In Memory 2011:Poly Styrene

The Punk Rock singer Poly Styrene, who's real name was Marianne Joan Elliot-Said died April 26th 2011 from cancer of the spine and cancer of the breast. In the 1970s she was a punk icon.

In 1975 after being heavily influenced by the Sex Pistols, she went on to form her own band X- RAY SPEX, who only made five singles and one album, called "Germ Free Adolescents". The album was very well received and three hit singles made the top thirty from that album.

"The Day The World Turned Day-Glo", "Identity" and "Germ Free Adolescents".

In 1978 she became ill and had to stop performing, it was many years later she was diagnosed with Bi-polar.

Her groups very first hit was "Oh Bondage Up Yours" which although not a big chart hit, was played at clubs and released in a 12 inch format, and became an anthem for the group.

"Poly Styrene was a punk amongst punks. A groundbreaking presence that left an unrepeatable mark on the musical landscape, she made history the moment she uttered, "Some people think little girls should be seen and not heard but I think oh bondage up yours!" The influence of Poly and X-ray Spex has been felt far and wide ever since. Their landmark album Germ Free Adolescents is a landmark work and a primary influence on Britpop and Riot Grrrl. At the centre of it was PolyStyrene, a bi-racial feminist punk with the perfect voice to soundtrack rebellion. Poly never sacrificed the intelligence or the fun in her music and style. Her trademark braces and dayglo clothes were a playful rejection of the status quo and of conformity and complacency. She dissected gender politics, consumer culture, and the obsessions of modern life in a way that made us all want sing along with her.

At the core of Poly's work from Germ Free Adolescents through Generation Indigo, is a revolutionary with a genuine love for this world and the people and things in it. Her indomitable heart is all over the new material from her championing of cruelty free products ("I Luv Ur Sneakers") to giving voice to marginalized poor people worldwide ("No Rockefeller") to tackling racism ("Colour Blind"). Poly Styrene never stopped exciting us with her incisive world-view, amazing wit, and her adventurous sound. It is impossible to imagine what modern music would be like without her incalculable contributions but it's probably not worth imagining a world that never had Poly Styrene in it."

Here is an interview from in the 1970s with Poly.

1 comment:

  1. The day Poly died was the worst day of my life !


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I am one of those baby boomer's, who had the pleasure, and the FUN to grow up in the 1970s. The 70s music was so diverse, and the charts were for everyone from 8 to 80. That was when POP was fun, and the top forty really meant something as it was a shared experience. I have tried in this site to bring back the memories of the 70s, not just the pure pop, but also the heavy guys like Floyd and Black Sabbath. Everything had a place in the music of the 70s, and everything has a memory for one of us 1970s boomers.