Friday, November 27, 2009

4" Be 2"

4" Be 2"
4 Be 2 · (Active: 1970's —1980's)

Styles: Post-Punk
Formed: 1979 London, England
Active: 1970's—1980's
Biography by Andy Kellman, All Music Guide

He didn't achieve the fame that his older brother John enjoyed, but Jimmy Lydon was part of his own group for a short period during the late '70s and early '80s, 4 Be 2. Like the early releases of his brother's second major band, Public Image Ltd., 4 Be 2's sound featured art-damaged, dub-influenced post-punk. With revolving door assistance from Graham Wheeland, bassist Martin "Youth" Glover (Killing Joke), guitarists Dreary O'Hoodlum and Jock McDonald (who doubled as the group's manager), and drummers Paddy O'Reilly and Paul "Youngie" Young, 4 Be 2 released a trio of singles, debuting on Island in September of 1979 with One of the Lads. The Frustration single followed in July of 1980 and added backing vocals from Keren Woodward and Sarah Dallin, two future members of Bananarama. Though the sleeves for the singles credit John Lydon with production, Jimmy swore (nudge nudge) that it was his father -- not his brother -- that did the knob twiddling. The singer opted to leave the group in March of 1981 and the group celebrated the fact with the All of Lads 12," which was issued on Shamrock. After that, the group continued briefly with Jimmy's adolescent brother, Martin, as the vocalist. Back to the top Members of 4 Be 2 Artist Instrument Born Dreary O'Hoodlum, Graham Wheeland, Jimmy Lydon, Jock McDonald, Paddy O'Reilly & Paul "Youngie" Young

Before we start, John had NO real involvement in any of these 4"Be 2" records, but lets explain… We're only mentioning them in this discography as a way of warning people who don't know better...
4"Be 2" were formed by John's brother Jimmy Lydon along with Jock McDonald (real name O'Donnell); and featured a whole host of Lydon family & associates, including Youth from Killing Joke. John's other brother Martin sometimes appeared with them; as did a certain John "Rambo" Stevens... The band's name was taken from an Irish nickname for a plank of wood, and not rhyming slang. Honest.
The 4" Be 2" claimed John Lydon produced most of their material. However, as far as we know his only involvement, apart from socialising, was to possibly produce their first two singles. Though he later denied working with them at all! Claiming it was just a Jock McDonald cash in... Probably the most infamous John Lydon / 4"Be 2" "collaboration" is the trip to Dublin in 1980, where John ended up in Mountjoy Prison after being beaten up by a barman.
By Autumn 1981 the 4"Be 2" broke up and Jimmy retired into marriage, the rest of the band – with McDonald on vocals – had already released two 12"singles in 1980 and 1981 under the name The Bollock Brothers. Many of the Bollock Brothers (and related) releases had a habit of stating that "J. Lydon", appeared on, or produced them. However, this easily could have been Jimmy and not John Lydon.
Be warned! Various other Bollock Brothers / 4" Be 2" records have been released under a variety of names. Despite what they say about John Lydon's involvement, basically, it's just a scam, avoid them all (except the dub version of 'One of the Lads' which is actually not a bad record).

7" ONE OF THE LADS / UMMBABA (p/s) - ISLAND WIP6530 - (8/79)
12": ONE OF THE LADS (Dub Version) / ONE OF THE LADS / UMMBABA (p/s) - ISLAND WIP6530 - (11/79)
(Credited as "Produced by John Lydon")
Debut single by the 4" Be 2". John Lydon allegedly produces both tracks.
Bass guitar by Youth Martin of Killing Joke. Sleeve concept and photography by Dennis Morris.

7": FRUSTRATION / CAN'T EXPLAIN (p/s) - WEA K18290 - (7/80)
(Credited as "Produced by John Lydon")
Second single by the band. 'Frustration' was allegedly produced by John Lydon, who is pictured on the sleeve under the name "Pig Youth". He also gets a co-writing credit on the A-side under the same name. Music press reports from the time claim that he also played bass on the B-side. However, it seems very unlikely, and rumour has it he actually fell asleep during the recording!
A 'Dub Version' of the track also appeared on the 1986 'Lydon & O'Donnell Family Album' (MBC JOCKLP5)

(Credited as "Produced by John Lydon")
Last 12" single from the band, now on their own label. John Lydon allegedly mixed and produced the two songs on the B-side.
Martin Lydon's address is printed on the cover for T-shirts and info ("for T-shirts or info on the 4"Be 2"s write to Martin Lydon...").

(Features; One Of The Lads (Dub Version)' / Frustration (Dub Version) / Jimmy Jones / Bitch)
Jock McDonald compilation album featuring all the alleged John Lydon / 4" Be 2" releases. The remainder of the album features Bollock Brothers tracks.

BOOTLEG LP: D WING - UD 6533 - (?/81)
'Hot Wacks' lists this Japanese bootleg (by the same label who released PiL's 'Sci-Fi' album). Apparently it features studio recordings almost certainly recorded in mid 1980 when the band recorded the 'Frustration' single. Therefor it's possible it features John Lydon in some shape or form; possible...

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