Rise (Public Image Ltd song)

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PiL Rise.jpg
Single by Public Image Ltd
from the album Album
B-side"Rise (Instrumental)"
ReleasedJanuary 21, 1986 (UK)
GenreAlternative rock
Length6:05 (album version)
4:27 (7" edit)
LabelVirgin VS 841
Songwriter(s)John Lydon, Bill Laswell
Producer(s)John Lydon, Bill Laswell
Public Image Ltd singles chronology
"Bad Life"
Alternative cover
12" cover
12" cover

"Rise" is a single released by post-punk group Public Image Ltd in 1986. It was the first single from Album, their fifth studio album.

The song was written by John Lydon and Bill Laswell about apartheid in South Africa, specifically about Nelson Mandela as Lydon stated in a 2013 Glastonbury interview.[1] Lydon also referred to alleged Royal Ulster Constabulary interrogation techniques, such as electric torture, in an MTV interview in 1987.[2] It was one of the group's biggest commercial hits, peaking at #11 on the UK Singles Chart. The song contains the phrase 'may the road rise with you', which is a direct translation of the old Irish blessing "go n-éirí an bóthar leat" (usually translated as "may the road rise up to meet you"). The phrase "anger is an energy" became the title of Lydon's 2014 autobiography.


Contributors on the song include Steve Vai on guitar, Tony Williams on drums, Bill Laswell on fretless bass, and L. Shankar on violin.[citation needed]

Tom Doyle of Sound on Sound said: "[Sound engineer Jason Cosaro] ...set Williams up at the bottom of The Power Station’s elevator shaft, both close- and distance-miking the kit to create the distinctive drum sound on "Rise" in particular: Shure SM58 on the snare, Sennheiser MD 421s on the toms and Neumann U47 FETs for the ambience." Bill Laswell recalled: “Myself and [guitarist] Nicky [Skopelitis] played in the control room... and everything was a first take. We were using the Fairlight computer as a kind of click track, and on the piece that became "Rise", Tony dropped a beat and we went back and dropped in this one beat. Otherwise I thought it was cool to be able to say everything was a first take."[3]


"Rise" was featured in the films The Rules of Attraction, The Promotion, and Remarkable Power. It was also played during credits of the seventh episode of the second season of 13 Reasons Why.

Liam Howlett of The Prodigy included it on his instalment of the Back to Mine mix album series.

Cover versions[edit]

The song was covered by:


When it was performed on Top of the Pops, Lydon was accompanied by Don Letts, Kevin Armstrong, Hugo Burnham amongst others.

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1986) Peak
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[4] 35
Ireland (IRMA)[5] 10
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[6] 29
UK Singles (OCC)[7] 11


  1. ^ Video on YouTube
  2. ^ Video on YouTube
  3. ^ "CLASSIC TRACKS: Public Image Ltd 'Rise'". www.soundonsound.com. Retrieved 13 June 2019.
  4. ^ "Public Image Ltd. – Rise" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 20 September 2014.
  5. ^ "The Irish Charts – All there is to know". Irishcharts.ie. Retrieved 20 September 2014.
  6. ^ "Public Image Ltd. – Rise". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved 20 September 2014.
  7. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 20 September 2014.