PUBLIC IMAGE LTD Released Perplexing Debut Longplayer ‘FIRST ISSUE’ 40 Years Ago…

Going back in sonic history looking for memorable albums…

7 December 2018



Released: 8 December 1978 – 40 years ago

ALL MUSIC wrote: “Like it or not, Public Image Limited’s First Issue (aka Public Image) was an album that helped set the pace for what eventually became known as post-punk. In England a vacuum had opened up in the wake of the breakup of the Sex Pistols in January 1978, and many punk fans and rival groups were impatient to see what ex-Sex Pistols frontman John Lydon aka “Johnny Rotten” was going to roll out next. Disheartened owing to events in his legal proceedings against the Sex Pistols management company Glitterbest, and disgusted by the punk scene in general, Lydon was determined to create something that was neither punk nor even really rock as it was known in 1978. Working with ex-Clash guitarist Keith Levene, first-time bassist Jah Wobble, and Canadian drummer Jim Walker, Public Image Limited produced an album that represented the punk sound after it had shot itself in the head and became another entity entirely. Embracing elements of dub, progressive rock, noise, and atonality and driven by Lydon’s lyrical egoism and predilection towards doom, death, and horror, ‘First Issue’ was
among a select few 1978 albums that had something lasting to say about the future of rock music. And not everyone in 1978 wanted to hear it; contemporary critical notices for ‘First
Issue’ were almost uniformly negative in the extreme.”
– Full review here – Score: 4/5

TURN UP THE VOLUME! says: After the “Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?” fiasco gig in San Francisco back in early ’74 Johnny Rotten Lydon must have thought something like: ‘Never mind the commercial bollocks, I’m off and I will never ever make another fucking Sex Pistols album‘. Yes, indeed, instead of cashing in on the Pistols‘ filth and fury (which he did much later!!) he went on an experimental odyssey with his new company featuring musical maestro Keith Levene, awesome bass player Jah Wobble and drummer Jim Walker. Besides the stunning single ‘Public Image‘ the first PIL longplayer was a baffling, uneasy, yet truly fascinating melting pot of bass excess, synths explorations, wayward noise dissection, freakish dub and Lydon‘s creepy voice. Perplexing stuff!

THREE TOP TRACKS: Public Image / Religion II / Fodderstompf




FIRST ISSUE in full…

P.I.L: Website – Facebook – All Albums

Striking Singles Turning 40 In 2018 – Here Are TURN UP THE VOLUME’S 10 Winners…

Going back in sonic history…

1978 was one of the highlight years
for stand out punk/new wave singles
Really tough to choose only ten!
top picks (some great sleeves too)

1/ ‘Hong Kong Garden’ by SIOUXSIE AND THE BANSHEES
Oriental riffs and Siouxsie‘s pitch black voice…
Released: 18 August 1978 – debut single

2/ ‘(White Man) In Hammersmith Palais’ by THE CLASH
Barbed wire reggae à la The Clash
Released: 16 June 1978

3/ ‘Public Image’ by PUBLIC IMAGE LTD
Goodbye Pistols, hello PIL
Released: 13 October 1978 – debut single

4/ ‘Damaged Goods’ by GANG OF FOUR
The band’s smashing debut 45…
Released: 13 October 1978

5/ ‘Where Were You’ by THE MEKONS
Explosive like a molotov cocktail…

6/ ‘Pump It Up’ by ELVIS COSTELLO
Costello‘s sex song…
Released: 28 April 1978

7/ ‘Shot By Both Sides’ by MAGAZINE
Howard Devoto‘s glorious paranoia stroke…
Released: 20 January 1978

8/ ‘Down In The Tube Station At Midnight’ by THE JAM
Molestation in the London Underground…
Released: 13 October 1978

9/ ‘Ambition’ by SUBWAY SECT
Founder Vic Godard was a underrated genius…

10/ ‘Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve) by BUZZC0CKS
One of their many speedy pop punk crackers…