First Issue

First Issue

Though The Sex Pistols had been considered shocking as one of the first British punk bands, John Lydon (the former Johnny Rotten) went for the jugular with his next project, Public Image Ltd. In the process, he made several albums that stand among the building blocks of post-punk. First Issue, released in the U.K. in December 1978, didn't get an official U.S. release until 2013. Here, only the single "Public Image" and "Low Life" sport hooks with commercial potential; they're from original Clash guitarist Keith Levene, whose chiming guitar patterns would inspire U2's The Edge, among others. The remainder of the album (including the bonus track "Cowboy Song," the b-side to "Public Image") is a deliberate abrasion, a raw statement of anti–rock 'n' roll. Bassist Jah Wobble, learning on the job, used his interests in dub reggae to inspire his hypnotic patterns and the music's sonic depth, which worried original label engineers. "Fodderstompf"—initially considered eight minutes of filler—became popular in clubs. The relentless pound of "Annalisa" and "Theme" and the deliberately offensive "Religion" (I and II)" made this a highly influential album for future generations. 

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