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Happy Birthday Johnny Lydon (aka Rotten)

Johnny RottenJohnny Rotten (photo swiped from Google)

Happy Birthday to Johnny Lydon!

I never saw the Sex Pistols, but I did see his other band, Public Image Limited.

And I was lucky enough to meet Johnny Lydon, back in the day.

I told this story many times and it’s a very cool story because it was so unexpected.

Christmas Day Night (always something magical about that time, so a few years ago I started hosting parties on that night), 1981, I went with a few friends to see Johnny Thunders perform at the Peppermint Lounge in NYC.

After the show, one of our friends was missing — the guy who drove us in, Steve Miller (from punk band Electric Frankenstein).

Not knowing where to look, we decided it was best to just go back to the car and wait for him.

As we were walking back to the car, we noticed Steve was there and talking to someone. “Who’s that dude?” We all wondered.

As we got closer, one of the guys said, “Holy shit, it’s Lydon!”

I was so young, just turned 18, so I was a nervous teenager about to meet an icon. When we got to the car, I nearly froze.

Johnny Lydon said hello to me first. I just so happened to be wearing a button with his picture on it on my jacket with his famous saying, “Lydon Not Rotten.” I showed him the button.

“God, I’m ugly!” he said.

“No you’re not, you’re cute.”

My friend gave him a lift. And he was so great, talking to a car full of teenagers, answering questions about the Sex Pistols and being so respectful to all of us. I asked him for his autograph but he didn’t feel worthy of giving one. He said, “Here, have a beer instead” and handed me a beer.

When he got out, he wished everyone “Peace and good will.”

What a great person to be so nice to all us youngsters who admired him!

Here is Johnny Lydon’s famous “American Bandstand” appearance where he purposely stopped lip synching and just let the record play. Gotta love the dude! The two songs, “Poptones” and “Careering” are my favorite songs from his band Public Image Limited:

Public Image Limited was so avant garde, nothing like The Sex Pistols punk songs. So buying a Public Image album was a shock, but I loved them just as much, if not more than The Sex Pistols

In addition to the “American Bandstand” stunt, when Public Image Limited performed at the Ritz in NYC, they played behind a screen, causing an uproar with the fans.

And here is the famous “Nevermind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols” album in its entirety with Johnny Rotten on vocals (I record I got in the $3.99 bin when I was a teen).

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10 thoughts on “Happy Birthday Johnny Lydon (aka Rotten)

  1. LOVE THIS! I had no idea PIL was ever on AB. Yes that was definitely something interesting and special. Love his unique, “don’t give a fk” vocals.
    In the 90’s he hosted and narrated Sorry/Flip a skate video and it was so great to see him and was a fun opportunity to introduce my kids to the Sex Pistols and PIL. THough not sure they really understood my excitement 🙂

    • What kind of music do your kids like? Several years ago I baby sat two young kids and the boy, 12 at the time, liked some of the newer punk that was popular at the time, circa 2004, so whatever was popular then. The dad wanted me to lend the kid my Sex Pistols CD so they could know the punk rock roots. I said, “Are you sure? There’s a lot of profanity on that CD.” He was totally fine with it.

      • When our son was about 8 he started getting heavy into skating and watched tons of skate videos so that introduced him to a lot of punk/ska music. Most my old punk is /was on vinyl and mixed tapes, so we never listed to it much as I didn’t have a turn table. Compared to the stuff that is out today, the “profanity” in punk is pretty tame. Sure there was some explicit stuff, but overall most of my faves were not so profane. My son is now 19 and has been into some hard rap and funk stuff, I can only take so much of the rap. Talk about Profanity – but really it’s the use of one word in particular that grates on my last nerve…My daughter listens to everything from Dolly Parton to joy division to gospel. I love that she has such eclectic taste.
        We all bond over musci though we are always like- hey – listen to this cool song. My daughter and I are more open minded than my son when it comes to music though, he thinks all the “crap” I listen to is emo and dark. WHAT??? lol

      • I can definitely relate to eclectic taste as I’m all over the board myself.

      • I know – its great!

  2. Gina S. on said:

    Happy Birthday Johnny!!! I wonder how he celebrated????? LOL!

  3. singlewhitefemaledating on said:

    Gosh… I hate to admit it and show my age, but I loved both these bands. Thanks for the share; what a great story. How lucky to meet him – WOW

  4. Pingback: Public Image Ltd PiL – One Drop official promo video | HyperHouse

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