Former Sex Pistol John Lydon, once known as Johnny Rotten, has surprised many with his bid to represent Ireland at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest.
Public Image Ltd have announced their bid to sing for the country with the ballad Hawaii which is dedicated to Lydon’s wife Nora who has Alzheimer’s.
Lydon said of the song: “It is dedicated to everyone going through tough times on the journey of life, with the person they care for the most.
“It’s also a message of hope that ultimately love conquers all.”
Lydon was the lead singer of the late-1970s punk band the Sex Pistols from 1975 until 1978, later fronting the band for various revivals during the 1990s and 2000s.
It was in 1978 and in the wake of his acrimonious split from the Pistols that Lydon formed Public Image Ltd.
Lydon’s parents John Christopher and Eileen Lydia were both Irish. His father, who was a crane driver, was from Tuam, Co Galway and his mother was from Carrigrohane, Co Cork.
Lydon (66) grew up in Finsbury Park where the family were squashed into a two bedroom house during the 1960s and 1970s.
He wrote of his Irish upbringing in his 1994 memoir No Blacks, No Dogs, No Irish and the 2014 follow-up Anger is an Energy.
He also wrote of the pain of being regarded as Irish in London, but English when he went to Ireland.
Lydon travels on an Irish passport.
Ireland’s Eurovision head of delegation Michael Kiely said it was not the first time Lydon had applied to represent Ireland. He submitted a song to RTÉ five years ago but that was after Ryan O’Shaughnessy had been chosen as the Irish entrant in 2018.
Lydon and Public Image Ltd will take on five other acts in the national final that takes place on a special Late Late Show on Friday 3 February, where the winner will be chosen by a combination of national jury, international jury, and public vote.
Lydon will have tough competition from London-based Irish band Wild Youth who have toured with the likes of Niall Horan, Lewis Capaldi and The Script.
They have entered their song We Are One.
Also bidding for a chance to represent Ireland are ADGY with the song Too Good For Your Love, Connolly with the song Midnight Summer Night, Leila Jane with Wild and K Muni & ND (Kofi Appiah and Nevlonne Dampare) who will performed their self-penned track Down in the Rain.
The winner will represent Ireland at the 67th Eurovision Song Contest in Liverpool in May. The UK is hosting the song contest on behalf of Ukraine which won last year’s contest.