Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Poly Styrene, X-Ray Spex Singer, Dead at 53

One of the first British punk bands I listened to back in the day. Poly Styrene, RIP.

At New York Times, "Poly Styrene, Punk Singer of X-Ray Spex, Is Dead at 53":

Marianne Elliot-Said, who as Poly Styrene, the pioneering, braces-wearing frontwoman of the 1970s British band X-Ray Spex, made a place for feminine brashness in punk, died on Monday in East Sussex, England. She was 53.

Her death was reported on her Web site, and confirmed by her manager. She had been treated for cancer at a hospice in East Sussex, near her home in St. Leonards-on-Sea, in the south of England.

Ms. Said (pronounced sah-EED), the daughter of a Somali father and a British mother, who raised her alone, began performing as a free-spirited teenager, leaving home at 15 and ending up in London, where she studied to be an opera singer, said her manager, Shirin Koohyar. In 1976 she released a pop-reggae single under the name Mari Elliot on the GTO label.

But after stumbling upon an early performance by the Sex Pistols, she was inspired to place an ad in a British music magazine, searching for “young punx who want to stick it together.”

After a handful of rehearsals, the X-Ray Spex — whose early lineup included Jak Airport, Paul Dean, Rudi Thomson, BP Hurding and Lora Logic — quickly became fixtures on the 1977 London music scene. They performed in Chelsea and at the Roxy, the Covent Garden club that served as a punk incubator, adding a new instrument, the saxophone, to the chopping guitars and brazen lyrics of the genre.
More at the link above.