Disc 1: Singles 1978-1989 / Disc 2: Singles 1989-2015 / Disc 3: B-sides / Discs 4 & 5: 12 Mixes & Dance Tracks / Disc 6: Unreleased Mixes and Tracks / The set also includes a 72 page book, poster, prints and is packaged in a unique debossed black and gold foil box. Also available on CD.
After walking away from the Sex Pistols in January 1978, John Lydon wasted no time in setting up a new band recruiting Keith Levene (original Clash guitarist), his friend Jah Wobble on bass and from auditions, Canadian drummer, Jim Walker. Before the end of the year Public Image Ltd released their debut single (“Public Image”) and album (‘First Issue’). Apart from Levene’s icy guitars, the new band owed little to the classic ‘punk’ sound with Wobble’s rumbling bass and Walker’s solid rhythms, topped off with Lydon’s distinctive vocals.
Walker was the first to walk away in early 1979 and after a procession of drummers, they settled on Martin Atkins by the end of the year, by which time they had completed their second album ‘Metal Box’. Seen as their best album, originally housed three LP’s in a metal film can, they had refined their sound and pushed it further with synths.
Wobble was next to leave after a US tour in 1980 and the following year Lydon and Levene issued ‘Flowers Of Romance’ their most uncompromising album. Featuring mainly drums and not much else they promoted the record with a legendary gig at the Ritz in New York where the band performed behind a screen and proceeded to goad and berate the audience who rioted and consequently led to the bands withdrawal from the scene.
They returned in late 1982 with a new bass player and played new material alongside the older stuff. A dispute regarding a tour of Japan led to Levene leaving the group in spring 1983 and then one of their new songs was issued as a single which became their biggest hit: “This Is Not A Love Song” hitting No.5.
Lydon and Atkins hired a new band for various dates in 1983 before recording their fourth album which was issued in 1984 although ‘This Is What You Want This Is What You Get’ was a flop. After Atkins finally quit in 1985, Pil became the John Lydon Band and from 1985 to 1992 they issued four albums which followed a general ‘rock’ sound but Lydon had formed a fairly stable line-up during this period with former Magazine and Siouxsie and the Banshees guitarist John McGeogh his main musical ally.
After limited success with record sales although remaining a popular live draw, Lydon put Pil to bed after promoting their eighth studio album ‘That Is What You Want’ in 1992. Following 15 years of various projects including re-forming the Sex Pistols, books, TV appearances, solo records and more, Lydon formed a new line-up of Pil in 2009 with former late 80s members Lu Edmonds and Bruce Smith and new bass player Scott Firth. They have released two albums so far and this box set is the first to cover these new songs alongside the old classics.