Monday, 14 August 2017

Public Image Ltd. ‎– "Metal Box - (Super Deluxe Edition)" (Virgin ‎– 570 149-1) 2016/1979

In the history books of rock'n'pop'n'roll there are few records that deserve their place in the annals as one of the most strikingly original and inspired pieces of genius as much as PiL's "Metal Box".
Maybe "Trout Mask Replica", "Are You Experienced", "Revolver", "Pet Sounds" (I hate pet sounds by the way,JZ), "Highway 61","Unknown Pleasures",.....the list is short,and admittedly incomplete,but this album from outer space is on there......even though I prefer the first album,which i have now decided is actually called "First issue"......the ultimate 'bad attitude' album or what?
After this classic conceptual piece of progressive post-punk, Lydon finally surrendered to his ego and not so much burned out,as fizzled out; turning into the publicity seeking media whore he is today(His Public Image is no longer 'Limited'!).
PiL ceased to exist as soon as Wobble was 'sacked', by a goofy tin-pot rock star and a disappearing smack can guess who they are. As it is with many artists,the more difficult and untenable the circumstances the greater the product.These conditions could never have continued to produce a Metal Box 2,and nor should they.The saddest thing is that Lydon was allowed to carry on as 'PiL', soiling the brand name,even to this day, with the circus act that is the new PiL.
So,here we are with the bottom of the Metal Barrel thoroughly scraped for every last shard of related material to satisfy the public, who, in classic showbiz terms, were left wanting MORE!....which is what we all get of everything these fact too much......and the crowd screamed for LESS!


The Metal Box - (Remastered)

1-1 Albatross 10:35
1-2 Memories 5:05
1-3 Swan Lake (AKA Death Disco) 4:12
1-4 Poptones 7:46
1-5 Careering 4:31
1-6 No Birds (Do Sing) 4:41
1-7 Graveyard 3:08
1-8 The Suit 3:29
1-9 Bad Baby 4:29
1-10 Socialist 3:09
1-11 Chant 5:00
1-12 Radio 4 4:27

B-sides, Mixes & BBC Sessions

2-1 Death Disco (7” Edit) 4:17
2-2 Death Disco (12”) 6:43
2-3 Half Mix / Megga Mix 6:52
2-4 Death Disco [Drums – Richard Dudanski] 2:27
2-5 Memories (7/12”) 4:52
2-6 Another 3:51
2-7 Poptones [Drums – Martin Atkins] 4:32
2-8 Careering [Drums – Martin Atkins] 7:32
2-9 Chant [Drums – Martin Atkins] 5:16
2-10 Poptones [Drums – Martin Atkins] 3:44]
2-11 Careering [Drums – Martin Atkins] 5:03
2-12 Pied Piper
[Featuring – John Lydon, Keith Levene, Steve New] 1:51

Rare & Unreleased Mixes:

3-1 Poptones (Version 3) 6:36
3-2 Swan Lake (Monitor Mix) 9:24
3-3 Albatross (Monitor Mix) 10:24
3-4 Swan Lake ("Master") 7:42
3-5 Unknown Instrumental Jam 1 ("Chant") 6:30
3-6 Unknown Jam 2 ("Megachant") 5:02
3-7 Music From An Oven (AKA Memories) 4:42
3-8 Radio 4 ("Symphony Suite") 7:19
3-9 Home Is Where The Heart Is (Original Mix)
Featuring, Bass – Jah Wobble 6:39
3-10 Unknown Instrumental 2 5:53

Live At Manchester, The Russell Club (The Factory) 18/6/79:

4-1 Chant 7:51
4-2 Swan Lake (AKA Death Disco) 7:39
4-3 Memories 7:54
4-4 Public Image 8:48
4-5 Annalisa 5:49
4-6 No Birds (Do Sing) 6:51

"B-sides, Mixes & BBC Sessions"
2-1: A-side of 'Death Disco' 7" single.
2-2: A-side of 'Death Disco' 12" single.
2-3: B-side of 'Death Disco' 12" single. Re-recorded and renamed version of 'Fodderstompf' from the debut PiL album 'First Issue'.
2-4: BBC TV, Top Of The Pops July 12/7/79 [Misprinted as "12/7/72"]. Audio recording of live TV appearance.
2-5: A-side of 'Memories' 7" and 12" singles. Alternative mix to the 'Metal Box' version.
2-6: B-side of the 'Memories' 7" and 12" singles. Vocal version of the instrumental track 'Graveyard' from 'Metal Box'.
2-7 to 2-9: BBC Radio 1, John Peel Session 17/12/79. PiL's one and only John Peel radio session. Three songs recorded at BBC Maida Vale Studios, London.
2-10, 2-11: BBC TV, Old Grey Whistle Test 5/2/80. Audio recording of live TV appearance.
2-12: Rare post-'Metal Box' track from budget 1980 Virgin compilation LP 'Machines'. [...] recorded at the Manor Studios, Oxfordshire.

"Rare & Unreleased Mixes"
3-1: Alternative mix. Recorded at the Manor Studios, Oxfordshire, 1979. Previously unreleased.
3-2: Original monitor mix. Previously only released as limited edition Record Store Day 12" single in 2014, and as an audio extra on the 2005 John Lydon 'Best of British £1 Notes' compilation DVD. Recorded at The Townhouse, London, March 21st 1979.
3-3: Original monitor mix. Previously released as an audio extra on the 2005 John Lydon 'Best of British £1 Notes' compilation DVD. Recorded at The Townhouse, London, March 21st 1979.
3-4: Alternative mix of 'Death Disco' / 'Swan Lake'. Recorded at The Townhouse, London, May 3rd 1979. Previously unreleased.
3-5: Alternative early mix of 'Chant'. Recorded at The Townhouse, London, May 21st 1979. Previously unreleased.
3-6: Experimental jam of what would become 'Chant'. Recorded at The Townhouse, London, May 21st 1979. Previously unreleased.
3-7: Early mix of 'Memories'. Recorded at The Townhouse, London, August 13th 1979. Previously unreleased.
3-8: Extended alternative mix of 'Radio 4'. Recorded at The Townhouse, London, October 13th 1979. Previously unreleased.
3-9: Original mix of track that later appeared as the B-side of the 'Flowers of Romance' 12" single. This version [...] was recorded at The Townhouse, London, March 11th 1980. Previously unreleased.
3-10: Post-'Metal Box' instrumental from same sessions as 'Home is Where The Heart Is'. Recorded at The Townhouse, London, March 11th 1980. Previously unreleased.


