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John Lydon

DESCRIPTION: John Lydon (AKA Johnny Rotten) is an iconic British singer-songwriter best known for his role as the lead singer of the Sex Pistols.


ACTIVITY PERIOD: 1975 - Current

MUSIC GENRE: Punk Rock, Post-Punk, Alternative Rock, Alternative Dance


MAIN INSTRUMENT: Vocals, Keyboards, Violin, Saxophone, Guitar, Bass

BANDS / OUTFITS: Sex Pistols, Public Image Ltd. Solo Artist

RECORD COMPANIES / LABELS (Current & Past): Virgin



The quintessential anti-hero of the punk rock movement which swept Britain and much of the rest of the world in the mid-late Seventies, he fronted the band Johnny Rotten and the Sex Pistols with wide-eyed snarling panache. Born into a working class London family, he was recruited by clothing shop proprieter and aspirant culture/anti-culture guru Malcolm McLaren, who was putting a band together. Dubbed Johnny Rotten because of the vexed state of his teeth, Lydon exploded onto the London scene in 1976-77 ranting to the raw, driving guitar sound of the definitive three-chord Pistols. Despite a press hue and cry, and bannned from mainsteam radio, nonetheless their politico-nihilist Anarchy In The UK became a runaway hit in 1976. More controversy followed in 1977 with the release of the monarchy-knocking & mocking God Save The Queen. Media dust-ups and street scuffles with indignant citizenry only heightened the public fascination with the spiky-haired punks with ripped clothes and safety pins through their ear-lobes. The band was always volatile, and broke up at the end of a predictably disastrous US tour in 1978. Later that year bass guitarist Sid Vicious was charged with the murder of his girlfriend Nancy Spungen at the Chelsea Hotel in New York, and he died from a drug overdose a few months later. Lydon went on to form the band Public Image Limited, which despite gaining a following and respectable album sales, never attained the electrifying force and furious passion of the Sex Pistols. How authentic that fury was, and how much of it was pure showbiz magic, perhaps not even Lydon himself could ever say.

By Larry Buttrose


Parent Category Page Links: Music Artists / Outfits - UK Major Musicians - UK

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