|Height:||173 cm (5' 9'')|
|Birth Day:||January 31, 1956|
|Birth Place:||London, England|
|Height||Weight||Hair Colour||Eye Colour||Blood Type||Tattoo(s)|
|173 cm (5' 9'')||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
He worked as a London minicab dispatcher.
John Joseph Lydon was born in London on 31 January 1956. His parents, Eileen Lydia (née Barry) (died 1978) and John Christopher Lydon, were working-class emigrants from Ireland who moved into a two-room Victorian flat in Benwell Road, in the Holloway area of north London. The flat is adjacent to the Highbury Stadium, the former home of Premier League football club Arsenal F.C. of which Lydon has been an avid fan since the age of four. At the time, the area was largely impoverished, with a high crime rate and a population consisting predominantly of working-class Irish and Jamaican people. Lydon spent summer holidays in his mother's native County Cork, where he suffered name-calling for having an English accent, a prejudice he claims he still receives today even though he travels under an Irish passport.
In 1975, Lydon was among a group of youths who regularly hung around Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood's fetish clothing shop SEX. McLaren had returned from a brief stint travelling with American protopunk band the New York Dolls, and he was working on promoting a new band formed by Steve Jones, Glen Matlock and Paul Cook called the Sex Pistols. McLaren was impressed with Lydon's ragged look and unique sense of style, particularly his orange hair and modified Pink Floyd T-shirt (with the band members' eyes scratched out and the words I Hate scrawled in felt-tip pen above the band's logo). After tunelessly singing Alice Cooper's "I'm Eighteen" to the accompaniment of the shop's jukebox, Lydon was chosen as the band's frontman. In 1977, the band released "God Save the Queen" during the week of Queen Elizabeth II's Silver Jubilee. At the time, August 1977, Lydon commented: "Turn the other cheek too often and you get a razor through it."
Lydon was interested in dub music. McLaren was said to have been upset when Lydon revealed during a radio interview that his influences included progressive experimentalists like Magma, Can, Captain Beefheart and Van der Graaf Generator. Tensions between Lydon and bassist Glen Matlock arose. The reasons for this are disputed, but Lydon claimed in his autobiography that he believed Matlock to be too white-collar and middle-class and that Matlock was "always going on about nice things like the Beatles". Matlock stated in his own autobiography that most of the tension in the band, and between himself and Lydon, was orchestrated by McLaren. Matlock quit and as a replacement, Lydon recommended his school friend John Simon Ritchie, who used the stage name Sid Vicious. Although Ritchie was an incompetent bassist, McLaren agreed that he had the look the band wanted: pale, emaciated, spike-haired, with ripped clothes and a perpetual sneer. In 1977, the Sex Pistols released their only and highly influential studio album Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols.
Vicious' chaotic relationship with girlfriend Nancy Spungen, and his worsening heroin addiction, caused a great deal of friction among the band members, particularly with Lydon, whose sarcastic remarks often exacerbated the situation. Lydon closed the final Sid Vicious-era Sex Pistols concert in San Francisco's Winterland in January 1978 with a rhetorical question to the audience: "Ever get the feeling you've been cheated?" Shortly thereafter, McLaren, Jones, and Cook went to Brazil to meet and record with former train robber Ronnie Biggs. Lydon declined to go, deriding the concept as a whole and feeling that they were attempting to make a hero out of a criminal who attacked a train driver and stole "working-class money".
In 1978, Lydon formed the post-punk outfit Public Image Ltd (PiL). The first lineup of the band included bassist Jah Wobble and former Clash guitarist Keith Levene. They released the albums Public Image: First Issue (1978), Metal Box (1979) and the live album Paris au Printemps (1980). Wobble left and Lydon and Levene made The Flowers of Romance (1981). It followed by This Is What You Want... This Is What You Get (1984) featuring Martin Atkins on drums (he had also appeared on Metal Box and The Flowers of Romance); it featured their biggest hit, "This Is Not a Love Song", which hit No. 5 in the UK Singles Chart in 1983.
