Public Image Limited – Rise

I seem to have a little theme going here this week. Uprising. Rise. Yes, definitely a stand up kind of week. This week’s Tape Deck Tuesday is a tape called Listen ~ Sing, April, 1989. There is a banana sticker firmly stuck to the case that I’m sure I stuck there. The tape was made for me by a friend shortly before the end of my senior year, her sophomore year, of college. She’d made me a tape of songs that she loved that I didn’t have so I would be able to listen to them (and sing) once she was gone.

This friend had been in my dorm the previous year. It was an old house that had been turned into a dorm, all women, of course, there was no other option. It was on the edge of campus, which is why I had picked it, but the majority of freshman and sophomores in the house would have preferred somewhere more happening. I was also looking for space, and something beyond your standard issue cinderblock with non-opening windows. I had been all over campus and had zeroed in on this dorm and this one room. It was the largest double on campus and I wanted it. I needed more room for dancing, after all.

If I remember correctly, the house had two singles, two or three doubles, a couple of triples and two quads. That’s a giant room with two sets of bunk beds. This girl arrived as a freshman and was put into one of those quads with three other girls who couldn’t have been more different from her. My roommate had been a total lucky lottery pick, just a junior like me who didn’t have a preference so they put us together. It turned out she didn’t have much in the way of preferences for any of the things that mattered to me. She liked to study with some background noise but didn’t care what it was so I could play my music pretty much any time I wanted. She didn’t have a lot of stuff so I could hang my posters any place I liked. Consequently this freshman saw and heard that I might be sympathetic to her situation and she ended up hanging around with me a lot.

The following year she brought a car back to campus with her. A car meant road trips and that called for tunes for the ride. She was a big fan of bands on the 4AD label, in some cases just because they were on that label. There are a bunch of those on this tape, a couple of her cult favorites (not The Cult though), and then some more of your usual college radio bands. PiL falls into that latter category.

Listen~Sing, April 1989
Side A – Listen
Persephone – Cocteau Twins
Muscoviet Mosquito – Clan of Xymox
Cut the Tree – Wolfgang Press
Fish – Throwing Muses
Birthday – Sugarcubes
Land of the Glass Pinecones – Human Sexual Response
Privilege (Set Me Free) – Patti Smith Group
Lucretia (My Reflection) – Sisters of Mercy
Unforgettable Fire – U2
Crushed – Cocteau Twins
Frontier – Dead Can Dance

Side B – Sing
This Corrosion – Sisters of Mercy
Mandinka – Sinead O’Connor
Jane Says – Jane’s Addiction
Caribou – Pixies
Jackie Onassis – Human Sexual Response
FFF/Rise – PiL
I’ve Been Tired – Pixies
Holiday – Salem 66
A New England – Billy Bragg

I had totally forgotten about Human Sexual Response. Completely. But when Land of the Glass Pinecones came on, I remembered. I liked the Jackie Onassis song in a campy way but Land of the Glass Pinecones was just a little too out there for me. Were they serious or not, I couldn’t really tell. This friend loved it. She used to sing along and really try to make that vibrato over the top just to annoy me. And This Corrosion by Sisters of Mercy is the classic song college DJs would put on when they needed to go to the bathroom, or run out to the other room to get more records, because it was so long.

My brother had been a Sex Pistols fan so I knew who Johnny Rotten/John Lydon was. Somehow though I had missed Public Image Ltd. in those years after he went off to college and we moved up to Maine. This video reminds me a lot of staying up late on Sunday nights to catch 120 Minutes on MTV. A bunch of these songs were aired on that program now that I think about it.

This is a fitting song for my mood lately. I am just as angry, if not more so than yesterday. So remember, “Anger is an energy.” Just make sure to funnel that anger into something productive. Get energized. It’s going to be a long haul.



  1. I was really into PiL (still one of my favorites) – saw them at (of all places!) Radio City Music Hall in 1988. They opened for INXS. John Lydon was brilliant, kept referring to himself as Uncle Johnny to a roar of screams. Rise is a great tune, too. I can see how it could be a motivating rallying cry these days.


    1. Wow. It’s funny that they toured together because that feels like an unlikely pairing but on the other hand, the other tape I have that was made by this same friend is an INXS compilation.

      I keep meaning to find that video you posted a couple of years ago of some British tv interview with Uncle Johnny wandering the streets of London when he was in between bands. Do you remember it?


  2. You were a few years ahead of me, but I totally would have loved to hang out with you and your roommate. Totally the same tastes in music. 😉

    Funny that Kristi mentioned the PiL/INXS show–I saw that same tour when it stopped up in Worcester!


    1. Thanks, Jon, you would have been welcome! I wonder how we missed that show, it would have been right up her alley.


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