John Lydon

Mr Rotten's Songbook

Thursday 30th March 2017

Photo: © Paul Heartfield (2012)

An icon of British subculture and the frontman of Sex Pistols and PiL, John Lydon has put together a book of his lyrics encompassing songs from his entire career to date.

'Mr Rotten's Songbook' is a limited edition (of 1000), large format, 300 page book, illustrated by John himself over a period of six months. With an introduction to each track, the pages give new insights into each song and the thinking processes behind them. Each copy will be signed by John Lydon and is available to pre-order now.

What led to the creation of Mr Rotten's Songbook? 
I've written many songs over the years and I’ve always wanted to combine it all in one picturesque way. When I write songs, I think in pictures so it’s the most appropriate thing I could do and looking at all the images together led to Mr Rotten's Songbook.

Is there any piece of artwork in the book that is standing out to you or surprised you?
On most of the pieces, I don't sit down with a specific idea other than the actual songs. I'm quite amazed at what comes out of me. But the character on the front of the book, he's the biggest surprise of all because I was thinking how can I encapsulate what this book is supposed to unravel to the reader? That character just appeared on the page. I don't know what makes me draw these things.

What would you like people to take away from this book? Is there an overarching theme as a whole?
Well, if it's in the library, please don't take it away without returning it. I've been in the public spotlight since the 70s, that's a lot of pressure, but I've been able to cope with it and still maintain some kind of integrity. That's what I'm trying to get across here. You may be very confused, but as I say it's all little pieces of the jigsaw puzzle that I've haven't been able to put together myself, yet. But then again I don't know anyone who has walked into my life at any point absolutely picture-perfect. So I'm on the same trial as everybody else but I, at least, have found a way of expressing it.

Read John Lydon's exclusive interview and listen to his playlist here.

Mr Rotten's Songbook is released March 31st (2017)

Related Links

John Lydon full interview and playlist


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