A book review by Dawoud Kringle
Virgin Records asked Lydon to go to Jamaica and assist with the reggae bands they were working with. This, like the American tour, proved an eye opening experience for Lydon. It exposed him to cultures that he’d never experienced or imagined, and expanded his perception of music, and humanity. From this, and his closing the chapter of the Sex Pistols in his life, Public Image Limited was born.
Public Image Limited (PiL) was an important step for Lydon. It afforded him the opportunity for an expanded rage of artistic and conceptions / lyrical expression. It also paved the way for Lydon’s adamant and inflexible refusal to be pigeonholed, labeled, and classified as an artist and a man. His songwriting expanded into the use of a variety of interesting concepts (a few examples: on “Poptones,” Lydon placed himself in the mind of a then highly publicized rape victim. On “Careering” he attacked both sides of the conflicts in North Ireland for allowing violence to escalate out of control over religious differences). Musically, Lydon and company were daring to experiment artistically and push the envelope well beyond the limits of the punk genre he was credited with founding.