689. ease

Nobody saw this coming in the mid-1980s. Public Image Ltd (aka whatever original Sex Pistol John Lydon feels like doing) hooks up with Bill Laswell, Ginger Baker, Riuchi Sakamoto, Stevie Vai (and more) and cranks out the closest thing to a proper Led Zeppelin planet cruncher that anybody’d heard since Physical Graffiti. The album was called Album (unless you bought it in cassette or CD format) and Ease was the furthest it went toward setting the atmosphere on fire.

PIL-1986

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966. warrior

By 1989, Public Image Ltd weren’t exactly redefining the zeitgeist anymore. In fact, it’s arguable they weren’t really a band anymore – just John Lydon‘s personal project. Which, in the case of Warrior, seemed to be about proving that he could rock at least as big as U2 (or whoever) and succeeding, with the best version a remix that’s now almost impossible to find, probably because of the sample of Old Lodge Skins himself laying down his humble but fierce warrior prayer.

PIL-warrior

998. blue water

“As the story goes, when Keith Levene split Public Image Ltd, he did so with a few recent master recordings under his arm. Which is a good thing. Else we probably would never have heard the likes of Blue Water, which first showed up as a b-side in 1983.  Deep and weird and exactly the kind of thing you wanted cranked to the nines on your ghetto blaster when the drugs were all kicking in and you had an abandoned house to explore up the seashore a ways.  Nobody was afraid of ghosts in the 80s.  The real world was putting them all to shame.” (Philip Random)

PIL-live