to public attention, Lydon has remained an outspoken critic of much in British politics and society. Coming from a working class background, he has remained heavily opposed to the class system, describing how private schools "tend to turn out little snobs. They're taught a sense of superiority, which is the kiss of death… They're absolutely screwed up for life." He is critical of the upper classes, stating that they "parasite off the population as their friends help them along", but he equally criticises the working classes, claiming that "We're lazy, good-for-nothing bastards, absolute cop-outs who never accept responsibility for our own lives and that's why we'll always be downtrodden." He opposes all forms of segregation in schools, not only through the private and state school division, but also with single-sex schools; "It doesn't make sense. It's a much better environment with girls in the class. You learn a lot more, as diversity makes things more interesting."
  • 2013
    Age 57
    And in October 2013, Lydon clarified in an interview. "I support no government anywhere, ever, never.
    More Details Hide Details No institution, no religion – these are things that all of us as human beings do not need. When I go to a place like Israel, it's not to support anti-Arab sentiment or pro-Israeli government, it's to play to the people."
    Lydon became a naturalized American citizen in 2013.
    More Details Hide Details Lydon's parents raised their sons in the Roman Catholic faith, and Lydon self-identifies as a Catholic, however, he's stated that he "never had any godlike epiphanies or thought that God had anything to do with this dismal occurrence called life." On the liner notes of Public Image Ltd's single, "Cruel", Lydon included, "Where is God? I see no evidence of God. God is probably Barry Manilow." Lydon has been a fan of Oscar Wilde since he studied his works at school, when he came to the conclusion that "his stuff was fucking brilliant. What an attitude to life!… He turned out to be the biggest poof on earth at a time when that was completely unacceptable. What a genius." In addition to his work as a singer-songwriter Lydon is also a visual artist. His drawings, paintings and other related works have featured prominently in the works of PiL and his solo career throughout the years, the most recent example being the cover to This is PiL.
    During an April 2013 Australian tour, Lydon was involved in a television interview for the The Project that resulted in a publicised controversy, as he was labelled "a flat out, sexist, misogynist pig" by one of the panellists on the Australian programme.
    More Details Hide Details The altercation occurred with host Carrie Bickmore and the description was provided by panellist Dr Andrew Rochford after the interview was prematurely terminated by Bickmore's colleague Dave Hughes. Lydon conducted the interview from Brisbane while on PiL's first tour of Australia in twenty years—first announced in December 2012—on which shows were also held in the capital cities of Sydney and Melbourne. Lydon was cast to play the role of King Herod for the North American arena tour of Andrew Lloyd Webber's rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar. He was to play the role starting 9 June through 17 August, and was to be joined by Ben Forster as Jesus, Brandon Boyd of rock band Incubus as Judas Iscariot, Destiny's Child singer Michelle Williams as Mary Magdalene, and former 'N Sync singer JC Chasez as Pontius Pilate. On 31 May 2014 producers announced that the tour of the production was cancelled, because of poor advance ticket sales.
  • 2010
    Age 54
    In August 2010, Lydon played with Public Image Ltd in Tel Aviv, Israel despite protests against the Israel show.
    More Details Hide Details Lydon was criticized for a statement to newspaper The Independent: "I really resent the presumption that I'm going there to play to right-wing Nazi Jews. If Elvis-fucking-Costello wants to pull out of a gig in Israel because he's suddenly got this compassion for Palestinians, then good on him. But I have absolutely one rule, right? Until I see an Arab country, a Muslim country, with a democracy, I won't understand how anyone can have a problem with how they're treated. Per PIL's official website, Lydon gave two interviews on the subject with BBC Radio 6 Music, stating: "Of course, there are all sorts of terrible politics going on down there but there is just about all over the world. You cannot separate yourself from your audience because of the political powers-that-be. I mean, I'm anti-government—I have been all my life no matter where I go—and I shall be making that loud and clearly proud once I'm in Israel. We've received a lot of hate mail, as it happens, going to Israel is some kind of political faux pas. I say, 'Don't be so ignorant – it's John speaking here and I'm going there to cause trouble and I will do it musically.'"
