Metal Box CD


Albatross / Memories / Swan Lake (Death Disco) / Poptones / Careering / No Birds (Do Sing) / Graveyard ('Another' Inst) / The Suit / Bad Baby / Socialist / Chant / Radio 4

Release Date:
Re-issued (8/96 & 11/00, & 2/02?).
Re-issued as ltd edition 3 CD set by Virgin Records 12/09).

Label & Catalogue Number:
Virgin. MTLCD 1

Running Time:
60:37 mins

Vox - John Lydon
Guitar/Synth - Keith Levene
Bass - Jah Wobble
Drums - Richard Dudanski / Martin Atkins / David Humphrey / Jah Wobble / Keith Levene
Full track breakdown inc, studio info

Format Info:
CD re-issue of 'Metal Box' LP, issued in embossed PiL logo metal tin; with track list/info insert.

Since originally being released in 1990 – as a limited edition – the CD has been re-issued at least three times. Although the tracks have remained the same, the packaging has been slightly altered from re-issue to re-issue. Some have inserts with red print; some have inserts with black print, plus Levene's name spelled wrongly as "Leven". The tins have also been issued in a matt version (like the original vinyl), as well as a more shiny finish. If anyone knows the full details please get in touch...

Additional Note:
Re-issued as limited edition remastered 3 CD set by Virgin Records, 14.12.09.

Track Info:
Same tracks as LP version
'Swan Lake' (aka 'Death Disco') is a slightly different mix to the 7" with extra synth at the very end.

'Memories' is also a different mix to the single... 'No Birds' (aka 'No Birds Do Sing') is the same version as the B-side of the 'Death Disco' 7".

'Graveyard' is an instrumental version of 'Another' from the 'Memories' single.

Writing / Publishing:
All tracks Written by Public Image Ltd
Published by Warner Chappell Music Ltd / EMI Virgin Music Ltd © 1979 Virgin Records Ltd

Although 'Second Edition' was already available on CD Virgin decided to re-issue this version as a CD replica of the original vinyl 'Metal Box', digitally re-mastered with John Lydon.

This CD also reverted back to the original 'Metal Box' running order ('No Birds' & 'Socialist' swapped).

Like the original, the metal tin wasn't slow to rust!

For the 2009 3 CD re-issue Virgin Records did not officially contact PiL to let them know the CD had been released and were reluctant to send out any review copies. PiL decided to promote the CD's themselves on the rear of the December 2009 live 'ALiFE' CD's stating "Virgin Records advertising courtesy of Public Image Ltd".


Produced by 'Public Image Ltd'
Engineered by Nick Cook & Hugh Padgham
Digitally remastered with John Lydon

The Manor, Oxfordshire / Town House, London / Advision, London

Original Sleeve Design:
Concept: PiL & Dennis Morris
Packaging: The Metal Box Company

'Metal Box' was hard work. First, Virgin weren't very sure about the metal package, you know, cost, blah blah blah. So we offered to pay for some of it by reducing our advance from them. Obviously the idea of putting a record in a metal box was a bit unusual. The idea came from film canisters. We all thought video and film was the future. Besides, I've always collected vinyl and this was a really good way of stopping it getting damaged.
- John Lydon, 'Plastic Box' sleevenotes 1999

We all came up with the concept of the Metal Box. The way it came together was that we got it made at this factory called "The Metal Box Company". It was just the logistics between the idea and how we could get it made up, which made it look the way it did and made us put three pieces of vinyl in it. It cost us £35,000 of our advance back to get it out. It ran at 45rpm so you could get the best response on your sound system. We thought 45's were cool. They were like almost pre-releases.
- Keith Levene, Perfect Sound Forever 2001

Metal Box

Press Reviews:
Record Collector, July 1990 (CD)
NME, 24th November 1979 (LP)

Also see the Fodderstompf 'Metal Box' page featuring extensive review and additional info.

Tin Front & Back
(original 1990 issue
(original 1990 issue)
  Tin 'shiny' Version
(original 1990 issue)
  Tin 'shiny' Version
Insert Red Version   Insert with Levene spelled wrongly
Insert Red Version   Insert with Levene spelled wrongly
Black CD
Discography | Home
Back to Top