Tuesday, August 12, 2008
08.12.08: LENE LOVICH
One of the more offbeat and memorable figures in new wave, Lene Lovich certainly drew much of her widely varied approach from her unconventional early experiences. Born of a Yugoslavian father and British mother, she spent much of her childhood in Detroit, MI. At age 13, she moved to Hull, England, with her mother. She ran away to London shortly thereafter, where she worked several odd jobs ranging from bingo caller to go-go dancer to street busker. Around this time, she developed an interest in art and theater, enrolling at the Central School of Art. She took up the saxophone and, after a brief stint in a soul-funk band (with future collaborator Les Chappell), Lovich wrote a string of songs for French disco star Cerrone. In 1978, Stiff Records signed her after hearing her first recording, a remake of "I Think We're Alone Now." She quickly became one of Stiff's brightest stars, headlining package tours and earning several U.K. hits over the next three years with the unforgettable "Lucky Number," "Say When," "Bird Song," and "New Toy." After an eight-year absence, she returned in 1990 with "March".
Since Lene Lovich burst onto the scene with her 1979 hit single "Lucky Number," ushering in the New Wave era, her life has been defined by an unyielding commitment to the arts and activism. She starred in the French television film Rock, costarred (with Nina Hagen and Herman Brood) in the motion picture Cha-Cha, and co-wrote and played the lead in the London stage play Mata Hari. She co-wrote the score to the short film Alpha Girls, and also wrote the libretto for the opera The Collector, and recorded Peter Hammill and Judge Smith's opera Fall of the House of Usher. She recorded and toured in support of the fundraising single "Don't Kill The Animals" with German star Nina Hagen. The Stereo Society, the on-line label founded in 1999 by celebrated producer Mike Thorne (Wire, Bronski Beat, John Cale) released Lene's greatly anticipated album in 2005: "Shadows and Dust"
Lene Lovich's impact on pop music can hardly be understated. The influence of her arty, flamboyant new wave persona, assertive, banshee-howl-inflected vocals, and idiosyncratic songwriting style can be seen clearly in countless female artists, from peers like Siouxsie Sioux and Grace Jones, to those who have followed in her footsteps: Bjork, PJ Harvey, Gwen Stefani, and Karen O. In her absence, it is impossible to conceive of the modern landscape of alternative female pop artists. Lene has carved out a unique niche in the world, always while doggedly pursuing her own muse, her own passions.