Keith Levene, a founding member of The Clash and Public Image Ltd, has died in Norfolk, U.K. He was 65.
Levene’s former Public Image Ltd bandmates Martin Atkins and Jah Wobble announced his death through social media on Saturday, November 12. Levene passed away following a battle with liver cancer.
“A sad time to learn of the passing of guitar giant Keith Levene,” Atkins wrote on Twitter. “We had our ups and downs that had mellowed over time. My respect for his unique talent never will.”
“RIP KEITH LEVENE,” Wobble said.
Levene was born and raised in London, and although initially influenced by progressive rock his musical taste changed after meeting fellow Clash founder Mick Jones.
As a teenager, Levene was a roadie for Yes. He teamed up with guitarist Jones in the mid-1970s to form an early version of the Clash. Along with the band’s manager Bernard Rhodes, Levene convinced Joe Strummer to join the group. Levene departed before the act started recording but co-wrote the song “What’s My Name,” which appears on the Clash’s 1977 debut album.
After leaving the Clash, Levene briefly formed the band the Flowers of Romance with Sid Vicious, who later left to join the Sex Pistols.
After the Sex Pistols disbanded, Levene and their lead singer John Lydon co-founded Public Image Ltd (PiL). He was involved in the writing, performing and producing of PiL’s early albums: First Issue, Metal Box and Flowers of Romance.
(Photo: Michael Johnson)
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