Research by Karsten Roekens and Scott M, plus contributors…
FEBRUARY 13 - MARCH 2
Lu Edmonds takes a break from PiL and tours Germany with 3 Mustaphas 3. Lu (alias Uncle Patrel), "John Lydon loves the Mustaphas!"
Around the same time Bruce Smith does some session work for Terence Trent D'Arby's 'Introducing the Hardline' album, which is released in July and gets to number 1.
PiL re-sign to Virgin Records – now including the USA – and begin work on a new studio album with producer Gary Langan (Art of Noise). They use studios in Milton Keynes, Croydon and Oxford. Lu Edmonds: "John was very hands off, he just wanted to come in and do his vocal... I think he was very missed in the creative process, he wouldn't be there, it was left to us to come up with grooves and little tunes."
Without Langan the band also record new versions of old PiL tunes. First intended to be released under the title 'Renovations', then as a planned bonus disc to the new album. The project is finally scrapped and only two of the songs 'The Suit' & 'Religion' are used as B-sides. Apparently 'Flowers of Romance', 'Banging the Door' & 'Tie Me To The Length Of That' were also recorded, but all remain unreleased. Lu Edmonds: "I mixed a lot of those tracks, it seemed like a good idea at that time."
John Lydon is spotted backstage, and at the aftershow party, at Terence Trent D'Arby's London, Marquee show.
AUGUST 1 - 8
Scandinavian Tour starting at Ruisrock Festival, Ruissalo, Turku, Finland (see Gig List for full dates).
YLE TV, Finland - John Lydon interview. The journalist is clearly obsessed with the punk movement and not PiL. Lydon quickly tires of her and delivers a series of deadpan putdowns to the hapless presenter.
The promotional release of the video for 'Seattle', directed by Nick Willing.
ITV, 'Chart Show' premier the promo video for 'Seattle.
Hultsfred Festival, Folketspark,
The band walk off after six numbers because of bottle throwing.
'Melody Maker' - Lydon interview and front cover. Talking of recording Happy? Lydon comments: "It was driving us up the wall not being able to do our own stuff, but we've done that now and we're gonna drive you up the wall!"
Channel 4, 'Network 7' - John Lydon interview.
The release of 'Seattle' on 7", 12" & cassette single (Virgin. VS 988).
'Sounds' review 'Seattle'.
'Seattle' enters the charts, peaking at number 27 and remaining for two weeks.
Superchannel, 'Music Box' - Lydon & McGeoch interview; recorded at the filming of the 'Seattle' promo video.
PiL fly to South America to play 10 dates in Brazil (see Gig List for full dates). While there are treated like superstars; being followed everywhere by fans and press!
September UK tour is announced in the music press.
ITV, 'Get Fresh' (Children's Saturday morning TV) PiL mime to 'Hard Times' at Bristol Zoo. John outrages parents" by briefly sticking his two fingers up to the camera!
Jah Wobble releases the solo album 'Psalms' (see wobble discography for full info). He later commented, "Psalms was done half on the piss, half having stopped drinking." Soon after he quits the music business, suffering from alcoholism.
Two tracks were recorded at the end of 1986 with Julienne Regan of All About Eve, "I went to his house and recorded the vocals to 'Sakharov', about the Russian political activist, and listened to Jah's tales of fame and lost fortune with PiL. A few days later I recorded the vocals to another song with him at Southern Studios. It was called 'No Second Chances' and was kind of a Human League style duet... He made me laugh with his tales of working for the London Underground as an announcer. I believe one day he said something along the lines of 'Mind the gap - I used to be somebody you know!' He'd also had to work as a cabbie during the lean times."
Reggio Emilia, Italy.
PiL quit after a few numbers because of rock throwing. On their way back to England Allan Dias trips over baggage at Zurich airport and sprains his wrist, the first eight dates of PiL's UK tour have to be cancelled.
Superchannel, 'Music Box' - John Lydon & Lu Edmonds interview. John reveals he turned down a part in That god damn awful movie 'Critters'"!
ITV, 'Hold Tight' (Children's TV) PiL mime to 'Seattle' at Alton Towers Amusement Park. John is also interviewed.
MTV Europe, 'Ray Cokes Show' - Lydon & Edmonds interview. Ray Cokes: "I was quite surprised [the album is] actually quite melodic, I was surprised of the amount of tunes." Lu Edmonds: "That's Mr McGeoch's fault." John Lydon: "This is our direction at the moment, melody. That's a very important thing."
MTV Europe, MTV News - Lydon interview.
The release of 'Happy?' on LP, CD & Cassette (Virgin. V 2455).
Skytrax, 'UK Despatch' - Lydon & Edmonds interview. John Lydon: "The bums that I sacked in the past didn't count for very much, but this is the new Public Image Ltd, the band that I always should have had. Yes, we're all equal, that's highly enjoyable - 'course some of us are more equal than others!"
'Sounds' review 'Happy?'.
Superchannel, 'Music Box' - John Lydon & Lu Edmonds interview
MTV Europe,' The Show' - PiL appear as guest VJ's. Among the videos picked are Yello, The Damned and Richie Sakamoto (one of my cast-offs" Lydon remarks). The show is best remembered for a hilarious piano jazz version of 'Anarchy' by Lydon & Edmonds.
'Happy?' enters the charts, peaking at number 34 and remaining in the charts for 2 weeks. The album peaks in the US at 169.
Los Angeles is shaken by the Whittier Earthquake. Keith Levene decides to leave the city after two years and returns to London.
The promotional release for the video of 'The body'; directed by Fiona Stylianou.
'NME' - Lydon & Edmonds interview.
WDR, 'Roxy', Germany - Lydon interview.
Short European Tour starts at Utrecht, Netherlands (see Gig List for full dates).
'Musik Box', Germany - Lydon interview.
PiL cancel their appearance at the Deinze, Futurama Festival in Belgium, due to the stage being too small. Wire headline the festival instead, other bands appearing include Dinosaur (later Dinosaur JR), Young Gods, The Leather Nun, Christian Death & Zodiac Mindwarp.
The release of 'The Body' on 7" & 12" (Virgin. VS 1010). A separate remix 12" single is also released.
'The Body' peaks at number 100 in the UK charts.
'The Beat' magazine review 'The Body'.
'Cut Magazine' - Lydon & McGeoch interview.
ITV, Night Network, 'Video View' review the promo video for 'The Body'.
'Former Eins', Germany - Lydon interview.
NOVEMBER 18 - DECEMBER
13 Date US tour supported by the Lime Spiders. Starting at New York, Beacon Theater, USA (see Gig List for full dates).
ITV 'Short Sharp Shock' - Lydon interview. Retrospective punk documentary.
Around the same time he also appears on a Spanish punk documentary called 'Punk (76 Diez 86)'.
'LA Times' - John Lydon interview.
Having been caught in a "legal mess of record company contracts", Keith Levene releases his first solo release since leaving PiL in 1983, 12" EP '2011 - Back Too Black'. The B-side features the soundtrack pieces he recorded for previous year's 'Hollywood Vice Squad' movie (see Levene discography for full info).
'Sounds' - Jah Wobble interview discussing his new album 'Psalms'.
PiL begin a three date Japanese tour at Tokyo, Shibuya kokaido (see Gig List for full dates).
'Purerock', Japan. PiL mime to 'Seattle' on cable TV, John is also interviewed.