-----Did you know?
The origin of John Lydon's stage name, Johnny Rotten, has had two longstanding explanations. One, given in a Daily Telegraph feature interview with Lydon in 2007, was that he was given the name in the mid 1970s, when his lack of oral hygiene led to his teeth turning green. Another story says the name was given to him by Sex Pistols guitarist Steve Jones, who saw Lydon's teeth and exclaimed, "You're rotten, you are!"
It was Lydon who came up with the nickname of "Sid Vicious" for his bandmate John Simon Ritchie, naming him after his parents' pet hamster.
Born John Joseph Lydon - but better known by the former stage name Johnny Rotten - is a singer-songwriter and television presenter, best known as the lead singer of punk band the Sex Pistols from 1975 until 1978, and again for various revivals during the 1990s and 2000s.
He is also well known as the lead singer of the post-punk band Public Image Ltd., which he founded and fronted from 1978 until 1993, and again in 2009–2010. A highly controversial figure, Q Magazine remarked that "somehow he's assumed the status of national treasure."
In the beginning...
Growing up as the son of Irish immigrants in an impoverished area of London, he listened mostly to rock bands like Hawkwind, Captain Beefheart, Alice Cooper and Iggy and the Stooges — bands his mother also used to like, a fact which somewhat embarrassed him — as well as more mainstream groups like T. Rex and Gary Glitter.
At 15 years old, he was kicked out of the school after a run in with a teacher, and went to a state school, Hackney and Kingsway Princeton College, where he befriended John Simon Ritchie AKA Sid Vicious.
Lydon's personally crafted image and fashion style led to him being asked to become the singer of the Sex Pistols. With the Pistols, he penned singles including "Anarchy in the U.K.," "God Save the Queen" and "Holidays in the Sun," the content of which precipitated the "last and greatest outbreak of pop-based moral pandemonium" in Britain.
The band caused an uproar by many who objected to the content of Lydon’s lyrics, and their antics, which included cursing and swearing on live television. Lydon was largely seen as the figurehead of the punk movement although this idea was not widely supported amongst the punk movement itself. Despite the negative reaction that they provoked, they are now regarded as one of the most influential acts in the history of popular music.
Lydon left the Pistols in 1978 to found his own band, Public Image Ltd, that was far more experimental in nature, and which has been described as "arguably the first post-rock group." Although never as commercially successful as the Pistols, the band produced eight albums and a string of singles, including "Death Disco," "Rise" and "Disappointed," before they went on indefinite hiatus in 1993.
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In subsequent years, Lydon hosted a number of television shows in the UK, USA and Belgium, as well as writing an autobiography, Rotten: No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs in 1993, and producing some solo musical work, such as the album Psycho's Path in 1997.
In the 2000s, Lydon once more took up being the vocalist for both the Sex Pistols and subsequently also Public Image Ltd as well for a number of reunion tours.
Since leaving the Sex Pistols he has made his private fortune through property development. He currently lives in Los Angeles, California. Oh, and he's gotten his teeth fixed.