From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
"World Destruction" is a 1984 musical composition by Time Zone, a band consisting of early rap star Afrika Bambaataa, ex-Sex Pistol/Public Image Ltd. leader John Lydon, and producer/bassist Bill Laswell.
The video clip also aurally and visually quoted Ronald Reagan's "We begin bombing in five minutes joke" and his 1984 presidential campaign where he comments on armageddon and mutual assured destruction:
- "the biblical prophecies of what would portend the coming of Armageddon and so forth, and the fact that a number of theologians for the last decade or more have believed that this was true, that the prophecies are coming together that portend that." ... "no one knows whether those prophecies mean that Armageddon is a thousand years away or day after tomorrow. So I have never seriously warned and said we must plan according to Armageddon."
The single was arranged by Laswell after Lydon and Bambaataa had acknowledged respect for each others work:
- Afrika Bambaataa: "I was talking to Bill Laswell saying I need somebody who's really crazy, man, and he thought of John Lydon. I knew he was perfect because I'd seen this movie that he'd made (Copkiller), I knew about all the Sex Pistols and Public Image stuff, so we got together and we did a smashing crazy version, and a version where he cussed the Queen something terrible, which was never released."
- John Lydon: "We went in, put a drum beat down on the machine and did the whole thing in about four-and-a-half hours. It was very, very quick."
Although the song was critically acclaimed, Bambaataa put the Time Zone project on hold while he worked on other projects. In 1992, Bambaataa revived the project with the single "Zulu War Chant" which was well-received among fans of old school hip hop. Time Zone released a handful of singles in the early-1990s which were compiled in the 1992 album Thy Will B Funk. In 1995, the band released another album titled Warlocks and Witches, Computer Chips, Microchips and You. The album featured contributions from George Clinton and his P-Funk Horns. But neither album sold well and Bambaataa retired Time Zone.
"World Destruction" was also featured in the first episode of the fourth season of The Sopranos, For All Debts Public and Private. The song plays at the beginning of the episode as Tony gets his newspaper and again during the closing credits.