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Public Image Limited was founded in 1978 mere months after the chaotic demise of the Sex Pistols.
Public Image Limited wasfounded in 1978 mere months after the chaotic demise of the SexPistols. John Lydon started anew with friends Keith Levene and JahWobble (arguably the finest PiL line-up ever) as a hybridpunk/improvisational/experimental/dub outfit owing as much or more toCan and Lee Perry than the Pistols or any of the UK punk rock of theprevious few years. They continually changed their sound, ideas, imageand purpose (not to mention band members, including: Martin Atkins,Steve Vai and John McGeoch) throughout the next 15 years successfullytouching on a diverse array of styles: unclassifiable, pop, dance andhard rock/metal, all graced with Lydon's caterwaul vocals. Much of thismusic sounds as fresh and original as it did then, decades after thefact. "Plastic Box" takes the 1990 "The Greatest Hits ... So Far" bestof/singles collection and expands upon it greatly with 64 tracks on 4packed cds that collect much of the output between 1978 and 1992,including several rarities. Discs 1 and 2 give you all of the debutalbum "Public Image/First Issue" (save for "Fodderstompf"), all of"Flowers of Romance", about 1/2 of "Metal Box/Second Edition" (PiL'sfinest moment!), 3 live BBC session tracks from 1979, a rarecompilation only track ("Pied Piper") and various 7" and 12" B-sides.Discs 3 and 4 give you all of "This is What You Want ... This is WhatYou Get", all of "Album/Compact Disc/Cassette" (save for "Bags"),various tracks from the less than stellar mid to late '80s pop/dancealbums, a soundtrack only song ("Criminal") and 4 more live BBC sessiontracks ("That What is Not" songs) from 1992. Thankfully, nothing isincluded from the mediocre "Paris Au Printemps" and "Live in Tokyo"albums. The real treat here is for the hard core PiL collectors likemyself: the BBC sessions and the B-sides which were previouslyunreleased and previously unavailable on cd, respectively. The BBCsessions aren't too terribly different from the album versions and abit sloppy in places but they're still worth owning and many of thesingle B-sides are the strangest, most experimental output ever fromPiL. "Plastic Box" is relatively cheap at ~$54 and is definitely bestfor completists. If you're new to PiL give the easy to find "TheGreatest Hits.." a try first. The packaging is really cool: a doublethick jewel case with 'plastic box' and PiL logos emblazoned on thefront and back (each of the cds has a brightly colored PiL logo aswell) in a plastic slip case cover. The 36 page booklet contains bandand memorabilia pics, liner notes by Lydon with brief comments on eachtrack and an interesting declaration at the end: "And by the way, thiscollection represents a comma not a full stop, I fully intend to carryon with P.I.L and there will be MORE IN THE FUTURE." Lydon is currentlyhost of "Rotten Radio" at and "Rotten TV" on VH1 and has beenpromoting a few Sex Pistols documentary films ...