In a 1978 interview broadcast on BBC Radio 1, Lydon alluded to the sexual abuses committed by Jimmy Savile, as well as the suppression of negative information about Savile by mainstream social forces, many decades in advance of it becoming a public scandal. Lydon stated: "I'd like to kill Jimmy Savile; I think he's a hypocrite. I bet he's into all kinds of seediness that we all know about, but are not allowed to talk about. I know some rumours." He added: "I bet none of this will be allowed out." After the interviewer suggested libel might be an issue, Lydon replied, "Nothing I've said is libel."
In 1983, Lydon co-starred with Harvey Keitel in the film Copkiller, also released as Corrupt and The Order of Death. He had a small role in the 2000 film The Independent.
In 1984, Lydon worked with Time Zone on their single "World Destruction". A collaboration between Lydon, Afrika Bambaataa and producer/bassist Bill Laswell, the single was an early example of "rap rock", along with Run-DMC. The song appears on Afrika Bambaataa's 1997 compilation album Zulu Groove. It was arranged by Laswell after Lydon and Bambaataa had acknowledged respect for each other's work, as described in an interview from 1984:
The single featured Bernie Worrell, Nicky Skopelitis and Aïyb Dieng, all of whom would later play on PiL's Album; Laswell played bass and produced. In 1986, Public Image Ltd released Album (also known as Compact Disc and Cassette depending on the format). Most of the tracks on this album were written by Lydon and Bill Laswell. The musicians were session musicians including bassist Jonas Hellborg, guitarist Steve Vai and Cream drummer Ginger Baker.
In 1987, a new lineup was formed consisting of Lydon, former Siouxsie and the Banshees guitarist John McGeoch, Allan Dias on bass guitar in addition to drummer Bruce Smith and Lu Edmunds. This lineup released Happy? and all except Lu Edmunds released the album 9 in 1989. In 1992, Lydon, Dias and McGeoch were joined by Curt Bisquera on drums and Gregg Arreguin on rhythm guitar for the album That What Is Not. This album also features the Tower of Power horns on two songs and Jimmie Wood on harmonica. Lydon, McGeoch and Dias wrote the song "Criminal" for the film Point Break. After this album, in 1993, Lydon put PiL on indefinite hiatus.
In a February 2004 interview with the Scottish Sunday Mirror, Lydon said that he and his wife "should be dead", since on 21 December 1988, thanks to delays caused by his wife's packing, they missed the Pan Am Flight 103 that crashed in Lockerbie, Scotland.
In 1993, Lydon's first autobiography, Rotten: No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs, was published. Aided by Keith and Kent Zimmerman, and featuring contributions from figures including Paul Cook, Chrissie Hynde, Billy Idol and Don Letts, the work covered his life up until the collapse of the Sex Pistols. Describing the book, he stated that it "is as close to the truth as one can get, looking back on events from the inside. All the people in this book were actually there, and this book is as much their point of view as it is mine. This means contradictions and insults have not been edited, and neither have the compliments, if any. I have no time for lies or fantasy, and neither should you. Enjoy or die." In December 2005, Lydon told Q that he was working on a second autobiography to cover the PiL years.
In 1997 Lydon released a solo album on Virgin Records called Psycho's Path. He wrote all the songs and played all the instruments. In one song, "Sun", he sang the vocals through a toilet roll. The US version included a Chemical Brothers remix of the song "Open Up" by Leftfield with vocals by Lydon. It was a club hit in the US and a big hit in the UK. Lydon has recorded a second solo-album but it has not been released, except for one song that appeared on The Best of British £1 Notes. In November 1997, Lydon appeared on Judge Judy fighting a suit filed by his former tour drummer Robert Williams for breach of contract, assault and battery.
