Disc 1: Albatross / Memories / Swan Lake (Death Disco)
Disc 2: Poptones / Careering / No Birds [Do Sing] / Graveyard
Disc 3: The Suit / Bad Baby / Socialist / Chant / Radio 4
Label & Catalogue
Virgin. METAL 1
Highest UK Chart Position:
Vox - John Lydon
Guitar/Synth - Keith Levene
Bass - Jah Wobble
Drums - Richard Dudanski / Martin Atkins / David Humphrey / Jah
Wobble / Keith Levene
track breakdown inc, studio info
3 x 12" in embossed PiL logo metal can, separated by plain white
paper inserts, plus A5 track list/info insert.
Although only 60,000
(50,000 UK, & 10,000 import) were pressed 'Metal Box'
was never intended to be limited edition. Virgin didn't want to
press any more due to costs; and even then PiL still had to give
up the majority of their advance to get the metal canister.
Originally, the plan
was also to include a lyric sheet. However, costs wouldn't run that
high so it was decided to run a full page advert in the music press
featuring the lyrics.
Another scrapped idea
was to seal the metal box with with PiL logo tape. They got as far
as making the tape, but again, due to costs it was never used.
The album was later re-issued
as the double album 'Second Edition'.
'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
PiL later claimed
24 tracks were left unreleased, 7 actual tracks, the rest were short
1 & 2 second tracks.
The studio recording
of 'Bad Baby' was Martin Atkins audition for the band.
The release of the album
was delayed due to accidental damage of the records/packaging by
the packing plant.
John refers to in 'The Suit' is studio engineer Nick Cook, not Nick
Produced by 'Public Image Ltd'
Engineered by Nick Cook & Hugh Padgham
The Manor, Oxfordshire / Town House, London / Advision, London
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
24th November 1979
see the Fodderstompf 'Metal Box' page featuring extensive review
and additional info.
See review for full info…