Punk singer Poly Styrene dies


This music video is called X Ray Spex – The day the world turned dayglo.

From the New Musical Express in Britain:

Poly Styrene, former singer with X-Ray Spex, has died of cancer aged 53.

The singer’s death was confirmed this morning (April 26) to NME by her UK spokesperson.

The punk icon, real name Marian Joan Elliott-Said, revealed that she was suffering from the illness in February this year.

X-Ray Spex formed in 1976 in London and released one studio album, 1978’s ‘Germ Free Adolescents‘. Poly went on to have a solo career and her latest solo album, ‘Generation Indigo’, was released on March 28 this year.

See also here.

I still fondly remember doing a fanzine interview with this singer of British-Somali ancestry, after X-Ray Spex had dissolved; an interview while she was washing dishes and I was drying them.

7 thoughts on “Punk singer Poly Styrene dies

  1. X-Ray Spex singer Poly Styrene dies at 53

    By JILL LAWLESS

    Associated Press

    LONDON (AP) — Poly Styrene, the braces-wearing singer who belted out “Oh bondage, up yours!” with the band X-Ray Spex, has died at the age of 53.

    Styrene, whose real name was Marion Elliott-Said, had been suffering from cancer.

    A statement on the singer’s official website and Twitter feed said Tuesday that “the beautiful Poly Styrene, who has been a true fighter, won her battle on Monday evening to go to higher places.”

    Boy George was among those paying tribute on Twitter, writing, “Oh bless you Poly you will be missed! Legend!”

    X-Ray Spex released just one album, 1978’s “Germ Free Adolescents.” But its aggressively catchy single “Oh Bondage, Up Yours!” became an enduring punk anthem.

    Styrene later said the song – a gleeful nonconformist shout-out – was inspired by the iconic bondage trousers designed by Vivienne Westwood.

    “Some people think that little girls should be seen and not heard,” Styrene sang – before letting everyone know exactly what she thought of that idea.

    Of British and Somali heritage, Styrene was born in 1957 in the London suburb of Bromley – a quiet corner backwater with a strong rock ‘n’ roll streak that was also the childhood home of David Bowie, Billy Idol and Siouxsie Sioux.

    As a teenager she released a reggae single before being inspired to form a punk band after seeing the Sex Pistols play in 1976. X-Ray Spex stood out from the punk crowd during its short career, both because of its female singer and for including a saxophone player in the lineup.

    Styrene’s attitude and energy inspired other female singers, and she was often cited as a precursor of the 1990s “riot grrrl” movement.

    She is survived by her daughter, Celeste Bell-Dos Santos, who fronts the band Debutant Disco.

    © 2011 The Associated Press.

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  2. Goodbye Poly Styrene and thanks for the good times, good music and great lyrics, which were nothing short of ahead of their time and are as apt today as ever. You may Rest in Peace.

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