Anonymous said...

Wonderful blog!

Anonymous said...

Your assessment of the place "Metal Box" holds in music history is dead on. It's the one PiL album I go back to time after time. Many thanks for this edition, I've got a good evening's listening ahead of me.


rex said...

thanks for this! and all your other pil documents.
i really liked "four enclosed walls" from FLOWERS.
i thought that was still a progress, a punch in the face to normal music...
(and i liked ALBUM but just because i liked that whole laswell
axis of players).

pointless_walks said...

Do't mind if I do, cheers JZ. I've had MeTaL BoX in all forms over the years but didn't get around to this official 'box-scraping' comp. ∆M∆ZING LP. Today's Lydon? Less said the better. Levene? Pretty quiet; pops his head above the parapet once in a while. Wobble? WEll, I went to see him live a couple of years ago and he was supremely entertaining and very funny too, with a very young band behind him. Somehow 'Fodderstompf' has become a crowd-pleasing centrepiece of the whole show?! Done completely straight, audience (some of 'em) joining in. Didn't know whether to cringe or jump up and I did a bit of both (inebriated as I was). I read his book 'Memoirs of A Geezer' recently; a good read actually, I thought. Certainly came across as very honest, esp about the booze/drugs that helped PiL go off the rails and nearly finished him off before he had a chance at any kind of 'career'.

Thanks again Jonny :)

Drstock said...

Hi, agree totally with your analysis of PIL, the last great PIL album for me was Flowers, however, without Wobble it was weaker. PIL now are awful, although i like Album, for me Commercial Zone is the path where PIL should have gone. Great Site

Anonymous said...

Thanks Mate!😁

Anonymous said...

Ian said...

No argument from me either about our host's stated opinion of this album's place in the rock pantheon. That said, interested parties are advised to investigate the track "Song From the Bottom of a Well", from the Kevin Ayers album Whatevershebringswesing, which bears uncanny similarity and which presaged Metal Box by a full seven years. And we are all well aware of Mr. Lydon's acknowledged passion for things prog, yes? Hmmm.

Whatever, Lydon and crew created a double album's worth of the stuff (and then some), and Keith Levene's crystalline/lysergic guitar work here is heavenly. I usually prefer Flowers of Romance, in which the drums became a melodic (and not solely rhythmic) component of the music. But that's comparing wood to metal, really. In the end, Metal Box remains a genre unto itself, as this massive overdose substantiates. Hearty thanks for the post, Mr. Z.

Jonny Zchivago said...

Have to say, i'm not getting the Kevin Ayers connection.That track is very experimental,and a decent attempt to make music that sounds as if its coming from the bottom of a well...but i don't listen to that and think PiL....maybe some 'Can' I do.....great album though.

Jonny Zchivago said...

Yes Flowers Of Romance is good,but it remains the epitaph to PiL. Martyn Atkins was the main/if not sole contributor for the best tracks.The other two rarely turned up for the sessions.Then they sacked Him to save money! A special pair of bastards who happened to make some great music; with a lot of help from Wobble of course.

Unknown said...

Thank zombiejesus for these hours of experimentation! To you (and to pinkpressthreat, who must be a Fall fan), I would say the best PiL moment ever for me is only Wobble+Atkins, Los Angeles May 4 1980 when they play Fodderstompf for the first ten mins or so as if it was May 4 2980. This gig: /Magnus

pointless_walks said...

Thanks - yes, must see if I can find that one to listen to.

Anonymous said...

EPIC post. Thank you.
My favourite PIL was their 1st-2nd albums.
The guitar on 'Theme' still is magick.

Exeter said...

I've been thinking of "Metal Box" lately... I never knew about this tremendous "Box" version before.
Thanks so much for sharing! Can't wait to listen!

Sean said...

Many thanks for this.

Lee Newcomb said...

My sister never gave me back my copy ,this was my favourite album ,never can anything take me back in time like this, absolute gold .my own personal haunting, just the way I like it

Jonny Zchivago said...

Yeah...sisters!...although she'd have been in trouble if she nicked my Metal Box! It cost me £7.99!
She did however steal all my Elvis Costello, her mates had nicked me Status Quo singles earlier in my career...but Metal Box mits off!
I suppose I did steal her copy of 'Damned Damned Damned', and secretly sold her Stranglers Black and White LP for £2.50....but i didn't let on ,so shhh.

ChrisCl said...

OMG your sold 'Black And White'? ! I still prefer 'Flowers', it's the feel I guess. Also the John McGeoch stuff, a brilliant musician. I find you a bit harsh on Jonhn Lydon and today's PiL. I have seen them a couple of times and on festivals usually they blow the rest away. But hey, tastes and colors and so on right? I do love your comments, keep following your blog mostly for a good read - and your musical choice is right up my street. Cheers, Chris (Belgium)

seAoxen said...

wow..... just wow

Jonny Zchivago said...

Wow indeed.

HardStone said...

Muchas Gracias !!!

Anonymous said...

I love you.