Although Lydon spent years denying that the Sex Pistols would ever perform together again, the band re-united (with Matlock returning on bass) in the 1990s, and continues to perform occasionally. In 2002, the year of Queen Elizabeth's Golden Jubilee, the Sex Pistols reformed again to play the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre in London. In 2003, their Piss Off Tour took them around North America for three weeks. Further performances took place in Europe in 2007–08.
In January 2004, Lydon appeared on the British reality television programme I'm a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here!, which took place in Australia. He proved he still had the capability to shock by calling the show's viewers "fucking cunts" during a live broadcast. The television regulator and ITV, the channel broadcasting the show, between them received only 91 complaints about Lydon's language.
In 2006, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted the Sex Pistols, but the band refused to attend the ceremony or acknowledge the induction, complaining that they had been asked for large sums of money to attend.
In late 2008 Lydon appeared in an advertising campaign for "Country Life", a brand of butter, on British television. Lydon defended the move by stating that the main reason he accepted the offer was to raise money to reform Public Image Ltd without a record deal. The advertising campaign proved to be highly successful, with sales of the brand raising 85% in the quarter following, which many in the media attributed to Lydon's presence in the advert.
In 2008, Lydon had extensive dental work performed in Los Angeles, at a reported cost of US$22,000. He explained that it was not done out of vanity: "It was necessity ... all those rotten teeth were seriously beginning to corrupt my system".
In September 2009 it was announced that PiL would reform, including earlier members Bruce Smith and Lu Edmonds, for a number of Christmas concerts in the UK. Lydon financed the reunion using money he earned doing a UK television commercial for Country Life butter. Lydon commented "The money that I earned from that has now gone completely — lock stock and barrel — into reforming PiL".
In August 2010, Lydon played with Public Image Ltd in Tel Aviv, Israel despite protests. Lydon was criticized for a statement to newspaper The Independent: "I really resent the presumption that I'm going there to play to right-wing Nazi Jews. If Elvis-fucking-Costello wants to pull out of a gig in Israel because he's suddenly got this compassion for Palestinians, then good on him. But I have absolutely one rule, right? Until I see an Arab country, a Muslim country, with a democracy, I won't understand how anyone can have a problem with how they're treated."
Lydon has been married to Nora Forster, a publishing heiress from Germany, since 1979. He was the stepfather of Forster's daughter Ari Up, who had been the lead singer in the post-punk band The Slits until her death in 2010. In 2000, Lydon and Nora became legal guardians of Ari's twin teenaged boys; as Lydon explained "[Ari] let them run free. They couldn't read, write or form proper sentences. One day Ari said she couldn't cope with them any more. I suggested they came to us because I wasn't having them abandoned. They gave us hell, but I loved having kids around." In 2010, they became guardians of Ari's third child, Wilton.
During an April 2013 tour of Australia, Lydon was involved in a television interview for The Project that resulted in a publicised controversy, as he was labelled "a flat out, sexist, misogynist pig" by one of the panellists on the Australian programme. The altercation occurred with host Carrie Bickmore, and the description was provided by panellist Andrew Rochford after the interview was prematurely terminated by Bickmore's colleague Dave Hughes. Lydon conducted the interview from Brisbane while on PiL's first tour of Australia in twenty years — first announced in December 2012 — during which concerts were held in the capital cities of Sydney and Melbourne.
Appearing on the BBC's Question Time on 5 July 2012, Lydon questioned the notion of a parliamentary inquiry into the banking industry, saying "How on earth is Parliament going to discuss this really when both sides, left and right, are connected to this? This doesn't just go back to Brown, this is part of the ongoing problem. Mr Diamond comes from Wall Street ... hello. Both parties love this idea. They are fiddling with rates. They are affecting the world and everything we used to count on as being dependable and accurate is being discussed by these argumentative chaps. If I nick a motor I'm going to be up before the judge, the rozzers. Hello, same thing."
Lydon became an American citizen in 2013, in addition to his British and Irish citizenships. He later spoke of how he would never have considered becoming a U.S. citizen during the "Bush years" because of the "horrible" way America presented itself abroad, but the Obama presidency had changed his mind, in particular because "America has the potential to be a nation that actually cares for its afflicted and wounded and ill and disenfranchised" as a result of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare").
