John Joseph Lydon was born in London (UK) on 31 January 1956. As a child, he lived on the edge of an industrial estate and belonged to a local gang of neighbourhood kids and would often end up in fights with other groups. He was kicked out of school at fifteen years old after a run-in with a teacher, and went on to attend Hackney College, where he befriended John Simon Ritchie, and Kingsway Princeton College. Lydon gave Ritchie the nickname ‘Sid Vicious’, after his parents’ pet hamster.
In 1975, Lydon joined the band Sex Pistols and, after tensions between him and Glen Matlock, Matlock was replaced by Sid Vicious. The Sex Pistols, with John’s adopted stage name Johnny Rotten as the lead singer, became one of Britain’s best known punk bands between 1975 and 1978. He went on to form post-punk band Public Image Ltd (PiL), which he founded and fronted from 1978 until 1993, and again since 2009.
In subsequent years, Lydon has hosted television shows in the UK, US, and Belgium, appeared on ‘I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!’ in the UK, appeared in advertisements on UK television promoting a brand of British butter, written two autobiographies ‘Rotten: No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs’ (1993) and ‘Anger is an Energy’ (2014), and produced some solo musical work, such as the album ‘Psycho’s Path’ (1997). In 2005, he released a compilation album, ‘The Best of British £1 Notes’.
John Lydon has repeatedly stated his admiration for Kate Bush, and the two actually met during the Q Awards ceremony in 2001.
John Lydon about Kate Bush
Kate Bush is a true original. It’s not nice that she’s been imitated -Torrid Aimless, sorry Tori Amos. But Kate Bush is a genuine talent. She went through the same shit I did when she started: “Oh, that’s not singing”. Who the fuck wrote the rules about music? Why follow this slavish idiocy? (Q Awards 2001: ‘Inspiration Award’. John Lydon: The dirty rotten scoundrel! Q Magazine, 2001)
Her shrieks and warbles are beauty beyond belief to me. (John Lydon talks about Kate Bush – BBC Queens of Pop, 2009)
When I first heard [Wuthering Heights], I thought that’s extremely challenging, the vocal — it was almost hysterical, and it was so up there, the register, but it was absolutely fascinating. And I know at the time a lot of my friends couldn’t bear it, they thought it was just “too much” — but that’s exactly what drew me in. (…) My favourite album by her is ‘The Dreaming’, and I think she produced that one herself. That got a lot of criticism — but I loved it. It was overloaded with textures, and tones and all manner of things. It’s a record that I still can play to this day, and still hear new things. (The Kate Bush Story: Running Up That Hill. BBC, 22 August 2014)