  • 2008
    Age 52
    At the 2008 MoJo awards ceremony, Welsh singer Duffy attempted to say hello to Lydon when, according to her; "I was literally slammed against the wall, pinned by his arm at my throat.
    More Details Hide Details He called me a cunt." Other reports indicate a slightly different scenario, with one stating that Lydon "was being interviewed and he had his back to (the) door and she banged into him and then grabbed him. He then turned round in no uncertain terms to tell her to back off him". Lydon later claimed he had not realised who Duffy was, saying: "people are trying to pin something on me. I don't know who this Duffy person is, or why she'd want to get publicity from this. I was doing an interview and she came up behind me—I didn't see anything. I've been with my wife for 30 years and I've been brought up to be polite and have respect for people, especially women." Adam Sherwin of The Times witnessed the incident and has given an account which differs from that offered by Lydon, placing the blame for the physical assault on Lydon's personal assistant.
    On 23 January 2008 Lydon was reportedly involved in a physical assault in Marina del Rey.
    More Details Hide Details Roxane Davis, who was a talent producer for the television program Bodog Battle Of The Bands, claimed that she was punched in the face by Lydon after being shouted at and called a "cunt" several times. On 28 January 2010 Davis's lawyers filed papers in Los Angeles Superior Court stating that the case was resolved, although no terms were divulged. Bloc Party singer Kele Okereke claims he was left with severe facial bruising and a split lip following what he alleges was a verbal and physical racist assault by three members of Lydon's entourage. The incident occurred on the evening of 19 July 2008 at the Summercase festival in Barcelona while the bands were socialising backstage. In a statement to NME, Lydon denied the allegations of his involvement in this assault. After the report, Super Furry Animals lead singer Gruff Rhys came forward in support of Okereke's claim, saying "the statements Kele has said are absolutely true, it did happen."
  • 2007
    Age 51
    In September 2007, Lydon announced that the Sex Pistols would play a concert for the 30th anniversary of Never Mind the Bollocks at the Brixton Academy in London on 8 November 2007.
    More Details Hide Details Due to popular demand, four additional concerts were added, as well as further shows in Manchester and Glasgow. The Sex Pistols appeared at the Isle of Wight Festival 2008 as the headlining act on Saturday night. They also appeared at the Peace & Love Festival (Sweden), Electric Picnic (Ireland), Lokerse Feesten festival in Lokeren (Belgium), the Live at Loch Lomond Festival (Scotland), Heineken Open'er Festival (Gdynia, Poland), Paredes de Coura Festival (Portugal), Traffic Free Festival (Turin, Italy), Nova Rock Festival (Nickelsdorf, Austria), SZIGET Fesztival (Budapest, Hungary) and EXIT festival (Serbia), the same summer.
    In June 2007, Lydon, Jones and Cook re-recorded "Pretty Vacant" in a Los Angeles studio for the video game Skate and, in a radio interview in the same month, Lydon announced that the Sex Pistols may perform again over the Christmas period.
    More Details Hide Details They also re-recorded "Anarchy in the UK" for the video game Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock.
  • 2004
    Age 48
    In 2004, Lydon publicly refused to allow the Rhino record label to include any Sex Pistols songs on its box set No Thanks!: The 70s Punk Rebellion. In 2006, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted the Sex Pistols, but the band refused to attend the ceremony or acknowledge the induction, complaining that they had been asked for large sums of money to attend.
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    In a February 2004 interview with the Scottish Sunday Mirror, Lydon said that he and his wife "should be dead", since on 21 December 1988, thanks to delays caused by his wife's packing, they missed the doomed Pan Am Flight 103.
