Public Image Ltd
Public Image b/w The Cowboy Song
Format: 12" Vinyl
Label: Light In The Attic
Release type: RSD Exclusive Release
* Official Record Store Day 2013 Exclusive
* Limited edition of 4,000, hand-numbered copies
* Exact reproduction of original fold-out newsprint sleeve
* First time available in U.S.
* NOT AVAILABLE IN THE UK
“I’m not the same as when I began/I will not be treated as property.”
For Record Store Day 2013, Light In The Attic is set to issue one of the 20th century’s pivotal singles: the debut UK 7” by Public Image Ltd., never before available in the U.S.
In 1976, Johnny Rotten set the agenda for punk music’s year zero with ‘Anarchy In The UK’, a song that summed up the band’s spirit, sound and attitude in one shocking package. Two years later, The Sex Pistols were in tatters, but Rotten was as unsentimental as you’d hope. He reclaimed his real name – John Lydon – and set about forming a band whose very identity kicked against the media manipulating and manipulated Pistols – his new group was Public Image Ltd.
PiL were a very distinct prospect from the Pistols, founded with a greater thought for rhythm, and with a sound that turned the page from snarling punk to a new racket informed by reggae and world music.
But that’s not to say Lydon’s new outfit lacked vitriol. ‘Public Image’ hits out against the exploitative nature of former manager Malcolm McLaren, against the notorious British tabloid press, who never gave Lydon an easy ride, and against his own Sex Pistols bandmates.“[The Sex Pistols] never bothered to listen to what I was fucking singing, they don’t even know the words to my songs,” Lydon has said. “They never bothered to listen, it was like, ’Here’s a tune, write some words to it.’ So I did. They never questioned it. I found that offensive, it meant I was literally wasting my time, ‘cause if you ain’t working with people that are on the same level then you ain’t doing anything.”
It’s a debut single that operated as a theme song and a manifesto: “…my entrance/My own creation/My grand finale/My goodbye,” as the lyrics had it.
For this one time pressing, we are re-releasing this landmark single in an exact reproduction of its original ‘newspaper’ sleeve mocking the infamous ‘red top’ tabloids (its ‘stories’ included “The Girl Who Drove Me To Tea, by Donut’s wife Carol,” Donut being drummer Jim Walker). The B-side, “The Cowboy Song”, included here, revels in Lydon’s newfound sense of freedom that he found with bassist Jah Wobble, drummer Walker and guitarist Keith Levine. It is, essentially, the sound of four people letting loose in a studio – and to hell with the listener. They played it – twice – at their debut gig.
LITA’s exploration of Public Image’s catalog, expressly for the U.S. market, will continue later this year, with the re-release of the group’s debut album First Issue, from which ‘Public Image’ was taken, in an expanded, 2xCD and Single LP edition with various bonus material including an almost hour-long audio interview circa 1978.
1. Public Image
2. The Cowboy Song