John Lydon, aka Johnny Rotten, Plays DJ And Skewers Bob Boilen

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Ozzy Osbourne in Black Sabbath (top left), Public Image Ltd. (top right), Jimi Hendrix (bottom left), Peter Cook and Dudley Moore (bottom right). hide caption

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Ozzy Osbourne in Black Sabbath (top left), Public Image Ltd. (top right), Jimi Hendrix (bottom left), Peter Cook and Dudley Moore (bottom right).

Public Image Ltd. was widely overlooked when it originally formed and released a string of records in the 1980s and early '90s. The band is the creative vision of John Lydon, not the angry punk he called "Johnny Rotten" in The Sex Pistols. When the latter band broke up, it was expected that any new group John Lydon fronted would play punk music. In fact, the first single from Public Image Ltd. pretty much was punk music; "Public Image" was straight out of the Sex Pistols bag of tricks. (Lydon, in fact, wrote the song when The Sex Pistols were still together.) But everything that came after that cut was different. The music was slower, more open and groove-based. The poetry and subject matter were different, too, and the singing, though distinctly Lydon, was more spacious. It was still in your face, but it wasn't ugly.

On this edition of All Songs Considered, John Lydon shares some of his favorite songs with host Bob Boilen, and gets in some memorable digs along the way. Lydon and the rest of Public Image Ltd. are currently on the band's first tour in nearly 20 years. You can hear the group in a full concert, webcast live on NPR Music Wednesday, beginning at 8 p.m. ET.

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John Lydon, aka Johnny Rotten, Plays DJ And Skewers Bob Boilen

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