Since 2013, Lydon has held British, Irish and American citizenship.
Lydon became a U.S. citizen in 2013 because he "believed in Barack Obama" and his health care reform, on which he states, "his healthcare thing didn't quite work out what we all want, but there is a great potential there. Now we're looking at dismantling and, you know, [a] crazy loony monster party."
Lydon was cast to play the role of King Herod for the North American arena tour of Andrew Lloyd Webber's rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar. He was to play the role starting 9 June through 17 August, and be joined by Ben Forster as Jesus, Brandon Boyd of rock band Incubus as Judas Iscariot, Destiny's Child singer Michelle Williams as Mary Magdalene, and former 'N Sync singer JC Chasez as Pontius Pilate. On 31 May 2014, the producers announced that the tour of the production was cancelled, because of poor advance ticket sales.
In 2014 he admitted to spending £10,000 on iPad games.
Lydon publicly supported the United Kingdom remaining in the European Union during the referendum on EU membership in June 2016, stating that being outside of the European Union would be "insane and suicidal" for the United Kingdom, "We're never going to go back to that romantic delusion of Victorian isolation, it isn't going to happen. There'll be no industry, there'll be no trade, there'll be nothing – a slow dismal, collapse. It's ludicrous."
A compilation of Lydon's lyrics, Mr. Rotten's Songbook, was published in 2017. The limited-edition book includes the words to every song he wrote during his entire career, punctuated by his own original sketches and cartoons.
During an interview on Good Morning Britain in March 2017, Lydon stated that he had changed his mind and supported Brexit: "Well, here it goes, the working-class have spoke and I'm one of them and I'm with them." Lydon described Brexit advocate Nigel Farage as "fantastic" and that he wanted to shake his hand after his altercation on the River Thames with anti-Brexit campaigner Bob Geldof.
Before his election, Lydon said in response to questions about Donald Trump's prospects for being elected President of the United States: "No, I can't see it happening, it's a minority that support him at best, and it's so hateful and ignorant." In 2017, though, he said "I'm up for anyone shaking up the jaded world of politicians". During a Good Morning Britain interview in March 2017, Lydon described Trump as a "complicated fellow" who "terrifies politicians". Lydon said that there were "many, many problems with (Trump) as a human being" but defended him against accusations of racism: "What I dislike is the left-wing media in America are trying to smear the bloke as a racist and that's completely not true." He elaborated to NPR: "He's a total cat amongst the pigeons ... [He's] got everybody now involving themselves in a political way. And I've been struggling for years to get people to wake up and do that."
In 2018, Lydon revealed that Forster was in the mid-stages of Alzheimer's Disease.In June 2020, Lydon said that he had become full-time carer for his wife as her condition has been deteriorating. "Nora has Alzheimer's... I am her full-time carer and I won't let anyone mess up with her. 'For me the real person is still there. That person I love is still there every minute of every day and that is my life. It's unfortunate that she forgets things, well, don't we all? I suppose her condition is one of like a permanent hangover for her. It gets worse and worse, bits of the brain store less and less memory and then suddenly some bits completely vanish.” Lydon said experts were impressed with how she remembers him saying "a bit of love goes a long way" and that has no intentions to put her in a care home despite the strain her illness has on both their lives.
In 2018, Lydon was photographed wearing a Make America Great Again shirt. In October 2020 Lydon told the BBC's Newsday programme "Yes, of course, I'm voting for Trump," he said. "I don't want a politician running this world anymore." During a Good Morning Britain interview in November 2020, Lydon confirmed he had voted for Donald Trump in the 2020 Presidential Elections, describing Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton as "Champagne Socialists".
Currently, John Lydon is 66 years, 6 months and 15 days old. John Lydon will celebrate 67th birthday on a Tuesday 31st of January 2023.
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