Death Disco / And No Birds Do Sing
Label & Catalogue
Virgin. VS 274
Highest UK Chart Position:
Vox - John Lydon
Guitar - Keith Levene
Bass - Jah Wobble
Drums - David Humphrey
(B-side Richard Dudanski)
Almost identical to 'Swan Lake' from 'Metal Box', but minus a little
synth at the very end, with the line "words are useless"
added in its place.
The little known David
Humphrey plays drums on 'Death Disco'; while Richard Dudanski plays
on the B-side.
Originally titled 'Swan Lake' after the bastardised guitar line
in the track; the lyrics were written by John Lydon for his dying
The track was first rehearsed in December 1978 while Jim Walker
was still in the band, but was not recorded until David Humphrey
joined in 1979.
The full unedited monitor
mix of 'Death Disco' later appeared as an audio extra on the John
Lydon 'Best of British £1 Notes' DVD.
A promo video featuring
Richard Dudanski on drums was shot for the single.
Produced by 'Public Image Ltd'
Engineered by Nick Cook & Hugh Padgham
The Manor, Oxfordshire
Sleeve paintings/drawings by John Lydon
I used 'Swan Lake' for the melody. The reason it was called 'Death
Disco' was because it was about John's mum. The person he was singing
about, 'seeing in your eyes,' was his mother dying. That's what
John was singing about very passionately, I might add. From my point
of view, I was just trying to do something with the music. I didn't
know what he was singing about at the time – he was just:
"It's 'Death Disco' Keith, that's what it is!"
- Keith Levene, Perfect Sound Forever 2001
'No Birds Do Sing' is
a line from a poem by Keats. I just borrowed a bit of it because
it suited this particular rant about suburbia.
- John Lydon, 'Plastic Box' sleevenotes 1999
And No Birds Do Sing