PiL* ‎– Metal Box

Virgin ‎– METAL 1
3 × Vinyl, 12", 45 RPM, Album, Limited Edition
Box Set


A Albatross 10:32
B1 Memories 5:05
B2 Swan Lake 4:19
C1 Poptones 7:45
C2 Careering 4:32
D1 No Birds 4:43
D2 Graveyard 3:07
E1 The Suit 3:29
E2 Bad Baby 4:30
F Socialist/Chant/Radio 4 12:31

Companies, etc.



"Public Image Ltd...John Lydon.Keith Levene.Wobble.Jeannette Lee.Dave Crowe..." were the members of PIL at the time of the release. However, Jeannette Lee and Dave Crowe as non-musical band members are not featured on the record.

Packaged in a 12" film can-style metal box. Sides are labelled Metal 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 1.6 on the info sheet and Metal 1-A, Metal 1-B, Metal 1-C, Metal 1-D, Metal 1-E and Metal 1-F on the record labels.

Includes an A5 size sheet with tracklist and line-up.

Side B ends with a locked groove which repeats the last few seconds of "Swan Lake" endlessly until the needle is lifted from the record.
The Runout for 1.B has three lines for the letters "B", the middle of which is superimposed over an "A"

Edition of 50,000 copies (plus an extra 10,000 for export).

Barcode and Other Identifiers

  • Matrix / Runout (Side A runout, etched / stamped): METAL . 1 - A - 1 1 3 TY-CBS /\
  • Matrix / Runout (Side B runout, etched / stamped): METAL . 1 - BBB - 1 TY-CBS 0 /\
  • Matrix / Runout (Side C runout, etched): METAL - 1 - C - 2 tim-cbs
  • Matrix / Runout (Side D runout, etched / stamped): METAL - 1 - D - 1 2 0 TY-CBS /\
  • Matrix / Runout (Side E runout, etched / stamped): METAL - 1 - E - 1 TY-CBS D
  • Matrix / Runout (Side F runout, etched / stamped): METAL - 1 - F - 2 /\ tim-cbs
  • Barcode: none

Other Versions (5 of 53) View All

Cat# Artist Title (Format) Label Cat# Country Year
3288-2 Public Image Ltd.* Second Edition(CD, Album, RE, RP) Warner Bros. Records 3288-2 US Unknown Sell This Version
CDVDR 2512, 50999 0 70015 2 9 Public Image Ltd.* Second Edition(CD, Album, RE, RM) Virgin, Virgin CDVDR 2512, 50999 0 70015 2 9 Europe 2011 Sell This Version
2WX 3288 Public Image Limited Second Edition(2x12", TP) Warner Bros. Records 2WX 3288 US Unknown Sell This Version
CDVD 2512 Public Image Ltd.* Second Edition(CD, Album) Virgin CDVD 2512 UK 1986 Sell This Version
UICY-40155 PiL* Metal Box(CD, Album, Ltd, RE, min) Public Image Ltd. UICY-40155 Japan 2015 Sell This Version


Reviews Show All 18 Reviews

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March 13, 2017
Currently one listed on ebay UK if anyone is interested and cheaper than any discogs listing.
Description confirms first boxset tin with all contents included (not my auction)
Looks in great condition.


February 2, 2017
Anyone have trouble playing the locked groove on an automatic TT?


September 27, 2016
I'm glad I bought this when I had the chance!


August 1, 2016
edited 7 months ago
Has anyone tried to clean the metal box to remove evidence of oxidation? It seems they all have this problem. I don't want to make it worse so I am holding off for now.


July 20, 2016
I was approaching reaching the milestone of 1000 LPs after 25 years of collecting, and obviously was trying to decide on getting something classic, iconic and just excellent to fill that spot that I didn't already have.

I filled that slot today with this album after seeing both Jah Wobble and John Lydon live for the first time in May this year.

So glad I chose this!


July 6, 2015
The matrix numbers on my copy are different from what's listed above. Mine are: A-2, B-2, C-1, D-1, E-1, F-1. I got it in California in 1980, so maybe these are what was in the exported copies.


August 30, 2014
Did they really print 50.000 copies of this?


January 8, 2014
As soon as you put this on the turntable your head and mind are in for a massive head fuck!!!
Killer bass! Killer drums!! Aaaaaarrrrggghhhh
Only the lonely ....


October 14, 2013
edited over 2 years ago

Colour me musically naive, at the age of 45, but after reading about this album in Simon Reynolds' great post-punk history "Rip It Up and Start Again", I felt I had to get to hear it some time. One day I was in my local record emporium and realised I must be listening to PiL - the familiar whining drawl of John Lydon but combined with a raw dubby bass and drum beat. I asked the shop assistant and yes, a copy of "Second edition" was in the CD player. Knowing my predilection for vinyl, he said "we've got a Metal Box in the second-hand section", and since then I had my eye on it. An impromptu half-price sale day gave me the chance to pick up a bargain - less than 20 notes!. OK the tin is black, the vinyl's not mint and the insert is missing, but the raw energy of the music is not.

I don't think I could have liked this record in 1979. I was just 11, and although I was into pop by then, pop was the extent of it. Fortunately the charts were chock full with interesting stuff from the Police to M to Gary Numan, but I was pretty oblivious to anything not in the top 40, and punk had "happened" before my musical ears had opened, thus the avant-garde sound emanating from the likes of PiL would have been beyond me.
As Simon observes in his book, music moves so fast in ones youth, that one rarely pauses to turn back and revisit or review for anything missed. Thus it was for me and my tastes grew through electronic pop taking in soul, funk hip hop, electro and finally house and techno as the late 80s rave wave took over.

But now I'm old and have time to reflect - and it is amazing to listen back to the material coming out in the post-punk era - new wave and experimental music that was trying in ways far more radical than punk, just less noisily and in-your-face, to completely change the structure and nature of music. These same things were later achieved in different ways by Acid House and Techno, but to hear a band, playing instruments and singing, with fairly minimal post-produciton, and yet come up with a sound that is comparable on many levels to the weirdness of Acid House, or the space of techno is a real ear-opener to me. Hats off!


June 10, 2011

I did have two copies of this but my idiot brother decided to give one away to one of hid friends when I was abroad in the Army.