Light in the Attic, the Seattle label that reintroduced us to Rodriguez, has quite a title on hand for their 100th reissue: the first-ever U.S. release of the debut album by Public Image Ltd. as an expanded CD or LP set.
Public Image Ltd. was the brainchild of John Lydon, the iconoclastic British punk who’d set the world ablaze as Johnny Rotten with his previous band, The Sex Pistols, in 1977. The band had imploded not long after releasing the iconic Never Mind The Bollocks Here’s The Sex Pistols, but Lydon soldiered on with a new band, comprised of guitarist Keith Levene, bassist Jah Wobble and drummer Jim Walker. Together, the music of PiL was far more diverse, integrating elements of punk, folk and dub in a rhythmic stew. But it was no less agitated.
First Issue, the band’s first album, included the savage single “Public Image,” a modest hit, but critics weren’t sure what to make of the album’s sonic critique of the state of rock and roll until years later. PiL would endure a lot of stylistic and personnel changes until Lydon broke up the band in 1992; they reformed years later and released their most recent LP last year.
As is appropriate for this Light in the Attic landmark, First Issue – which was never released in the U.S. (the band’s label Warner Bros. paid for the band to re-record parts of the record to attract a wider audience, but those recordings remain lost to the sands of time) – gets a lavish deluxe edition on both CD and vinyl. The former set will be two discs, pairing the original album with a bonus disc featuring non-LP B-side “The Cowboy Song” and a complete, hourlong interview with Lydon conducted for the BBC in October 1978. The package will also feature two stickers, all housed in a mini-LP replica tip-on gatefold jacket. The LP will feature the audio extras on a download card, and will feature “an archive replica fold-out poster, two stickers, and archive replica newsprint adverts and lyrics insert” inside the gatefold jacket. Additionally, web-exclusive bundles will include both packages along with a set of buttons and replica of an original PiL patch.
The whole affair has the approval of Lydon and his team, so you can get this without worrying about an angry letter arriving at your door. Both sets will be in stores June 18. Amazon links have yet to go live, but you can order direct from the label now.
Public Image Ltd., First Issue: Deluxe Edition (Light in the Attic, 2013)
Disc 1: Original LP (released as Virgin V-2114, 1978)
- Religion I
- Religion II
- Public Image
- Low Life
Disc 2: Bonus material
- The Cowboy Song (B-side to “Public Image” – Virgin VS-228 (U.K.), 1978)
- Interview with John Lydon, BBC Radio, October 1978 (previously unreleased)