Poly Styrene

Poly Styrene

British singer, musician and composer
Date of Birth: 03.07.1957
Country: Great Britain

  1. Biography of Poly Styrene
  2. Early Life
  3. Rise to Fame
  4. Personal Challenges and Solo Career
  5. Later Years and Legacy

Biography of Poly Styrene

Poly Styrene, born Marianne Joan Elliott-Said on July 3, 1957, in Bromley, Kent, was a British singer, musician, and composer. She is best known as a member of the pioneering punk rock band 'X-Ray Spex'.

Poly Styrene

Early Life

Poly Styrene grew up in Brixton, London, and was raised by her Scottish-Irish legal secretary mother. Her father, a Somali aristocrat, left her and her mother when she was young. During her teenage years, the free-spirited Poly transformed into a "barefoot hippie." At the age of 15, she left home with only £3 in her pocket and hitchhiked from one music festival to another. After stepping on a rusty nail while bathing in a river and contracting a blood infection, Poly decided to end her adventures.

Poly Styrene

Rise to Fame

On her birthday, July 3, 1976, Poly attended a concert by the band 'Sex Pistols' in an almost empty venue. Deeply impressed, she formed her own punk band called 'X-Ray Spex' by placing an advertisement for band members. Prior to this, the rebellious Poly had already released a reggae single called 'Silly Billy'/'What A Way' and recorded her first demo at the age of 16 with producer Ted Bunting. With the birth of 'X-Ray Spex', Marianne transformed into Poly Styrene, who was later hailed by 'Billboard' magazine as the "archetype of modern feminist punk."

Poly Styrene

Personal Challenges and Solo Career

The manager of 'X-Ray Spex' believed that adding another girl to the lineup would be beneficial, so saxophonist Lora Logic, then a 16-year-old teenager, joined the band. However, due to pressure from her parents, Logic left the group before their debut album was released, and her place was taken by Rudy Thompson. In 1978, after a concert in Doncaster, Styrene suddenly saw pink lights in the sky. She also had a constant sensation of objects cracking when she touched them. Believing it to be a hallucination, she was taken to the hospital by her mother, where she was misdiagnosed with schizophrenia and told she would never perform again. Stepping away from the public eye, Styrene realized that her private life was benefiting her. This led to the disappearance of 'X-Ray Spex'.

Poly Styrene

In 1991, Poly was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. After the original lineup of 'X-Ray Spex' disbanded, Styrene released the solo album 'Translucence' in 1980. The album departed from the loud guitars of 'X-Ray Spex' in favor of a calmer and more jazzy sound, which later became the signature style of the dance group 'Everything But the Girl'. In 1996, she released the EP 'God's & Goddesses' on the 'Awesome' label, and her new-age album 'Flower Aeroplane' was presented in 2004. In 1983, Styrene became involved with the 'Hare Krishna' movement and embraced Gaudiya Vaishnavism. Until 1988, she lived in Hertfordshire and London as a devout Krishna devotee.

Later Years and Legacy

In February 2011, Styrene publicly announced that she was undergoing treatment for breast cancer. She also revealed that her faith helped her find solace during her illness. On October 29, 2010, the NME website announced the upcoming release of Poly Styrene's new solo album, 'Generation Indigo', produced by Martin Glover. The album was scheduled for release in March 2011. Her single 'Black Christmas', featuring her daughter Celeste, was available for free download in November 2010. The song 'Black Christmas' was inspired by the true story of a killer dressed as Santa Claus who wreaked havoc in Los Angeles.

Two months before her death, Styrene spoke to 'Sunday Times' about her life, primarily focusing on her relationship with Celeste. She also revealed that her breast cancer had metastasized to her spine and lungs. Styrene passed away on April 25, 2011, at the age of 54.