Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Remembering Poly Styrene

Marianne Joan Elliott-Said died yesterday at age 53 of breast cancer.
I might never have heard of her, if she hadn't taken the stage name POLY STYRENE and led the pioneering British punk rock band X-RAY SPEX to a certain kind of glory.

Their glory was the success of creating a song that never really leaves the recesses of my musical memory: "THE DAY THE WORLD TURNED DAY-GLO."

Another X-Ray Spex classic, "OH BONDAGE, UP YOURS," was one of the first punk songs I recall hearing. It featured an atrociously squawking saxophone played by Lora Logic (Susan Whitby) and was brilliant.

I hadn't heard enough avant-garde jazz or experimental dub reggae to catch all of the influences combining in X-Ray Spex.

I also couldn't see into the future, so I couldn't know what an influence Poly and the band would have on the RIOT GRRRL mob of feminist punk rockers.

Now, I can appreciate the musical history made by Poly, and it makes her death that much more difficult to take.