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Sex Pistols singer John Lydon is making a bid for Eurovision

John Lydon – better known as Johnny Rotten – has put his hat in the ring to represent Ireland in Eurovision with his band Public Image Ltd

John Lydon fronting Public Image Ltd

Public Image Ltd playing Forum Hertfordshire. Photo Paul Hudson / Flickr

Ireland’s Eurovision shortlist was announced today – and amid the young hopefuls was a surprise entry… Public Image Ltd, fronted by Sex Pistols singer John Lydon.

It’s almost 50 years since Lydon sang “I am an Antichrist, I am an anarchist” but his attempt to follow ABBA, Gina G and Sam Ryder onto the Eurovision stage still comes as a surprise.

Public Image Ltd has entered the song Hawaii, an emotional ballad that Lydon says is as close as he’ll come to baring his soul.

“It is dedicated to everyone going through tough times on the journey of life, with the person they care for the most,” Lydon said. “It’s also a message of hope that ultimately love conquers all.”

Both John Lydon’s parents came from Ireland, his mother from Cork and his father from Galway. 

Public Image Ltd will perform the song – “a pensive, personal yet universal love song that will resonate with many” – on Ireland’s Late Late Show on 3 February, as part of the live contest to decide the country’s Eurovision representative.

They will compete against five other acts for the coveted place at the finals: ADGY, CONNOLLY, Wild Youth, Leila Jane and K Muni & ND.

Public Image Ltd (PiL) celebrated their 40th anniversary in 2018. Their “anti-rock” has earned them five UK Top 20 singles and five UK Top 20 albums.

The Eurovision Song Contest will be held in Liverpool this May, with the UK standing in as hosts for last year’s winners, Ukraine.

The UK will not have a chance to decide our own entry at this year’s Eurovision. Instead the global management company that picked Sam Ryder for last year’s contest will be hoping that their golden touch takes the nation one step further to take home the trophy.

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