John Joseph Lydon (born 31 January 1956), also known by his stage name Johnny Rotten, is an English singer, songwriter and musician. He is best known as the lead singer of the late 1970s British punk band the Sex Pistols, which lasted from 1975 until 1978, and again for various revivals during the 1990s and 2000s. He is also the lead singer of post-punk band Public Image Ltd (PiL), which he founded and fronted from 1978 until 1993, and again since 2009. Since 2013 Lydon has held British, Irish and American citizenship.
Lydon’s rebellious image and fashion style led to him being asked to become the singer of the Sex Pistols by their manager, Malcolm McLaren. With the Sex Pistols, he penned singles including “Anarchy in the U.K.,” “God Save the Queen,” and “Holidays in the Sun,” the content of which precipitated what one commentator described as the “last and greatest outbreak of pop-based moral pandemonium” in Britain.The band caused a nationwide uproar in much of the media, and Lydon was seen as a figurehead of the burgeoning punk movement.Despite their controversial lyrics and style at the time, they are now regarded as one of the most influential acts in the history of popular music.
After the Sex Pistols disbanded in 1978, Lydon went on to found his own band, Public Image Ltd, which was far more experimental in nature and described in a 2005 NME review as “arguably the first post-rock group.”Although never as controversial or commercially successful as the Sex Pistols, the band produced eight albums and a string of singles, including “Public Image”, “Death Disco”, and “Rise”, before they went on hiatus in 1993, reforming in 2009. In subsequent years, Lydon has hosted television shows in the UK, US, and Belgium, appeared on I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! in the UK, appeared in advertisements on UK television promoting a brand of British butter, written two autobiographies Rotten: No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs (1993) and Anger is an Energy (2014), and produced some solo musical work, such as the album Psycho’s Path (1997). In 2005, he released a compilation album, The Best of British ┬ú1 Notes.