Death Disco 7"


Death Disco / And No Birds Do Sing

Release Date:

Label & Catalogue Number:
Virgin. VS 274

Highest UK Chart Position:

Vox - John Lydon
Guitar - Keith Levene
Bass - Jah Wobble
Drums - David Humphrey
(B-side Richard Dudanski)

Format Info:
Picture Sleeve

Track Info:
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.

NOT Trivia:
Originally titled 'Swan Lake' after the bastardised guitar line in the track; the lyrics were written by John Lydon for his dying mother.

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 Design:
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

Death Disco
And No Birds Do Sing

Press Reviews:
NME, July 1979

Sleeve Front & Back   Label A & B
Discography | Home
Back to Top