“So help me get better because I haven’t been my best, she took a plain black marker started writing on my chest, she drew a line across the middle of my broken heart, and said come on now let’s fix this mess, we can get better, because we’re not dead yet”
Joan Elliot-Said (b. July 3, 1957) or better known as Poly Styrene was
the leader of the British punk rock band, X-Ray Spex. Poly Styrene was
born in Bromley, England to a Scottish-Irish mother, who raised her
alone, and a Somali father. After running away from home and gaining
inspiration from seeing a Sex Pistols concert, Styrene decided to form
her own punk band and so was the creation of X-Ray Spex in 1976. She
soon became the public face of the band and with her braces, fashion,
and heritage, she refused to be boxed into the conventional image of a
punk rock front person. Poly Styrene was firmly against the 70′s archetype of female rock artists as sex symbols and stated that “If
anybody tried to make me one (a sex symbol) I’d shave my head tomorrow”.
Her punk feminist attitude led to songs such as “Oh Bondage, Up
Yours!”, a song that became an anthem for the riot-grrl movement that
spoke out on consumerism and materialists. X-Ray Spex debut album
“Germfree Adolescents” follows this attitude as well. Poly Styrene left
X-Ray Spex in 1979 and released her album “Translucence” in 1980. Sadly,
she died on April 25, 2011 from breast cancer and is survived by her daughter Celeste Bell-Dos Santos.
On this day in music history: May 3, 1982 - “After The Snow”, the second studio album by Modern English is released. Produced by Hugh Jones and Modern English, it is recorded at Rockfield Studios in Monmouth, Wales, UK in Early 1982. The second release by the British post punk/new wave band is issued the UK by influential indie label 4AD Records, and is picked up for US release by Warner Bros distributed Sire Records. The album gains the band a foothold in the US charts when the video for “I Melt With You” (#18 UK, #78 US Pop) receives significant play on MTV, increasing in popularity when it is included in the film “Valley Girl” in 1983. Despite its low chart position and the band’s “one hit wonder” status, it is later regarded as a cornerstone of 80’s pop music. Modern English re-record the song in 1990 when they sign with TVT Records (#76 Pop), even recording it again for a third time in 2010 for the Mark Pellington directed film of the same name. “Melt” goes on to be featured in television commercials, and has been covered by several other artists including Jason Mraz, Good Riddance, Bowling For Soup and Sugarcult. Out of print on vinyl since 1989, it is reissued in a limited edition of 1,000 copies by Drastic Plastic Records in 2016, on standard black and white vinyl. “After The Snow” peaks at number thirteen on the UK album chart, number seventy eight on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.