Home Books Music Films TV 1970s Music Index 1980s Music Index
PIL/Public Image Ltd. - Flowers Of Romance Album Review Top 10 Early PiL Tracks

(Unofficial) KeITh LeVEnE Portal


Keith Levene was born in Finsbury Park on July 18th, 1957, and has gone on to become co-founder of two of Britain's most influential groups of all-time - The Clash and Public Image Limited. Best known for his guitar work, Keith is a composer, producer, and a multi-instrumentalist.

A member of PiL during their most creative phase, which included the seminal 'Metal Box' album, Keith, with bassist Jah Wobble and frontman John Lydon, produced some of the most innovative sounds in British music of the rock era. It was no coincidence then that when Danny Boyle's Olympic opening ceremony blew many of us away there were two snatches of PiL songs included, including 'Under the House' from the 'Flowers of Romance' album. Public Image Limited opened up to a few billion ears around the world in one go. Neat, eh?

Keith now describes himself as a hippie mutant, and whereas John Lydon resisted the temptation to play any Beatles music during his recent spell as a Radio 6 Music DJ, Keith is happy enough to be seen in a Beatles T-shirt. Master innovator Keith is still carrying on the fine British tradition, which The Beatles excelled at, of pushing the boundaries of music, and also nowadays, art.

- Paul Rance/

Berwyn Exit Strategy Waddon remembering the impact of Keith's playing
"I would watch him in awe as a kid from stage-side…" BESW on Facebook

"I used to have these fantasies in the 70s about leaving New York and coming to London to hang out with Public Image." - Thurston Moore, Sonic Youth.

Paul Simonon, Keith Levene, Dee Dee Ramone 
A snapshot of '70s rock history, courtesy of Exile On Moan Street
Paul Simonon, Keith Levene, Dee Dee Ramone

David Klimek of The Montreal Gazette salutes Keith's 'Search 4 Absolute Zero'

Nine instrumental tracks = forty minutes and fourteen seconds of musical bliss.

With “Search 4 Absolute Zero,” Keith reminds us once again why we’ve been so in love with his guitar styling since the late 1970s… he’s a true one-of-a-kind…

Whether Keith’s playing is in a jazz-mode (“In the Field”) or more along the lines of dub (“Pleasing all the People’), transfixing the listener with the beautiful (and dare I say “majestic”) title track or experimenting with a Middle Eastern vibe (“MarrapeggioInstVibe”), this album is a wonderful listening experience.

And a treat for fans of his partnership with Jah Wobble is “Zombie Lessons,” which harkens back to that album’s “Mississippi.”

Bravo, Keith!

David Klimek


Greg Whitfield interviews PiL/Clash guitarist Keith Levene for 3AM - an autobiography of an interview

Joe Strummer, Keith Levene, Early Clash, 1976
Joe Strummer holding the mike for the teenage guitarist himself, Keith Levene

Keith Levene - Eventful Slideshow
A mesmerising mix of sound and images (many of Keith).

Public Image Limited - Paris in the Spring Album Cover
John Lydon's artwork adorns the PiL live album of 1980, 'Paris au Printemps/Paris in the Spring'. PiL members as doggies (?). Keith is on the right, John on the left, and Jeannette Lee, who was involved with PiL on several artistic levels, is the figure represented at the top. Jeannette was also the girl on the cover of the 'Flowers of Romance' album, and she went on to co-manage Rough Trade and manage Duffy.

KeITh LeVEnE-Related Videos

Keith Levene - Killer In The Crowd
A solo Keith classic.

Keith Levene guitaring on Mark Stewart's Stereotype - ft. Factory Floor (Official Video)
Can't get the "ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ahs" out of my head, but it's Keith's guitar that drives the whole song.

Metal Box In Dub - Understand Dub. Jah Wobble & Keith Levene
Conjures up PiL flashbacks. I haven't had enough of useless memories actually...

Public Image Limited - Poptones (Old Grey Whistle Test, February 5th, 1980)
The classic PiL line-up, with Johnny in my dear ol' Mum's red coat by the looks of things...

Keith Levene, Jah Wobble & Julie Campbell - Tightrope (Official Video 2011)
Excellent tune, with Keith also showing his dancing skills.

Jon Downes chats to Keith Levene on the balcony at 'The Flyover' in Ladbroke Grove. Funny, entertaining and informative!
Mick Farren Memorial Gig, November 14th, 2013.

A Very British Coup - a post-punk supergroup! Keith Levene, Jah Wobble, Richard Dudanski, Mark Stewart and Youth.


This website is designed by