John Lydon

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About John Lydon

John Lydon embodied punk rock’s abrasive allure as the frontman of the Sex Pistols and then radically reimagined what a rock band could be with Public Image Ltd. Born in London in 1956, Lydon dropped out of Kingsway College and joined the Pistols in 1975. A working-class antihero possessing boundless belligerent charisma, he wrote the lyrics to the Pistols’ controversial 1977 debut single, “God Save the Queen,” as well as the lion’s share of the group’s infinitely influential (and sole) album, Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols. Lydon left the Pistols in 1978 and introduced Public Image Ltd.’s persuasive blend of fractured guitar, dubwise bass, and hectoring, mantra-like vocals later that year. PIL’s various configurations explored arabesque arrangements, New York dance music, and avant-garde dissonance on a series of challenging yet captivating releases, including Second Edition (1979), The Flowers of Romance (1981), and Album (1986). Lydon released a surprisingly restrained solo album, Psycho’s Path, in 1997, and has toured with both his bands—while steadily dispensing controversial sound bites—well into the 21st century.

Finsbury Park, London, England
January 31, 1956
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