    More Details Hide Details During this interview, Lydon said that the real reason that he left Get Me Out of Here! was his fear over the Pan Am incident and the "appalling" refusal of the programme-makers to let him know whether his wife had arrived safely in Australia. In an interview previous to the show's first episode, he had described it as "moronic", and throughout the show's run he had displayed an indifferent attitude to staying and threatened to walk out on numerous occasions. 30 hours after ex-football star Neil Ruddock's departure, Lydon left the show for unclear reasons, although he had been very visibly angry both to and about fellow star Jordan. British newspapers claimed that Lydon had won a £100 bet with Ruddock over who would stay in the longest. However, Lydon stated on-air that he felt he would win outright and that it would be unfair to the other celebrities for him to win.
    In January 2004, Lydon appeared on the British reality television programme I'm a Celebrity...
    More Details Hide Details Get Me Out of Here!, which took place in Australia. He proved he still had the capability to shock by calling the show's viewers "fucking cunts" during a live broadcast. The television regulator and ITV, the channel broadcasting the show, between them received 91 complaints about Lydon's language.
  • 2003
    Age 47
    In 2003 Lydon appeared as a panelist on an episode of Richard Belzer's ill-fated conspiracy-themed panel show, The Belzer Connection.
    More Details Hide Details The episode in question posed the query, "Was there a conspiracy involved in the death of Princess Diana?" For his part, Lydon responded to suggestions of British Royal Family involvement by proclaiming "If the Royal Family was going to assassinate someone, they would have gotten rid of me a long time ago." The series ran for only two episodes.
  • 2000
    Age 44
    In 2000, Lydon hosted Rotten TV, a short-lived show on VH1.
    More Details Hide Details The show offered his acerbic commentary on American politics and pop culture. In one segment he attempted to take Neil Young to task for not appearing on the show, making fun of Young's singing style and pointing out that Young had once proclaimed Johnny Rotten "the king" in the song "Hey Hey, My My (Into The Black)".
  • 1997
    Age 41
    Also in 1997, Lydon claimed that Keith Flint of the electronic group the Prodigy was copying him, saying "Yeah look, he's got my hair, he's got my accent, ha ha ha ha!" He later went on to call The Prodigy, who had at this stage begun to move into the punk scene (especially Flint), "a really good pop band", which is usually considered an insult to punks.
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    In November 1997, Lydon appeared on Judge Judy fighting a suit filed by his former tour drummer Robert Williams for breach of contract, assault and battery.
    More Details Hide Details Lydon won the case, although Judge Judy Sheindlin was not overly impressed with Lydon's antics and told him to keep quiet several times.
    In 1997 Lydon released a solo album on Virgin Records called Psycho's Path.
    More Details Hide Details He wrote all the songs and played all the instruments. In one song, "Sun", he sang the vocals through a toilet roll. It did not sell particularly well and received mixed reviews from critics. The US version included a Chemical Brothers remix of the song "Open Up" by Leftfield with vocals by Lydon. This song is heard during the title menu of the computer game All Star Baseball 2000 (Acclaim Entertainment). It was also a club hit in the US and a big hit in the UK. John Lydon has recorded a second solo-album but it has not been released, except for one song that appeared on The Best of British £1 Notes.
  • 1993
    Age 37
    In 1993, Lydon's first autobiography, Rotten: No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs, was published.
    More Details Hide Details Aided by Keith and Kent Zimmerman, and featuring contributions from figures including Paul Cook, Chrissie Hynde, Billy Idol and Don Letts, the work covered his life up until the collapse of the Sex Pistols. Describing the book, he stated that it "is as close to the truth as one can get, looking back on events from the inside. All the people in this book were actually there, and this book is as much their point of view as it is mine. This means contradictions and insults have not been edited, and neither have the compliments, if any. I have no time for lies or fantasy, and neither should you. Enjoy or die." In December 2005, Lydon told Q that he is working on a second autobiography to cover the PiL years. In the mid-1990s, Lydon hosted Rotten Day, a daily syndicated US radio feature written by George Gimarc. The format of the show was a look back at events in popular music and culture occurring on the particular broadcast calendar date about which Lydon would offer cynical commentary. The show was originally developed as a radio vehicle for Gimarc's book, Punk Diary 1970–79, but after bringing Lydon onboard it was expanded to cover notable events from most of the second half of the 20th century.
