Public Image Ltd. Detail Extravagant Reissues This Fall - Rolling Stone
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Public Image Ltd. Detail Extravagant ‘Metal Box’ and ‘Album’ Reissues

Box sets will contain copious outtakes, live performances and other miscellany from around each release

Public Image Ltd reissuesPublic Image Ltd reissues

Public Image Ltd. will reissue their 'Metal Box' and 'Album' releases as extravagant box sets this fall.

Virginia Turbett/Getty

Public Image Ltd., the post-punk group John Lydon formed after quitting the Sex Pistols, will release extravagant deluxe editions of two of their most celebrated LPs, 1979’s Metal Box and 1986’s Album, this fall. Both will be available in four-CD and four-LP sets and will feature outtakes, B sides, alternate mixes, live recordings demos and other miscellany in addition to remastered versions of each of the original records; digital editions will also be available. They are available for preorder and will come out officially on October 28th.

Metal Box originally came out as a set of three 12-inch records in November 1979 and was housed in a film canister made by London’s Metal Box Company. The music was more oblique than what was on the group’s debut, 1978’s First Issue, and found the group exploring more experimental territory.

The CD version of the box set will come in a square metal box and contain the original album, a disc of B sides, mixes and radio sessions, another containing unreleased mixes and a final disc sporting the band’s performance at Russell’s Club (the Factory) in Manchester in June 1979. The vinyl edition will contain less than that – the original album on two discs, the live concert and an LP of rarities – but will include a download card to access all of the music in the CD version.

“I wanted a different mentality,” Lydon said of his intention with Metal Box in an interview with Rolling Stone last year. “I wanted to challenge people. We weren’t limited by structure. In the Pistols, it was a mentality of verse-chorus-verse-chorus–the end. Everything short, sharp and sweet. PiL? Well, we had no limits in that respect. The biggest limit, of course, is when you present the record company … They found it very hard to like what I was getting up to.”

Album, which came out in February 1986, was a relatively more traditional affair and featured the anthemic “Rise.” Bill Laswell produced the sessions, which featured performances by Ginger Baker, Steve Vai, Ryuichi Sakomoto, Bernie Worrell, Tony Williams and others. They recorded its seven tracks in three weeks and mixed it in four.

The super deluxe version contains four CDs housed in a cardboard set with debossed artwork. The first disc contains the album remastered, the second is a live recording from London in 1986, the third is mixes and outtakes and the final disc is the demos Lydon recorded with the 1985 lineup of the PiL band, as well as 12-inch mixes of his recordings with Afrika Bambaataa. The vinyl edition lacks the concert recording, but again contains a download card. Both editions contain a 72-page booklet with a poster and postcards in the CD veriosn and art prints in the LP version.

Lydon told Rolling Stone last year that the record label was surprised to discover who the musicians were on Album after it dropped Public Image Ltd. “Egg on face,” Lydon said. “But there we have it: The lack of foresight in large record companies, it was always alarming.”

A limited quantity of super deluxe editions will contain an insert signed by Lydon. Ordering information is on the band’s website.

Metal Box Super Deluxe Edition CD Track List:

Disc 1:
Remastered album

1. “Albatross”
2. “Memories”
3. “Swan Lake (Death Disco)”
4. “Poptones”
5. “Careering”
6. “No Birds Do Sing”
7. “Graveyard”
8. “The Suit”
9. “Bad Baby”
10. “Socialist”
11. “Chant”
12. “Radio 4”

Disc 2:
B sides, mixes and radio sessions

1. “Death Disco” (seven-inch edit)
2. “Death Disco” (12-inch edit)
3. “Half Mix / Megga Mix” (B side)
4. “Death Disco” – BBC TV, Top of the Pops July 12/7/79
5. “Memories” 12-inch
6. “Another” (B side)
7. “Poptones” – BBCRadio 1, John Peel Sessions 1979
8. “Careering” – BBC Radio 1, John Peel Sessions 1979
9. “Chant” – BBC Radio 1, John Peel Sessions 1979
10. “Poptones” – BBC TV, Old Grey Whistle Test 5/2/80 (audio)
11. “Careering” – BBC TV, Old Grey Whistle Test 5/2/80 (audio)
12. “Pied Piper” (rare compilation-only track)

Disc 3:
Unreleased mixes

1. “Poptones” (version 3) (unreleased)
2. “Swan Lake” (monitor mix)
3. “Albatross” (monitor mix) (alternative mix)
4. “Swan Lake” (“master”) (alternative mix) (unreleased)
5. “Unknown INST Jam 1” (“Chant”) (unreleased)
6. “Unknown Jam 2” (“Megachant”) (unreleased)
7. “Music From an Oven” (aka “Memories”) (unreleased)
8. “Radio 4” (“symphony suite”) (unreleased)
9. “Home Is Where the Heart Is” (original mix) (unreleased)
10. “Unknown INST 2” (unreleased)

Disc 4:
Live at Manchester, Russell’s Club (The Factory) 18/6/79 (unreleased)

1. “Chant”
2. “Swan Lake” (aka “Death Disco”)
3. “Memories”
4. “Public Image
5. “Annalisa”
6. “No Birds Do Sing”

Album Super Deluxe Edition CD Track List:

Disc 1:
Remastered album

1. “FFF”
2. “Rise”
3. “Fishing”
4. “Round”
5. “Bags”
6. “Home”
7. “Ease”

Disc 2:
Live at Brixton Academy 27.5.86 (unreleased)

1. “Kashmir”
2. “FFF”
3. “Low Life”
4. “Fishing”
5. “Poptones”
6. “Pretty Vacant”
7. “Banging the Door”
8. “Flowers of Romance”
9. “Bags”
10. “Round”
11. “Home”
12. “Public Image”
13. “Rise”
14. “Annalisa”

Disc 3:
Various, mixes and outtakes

1. “Things in E” (aka “Ease”) (alternative Laswell mix) (1986) (unreleased)
2. “Rise” (seven-inch edit)
3. “Rise” (instrumental)
4. “Home” (seven-inch edit)
5. “Rise” (Bob Clearmountain remix)
6. “Home” – BBC TV, Old Grey Whistle Test 20/5/86 (audio)
7. “Round” – BBC TV, Old Grey Whistle Test 20/5/86 (audio)
8. “Time Zone – World Destruction” (12”) (bonus track)
9.”Time Zone – World Destruction” (Industrial Remix) (bonus track)

Disc 4:
Original 1985 Album demos

1. “Animal” (unreleased)
2. “Black Rubber Bags” (aka “Bags”) (unreleased)
3. “European Car”s (aka “Round”) (unreleased)
4. “Fairwell Fairweather Friend” (aka “FFF”) (unreleased)
5. “Pearls Before Swine” (aka “Fishing”) (unreleased)
6. “Things in E” (aka “Ease”) (instrumental) (unreleased)
7. “Ben Hur” (unreleased) (instrumental) (unreleased)
8. “Cats” (unreleased) (instrumental) (unreleased)
9. “Have a Nice Day” (unreleased) (instrumental) (unreleased)
10. “Untitled 3” (unreleased) (instrumental) (unreleased)
11. “Pearls Before Swine” (aka “Fishing”) (alternate mix) (incomplete) (unreleased)

Vinyl track lists are available on the band’s website.

In This Article: John Lydon, Public Image Ltd.


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