Public Image Ltd. went up against five other acts on a special edition of RTE’s The Late Late Show for the right to represent Ireland at Eurovision in Liverpool this May. (Although John Lydon was born in England, his parents were from Ireland, so the band competed for the right to represent the Emerald Isle.) Ultimately, the band came in fourth place, so they will not be competing in the tournament.
Public Image Ltd. were not the world’s most likely Eurovision contestants: dubby post-punk pioneers 45 years into their career, fronted by the erstwhile Johnny Rotten, making a run at the ultra-cheesy televised music contest that gave us Måneskin and an absurd Will Ferrell parody film that only sort of felt like parody. Nor was “Hawaii,” PiL’s first song in eight years, your average Eurovision Song Contest entry. Rather than a lowest-common-denominator cheese fest, it’s a devastating textured ballad about Lydon’s wife’s descent into Alzheimer’s.
Watch the performance below.