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Public Image Ltd. almost did the soundtrack to Raging Bull

Photo: Shinko Music/Getty Images

According to original Public Image, Ltd bassist Jah Wobble, PiL (as the cool kids know them) were in the running to score Martin Scorsese’s 1980 boxing film Raging Bull. “We [John Lydon and I] ended up sitting in a penthouse apartment with Scorsese,” explains Wobble in his 2010 autobiography, Memoirs Of A Geezer: Music, Life, Mayhem. Scorsese was apparently in the audience at PiL’s first New York show at the Palladium in April of 1980 and dug the band. “Because of the combination of my first-ever jet lag, speed comedown, booze and general tour weirdness, I was very spaced out (I think I must have had a puff as well). My memory is a bit hazy.”

Wobble goes on to detail the evening describing Scorsese as “a cat on a hot tin roof, he just couldn’t’ sit still.” According to the bassist, Scorsese was “jabbering away like crazy,” even looking out to the window of the penthouse at the crowd on Broadway and reciting Orson Welles’ speech from The Third Man.

“Basically, Scorsese did a performance,” says Wobble. “I certainly wasn’t disappointed with Scorsese, he more than lived up to any expectations that I had. I dimly remember Raging Bull being discussed, the storyline and all that. I don’t think they showed us scenes from the film or anything. I vaguely remember thinking that they weren’t really serious. Anyway, we never did the soundtrack for Raging Bull.


Robbie Robertson of The Band wound up assisting Scorsese in putting together Raging Bull’s soundtrack. Consisting mostly of tunes from crooners such as Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra as well as instrumental tracks from the likes of Gene Krupa And His Orchestra, the soundtrack featured songs that Scorsese remembered from his days growing up in Queens. Scorsese and editor Thelma Schoonmaker selected the main theme, “Intermezzo” from Cavalleria rusticana by Italian composer Pietro Mascagni. The soundtrack would not receive an official release until 2005 due to issues obtaining the rights to the songs.

PiL’s Metal Box and Album will be getting the super deluxe treatment from Universal Music this December. The band also announced a run of UK and European tour dates this November.

November 15—Salisbury, City Hall—United Kingdom
November 16—Leamington Spa, The Assembly—United Kingdom
November 18—Birmingham, O2 Institute—United Kingdom
November 19—Leicester, O2 Academy—United Kingdom
November 20—Sinner’s Day Festival, Hasselt—Belgium

[via Dangerous Minds]


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