Public Image (2:58)

Cover of Public Image

From Public Image and 32 other releases

The lyrics to this song refer heavily to singer John Lydon’s tenure in his previous band, punk rock pioneers The Sex Pistols. Lyrics such as “You don’t listen to a word I say / You only see me for the clothes I wear” indicate Lydon’s unhappiness with his experience in The Sex Pistols, and indicate that he felt that many Sex Pistols fans only liked the band for their image and paid no attention to their revolutionary message.

‘We were at rehearsal and it was really awful. Probably our first or second one. We just got Jim in the band so we had a group then. We’re playing away and nothing’s happening. It’s going really bad. Somehow we all managed to get onto something. Wobble was going da-da-da-da-da-da, da-da-da-da-da-da-da (the bass line for the song) and Jim was playing along. All I did was play the B chord all the way through. I went ‘STOP! Right, check this out. Wobble, do that bass line.’ So he did and I played that solo over it. I told John that he’d come in after we did it four times. Then I did the A and B (chords). As soon as I heard that guitar line, I had it. We never quite had it together. Even when we recorded it, we didn’t have it exactly the way we wanted until we edited about 2 inches out of a 24 track. It was a bold edit and it worked. Then that was it. I didn’t have to it again- I just took a bit out of the tape and that was the way it went.

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