Keith Levene, who founded bands such as the Clash and Public Image Ltd in the 1970s and 1980s, has passed away this week. In the time of his sad passing, let’s be positive and celebrate his passing by reviewing the milestones he reached in his lifetime.
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Keith Levene’s Early Life
Born Julian Keith Levene-he went by his middle name, Keith in the spotlight-he came into the world on July 18, 1957, in Muswell Hill in London, United Kingdom. At age 15, he started his progressive rock career early by being a roadie for the band Yes’s “Close to the Edge” tour. What started as a teenager living the roadie life in 1972 transformed into him forming many different bands starting at age 19.
Keith Levene’s Music Career
Levene founded a short-lived English band called the Clash. In the same year 1976 that the band was formed, it was dismantled. Despite the setback, Levene was able to persuade Joe Strummer to end his alliance with the band 101ers to become a member of the Clash. When Levene left the Clash, he already had one song that he co-wrote that was on their first released album called “What’s My Name?”.
Then, the next band he founded called Public Image Ltd stayed together longer from 1978 to 1983. The English post-punk band involved members including the singer,
Keith Levene also played in bands including The Flowers of Romance and Cowboys International. The Flowers of Romance formed the same year as the Clash and ended its formation in 1977. Band members included Keith Levene, Palmolive, Jo Faull, Kenny Morris, Sarah Hall, Sid Vicious, Viv Albertine, Steve Walsh, Steven Spittle, and Marco Pirroni.
Cowboys International was originally known as the Quick Spurts with Levene and colleague Ken Lockie beginning the synthpop and new wave band in 1979. They were active for one year and then reunited from 2003 to the present.
Even after the many bands he created and dismantled, he continued to be a special guest on other English bands’ albums and contribute to modern English rock. He had solo records released on the “Killer in the Crowd” EP a year after appearing as a special guest on Pigface’s album, “Easy Listening” in 2003.
As he continued in his musical career even in the early 2010s, he started investing his money into cryptocurrency and Bitcoin to get a possible return on his career earnings. His investments helped him to do his last two albums which were self-released titles including “Search 4 Absolute Zero” in 2013 and “Commercial Zone” in 2014.
Over his life, he released five studio albums, six extended plays, and two hit singles. The two hit singles were “If Six Was 9” in 1988 and “Stille Im Meine Hamburg/Clothesline” in 1990.
Keith Levene’s Death
Keith Levene died peacefully in his home in Norfolk on November 11, 2022. He was battling complications with liver cancer. However, he lived a full life of 65 years and developed a successful musical career where he revolutionized English rock for future musicians in the United Kingdom and the rest of the world aspiring to become a rockstar.
For a gentleman who broke barriers in English rock, Keith Levene is hailed as a legend of the musical world in the United Kingdom. May his soul rest in peace and his legacy be remembered by his family, friends, and fans forever!