John Joseph Lydon (born 31 January 1956), also known by the former stage name Johnny Rotten, is a singer-songwriter and television presenter, best known as the lead singer of punk band the Sex Pistols from 1975 until 1978, and again for various revivals during the 1990s and 2000s. He is also well known as the lead singer of the post-punk band Public Image Ltd., which he founded and fronted from 1978 until 1993, and again in 2009-2010. A highly controversial figure, Lydon has vocalised his contempt for the British Royal Family as well as other contentious issues such as segregated education. Q Magazine remarked that "somehow he's assumed the status of national treasure."
Growing up as the son of Irish immigrants in an impoverished area of London, Lydon's personally crafted image and fashion style led to him being asked to become the singer of the Sex Pistols by their manager, Malcolm McLaren. With the Pistols, he penned singles including "Anarchy in the U.K.", "God Save the Queen" and "Holidays in the Sun", the content of which precipitated the "last and greatest outbreak of pop-based moral pandemonium" in Britain. The band caused nationwide uproar in much of the media, who objected to the content of Lydon’s lyrics, and their antics, which included swearing on live television, in which Steve Jones called Bill Grundy a "fucking rotter". Due to the band's appearance in the media, Lydon was largely seen as the figurehead of the punk movement in the public image although this idea was not widely supported amongst the punk movement itself. Despite the negative reaction that they provoked, they are now regarded as one of the most influential acts in the history of popular music.
Lydon left the Pistols in 1978 to found his own band, Public Image Ltd, that was far more experimental in nature, and which has been described as "arguably the first post-rock group". Although never as commercially successful as the Pistols, the band produced eight albums and a string of singles, including "Death Disco", "Rise" and "Disappointed", before they went on indefinite hiatus in 1993.