Saturday, February 24, 2018

X-Ray Spex and Poly Styrene (1957 – 2011)

Marianne Joan Elliott-Said was born in 1957 in Bromley, Kent. Daughter of single parent she was brought by her mother. She ran away from home when she was 15 and lived as a hippie travelling from one music festival to another. Attracted to making music she released reggae single "Silly Billy" as Mari Elliot on GTO Records in 1976.

The record failed to attract much attention. After seeing the Sex Pistols, Marie was inspired to form the punk band. She put an ad in the paper for ‘young punx who want to stick it together’ to form a band. The X-Ray Spex was born.

Initially, the band featured singer, Poly Styrene (aka Marie), Jak Airport (aka Jack Stafford on guitars), Paul Dean (bass), Paul 'B. P.' Hurding (drums), and Lora Logic (aka Susan Whitby) on saxophone. Poly had an unorthodox appearance and wore thick braces on her teeth and sported a gaudy Dayglo wardrobe. The band proved the epitome of punk and their first single, "Oh Bondage, Up Yours!" (1977), is now acknowledged as classic punk rock and the album, Germ Free Adolescents, is widely acclaimed as one of the greatest albums of all time.

Despite her distinctive saxophone Lora Logic left the band in 1977 to form Essential Logic.

She was replaced initially by Glyn John, then Rudi Thompson (aka Steve Rudi). In the same year X-Ray Spex undertook a punishing tour of the UK by the end of which Poly Styrene left the band. Her health was at risk and she was later diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Poly continued to perform as a solo artist and released, Translucence, (1980).

The album was quieter than her previous works and contained a more jazz influence. She was initiated into the Hare Krishna movement and recorded at their recording studios while living as a devotee in the Bhaktivedanta Manor. Without Poly Styrene, X-Ray Spex lost momentum and split up. She continued to record and perform including and briefly working with a reformed X-Ray Spex in the 90s. Poly Styrene died on 25 April 2011 after battling breast cancer.

Worth a list
Oh Bondage Up Yours! (1977)
The Day The World Turned Day-Glo (1978)
Germ Free Adolescents (1978)

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