    After this album, in 1993, Lydon put PiL on indefinite hiatus.
    More Details Hide Details
    Although never as controversial or commercially successful as the Sex Pistols, the band produced eight albums and a string of singles, including "Public Image", "Death Disco", and "Rise", before they went on hiatus in 1993, reforming in 2009.
    More Details Hide Details In subsequent years, Lydon has hosted television shows in the UK, US, and Belgium, as well as writing two autobiographies: Rotten: No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs (1993), Anger is an Energy (2014), and producing some solo musical work, such as the album Psycho's Path (1997). In 2005, he released a compilation album, The Best of British £1 Notes. There has been a recent revival of a 1980s movement to have Lydon knighted for his achievements with the Sex Pistols, even though he has declined efforts to award him an MBE for his services to music. In 2002, he was named among the 100 Greatest Britons following a UK-wide vote. Q Magazine remarked that "somehow he's assumed the status of national treasure". When my parents came over from Ireland they became intrinsically working class English.
  • 1992
    Age 36
    In 1992 Lydon, Dias and McGeoch were joined by Curt Bisquera on drums and Gregg Arreguin on rhythm guitar for the album That What Is Not.
    More Details Hide Details This album also features the Tower of Power horns on two songs and Jimmie Wood on harmonica. Lydon, McGeoch and Dias also wrote the song "Criminal" for the movie Point Break.
  • 1987
    Age 31
    In 1987 a new lineup was formed consisting of Lydon, former Magazine, Siouxsie and the Banshees and the Armoury Show guitarist John McGeoch, Allan Dias on bass guitar in addition to drummer Bruce Smith and Lu Edmunds.
    More Details Hide Details This lineup released Happy? and all except Lu Edmunds released the album 9 in 1989.
  • 1984
    Age 28
    It was arranged by Laswell after Lydon and Bambaataa had acknowledged respect for each other's work, as described in an interview from 1984:
    More Details Hide Details The single also featured Bernie Worrell, Nicky Skopelitis and Aïyb Dieng, all of whom would later play on PiL's Album; Laswell also played bass and produced. In 1986 Public Image Limited released Album (also known as Compact Disc and Cassette). Most of the tracks on this album were written by Lydon and Bill Laswell. The musicians were session musicians including bassist Jonas Hellborg, guitarist Steve Vai and Cream drummer Ginger Baker.
    In 1984, Lydon worked with Time Zone on their single "World Destruction".
    More Details Hide Details A collaboration between Lydon, Afrika Bambaataa and producer/bassist Bill Laswell, the single was an early example of "rap rock", along with Run-DMC. The song appears on Afrika Bambaataa's 1997 compilation album Zulu Groove.
  • 1983
    Age 27
    In 1983, Lydon co-starred with Harvey Keitel in the movie thriller Corrupt, a.k.a.
    More Details Hide Details Copkiller and The Order of Death. He had a small role in the 2000 film The Independent.
  • 1978
    Age 22
    In 1978, Lydon formed the post-punk outfit Public Image Limited (PiL).
    More Details Hide Details PiL lasted for 14 years with Lydon as the only consistent member. The first lineup of the band included bassist Jah Wobble and former Clash guitarist Keith Levene. They released the albums Public Image (also known as First Issue), Metal Box and Paris in the Spring (live). Wobble then left and Lydon and Levene made The Flowers of Romance. Then came This Is What You Want This Is What You Get featuring Martin Atkins on drums (he had also appeared on Metal Box and The Flowers of Romance); it featured their biggest hit, "This Is Not a Love song", which hit No. 5 in 1983.
    Lydon closed the final Sid Vicious-era Sex Pistols concert in San Francisco's Winterland in January 1978 with a rhetorical question to the audience: "Ever get the feeling you've been cheated?" Shortly thereafter, McLaren, Jones, and Cook went to Brazil to meet and record with former train robber Ronnie Biggs.
