Tuesday, July 28, 2020

The Doyenne of the New Romantics

It's Perri Lister, of whom Billy Idol just posted. They had a 9-year romantic relationship.

From her Wiki page:
In 1978, she was a member of the dance troupe Hot Gossip, which performed on British television's The Kenny Everett Video Show. They were noted for their sexually suggestive costumes and risqué dance routines. Lister was one of the original Blitz Kids, a group of young, flamboyantly dressed people who patronised the elitist Covent Garden club night Blitz in the early 1980s, among whom were Boy George, Steve Strange, Spandau Ballet, and Marilyn. She appeared as a dancer in the 1980 film Can't Stop the Music and performed in the 1981 Visage music video for "Fade to Grey".

Lister began a relationship with rock singer Billy Idol in 1980, over whom she allegedly exerted a big influence. She sang the French lyrical backing vocal chorus, "Les yeux sans visage" on his 1984 hit single "Eyes Without a Face", and appeared in several of his music videos, including "White Wedding" in which she played the bride; "To Be a Lover", and she was the girl bound to a cross in the second video for his song "Hot in the City". Mademoiselle described Lister's sexy performance in the latter video as "sizzling".She danced topless in the 1982 Duran Duran video for the single release "The Chauffeur", and sang backing vocals for the band Visage, and August Darnell's band Kid Creole and The Coconuts.

She was a member of the short-lived pop music group Boomerang, which consisted of two former members of Kid Creole and The Coconuts: Adriana Kaegi and Cheryl Poirier. The group released an album titled Boomerang (1986) and a cover version of "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'".

By 1982, Lister had linked up with Billy Idol who had just released his first solo album, Billy Idol. She appears as the starring role in the goth-adjacent “White Wedding Pt 1” music video as the pirouetting bride (and is one of the dancers that smacks her own butt at the end). Additionally, Lister contributed backing vocals to Idol’s songs, including the infamous phrase les yeux sans visage on “Eyes Without a Face.” This allowed her to appear onstage with Idol during his television performances for the song, including Top of the Pops. Despite her accomplishments, her career took a backseat to Idol’s worldwide stardom and she regressed to “the girlfriend,” oftentimes belittled to a groupie. In photos, Idol and Lister complement each other, her with an array of hair styles and colors, a chic fashion sense that was never overshadowed by Idol’s tough leather and layers of rosaries.

However, the couple’s time together would soon be rife with controversy and infidelity. Idol was arrested alongside another woman during a drug bust in 1987, which prompted Lister to call a press conference to confirm that she was, in fact, still Idol’s girlfriend. This drama eclipsed her career and, despite their attempts to repair the relationship (and having Idol’s child in 1988), Lister separated from Idol soon after.

Lister attempted to reinvigorate her star power with the short-lived band, Boomerang, in 1986. Consisting of former backup singers from Kid Creole and the Coconuts—in which Lister was a member of in 1983 for the album Don’t Take My Coconuts—the trio covered the song “These Boots Were Made for Walking.”

As an actress, Lister made minor appearances in television and movies such as an episode of the spinoff show Freddy’s Nightmare in 1988 and in the 1990 noir film Bad Influence alongside James Spader and Rob Lowe. And, even though her experience and talents were vast, she never quite made it back into popularity. But her influence and legacy lives on, especially in some of the greatest music videos ever made to date. Lister is much more than Billy Idol’s ex-girlfriend—she is a New Romantic icon.