    More Details Hide Details Lydon declined to go, deriding the concept as a whole and feeling that they were attempting to make a hero out of a criminal who attacked a train driver and stole "working-class money". The Sex Pistols' disintegration was documented in Julian Temple's satirical pseudo-biographical film, The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle, in which Jones, Cook and Vicious each played a character. Matlock only appeared in previously recorded live footage and as an animation and did not participate personally. Lydon refused to have anything to do with The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle, feeling that McLaren had far too much control over the project. Although Lydon was highly critical of the film, many years later he agreed to let Temple direct the Sex Pistols documentary The Filth and the Fury. That film included new interviews with the band members' faces hidden in silhouette. It featured an uncharacteristically emotional Lydon choking up as he discussed Vicious' decline and death. Lydon denounced previous journalistic works regarding the Sex Pistols in the introduction to his autobiography, Rotten – No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs, which he described as "as close to the truth as one can get".
  • 1977
    Age 21
    At the time, August 1977, Lydon commented: "Turn the other cheek too often and you get a razor through it."
    More Details Hide Details Lydon was also interested in dub music. McLaren was said to have been upset when Lydon revealed during a radio interview that his influences included progressive experimentalists like Magma, Can, Captain Beefheart and Van der Graaf Generator. Tensions between Lydon and bassist Glen Matlock arose. The reasons for this are disputed, but Lydon claimed in his autobiography that he believed Matlock to be too white-collar and middle-class and that Matlock was "always going on about nice things like the Beatles". Matlock stated in his own autobiography that most of the tension in the band, and between himself and Lydon, was orchestrated by McLaren. Matlock quit and as a replacement, Lydon recommended his school friend John Simon Ritchie AKA Sid Vicious. Although Ritchie was an incompetent bassist, McLaren agreed that he had the look the band wanted: pale, emaciated, spike-haired, with ripped clothes and a perpetual sneer.
  • 1975
    Age 19
    In 1975 Lydon was among a group of youths who regularly hung around Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood's fetish clothing shop SEX.
    More Details Hide Details McLaren had returned from a brief stint travelling with American protopunk band the New York Dolls, and he was working on promoting a new band formed by Steve Jones, Glen Matlock and Paul Cook called the Sex Pistols. McLaren was impressed with Lydon's ragged look and unique sense of style, particularly his orange hair and modified Pink Floyd T-shirt (with the band members' eyes scratched out and the words I Hate scrawled in felt-tip pen above the band's logo). After tunelessly singing Alice Cooper's "I'm Eighteen" to the accompaniment of the shop's jukebox, Lydon was chosen as the band's frontman. In 1977, the band released "God Save the Queen" during the week of Queen Elizabeth II's Silver Jubilee.
  • 1956
    Age 0
    John Joseph Lydon was born in London on 31 January 1956.
    More Details Hide Details His parents, Eileen Lydia (née Barry) and John Christopher Lydon, were working-class immigrants from Ireland who moved into a two-room Victorian flat in Benwell Road, in the Holloway area of north London. The flat is adjacent to the Emirates Stadium, the current home of Premier League football club Arsenal F.C. whom Lydon has been an avid fan of since the age of four. At the time, the area was largely impoverished, with a high crime rate and a population predominantly comprising working-class Irish and Jamaican people. Lydon spent summer holidays in his mother's native County Cork, where he also allegedly suffered abuse and name-calling for having an English accent, a prejudice he claims he still receives today even though he travels under an Irish passport. John, the eldest of four brothers, had to look after his siblings due to his mother's regular illnesses. As a child, he lived on the edge of an industrial estate and would often play with friends in the factories when they were closed. He belonged to a local gang of neighbourhood kids and would often end up in fights with other groups, something he would later look back on with fond memories: "Hilarious fiascoes, not at all like the knives and guns of today. The meanness wasn't there. It was more like yelling, shouting, throwing stones, and running away giggling. Maybe the reality was coloured by my youth."
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