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Lene Lovich

From Academic Kids

Lili-Marlene Premilovich, best-known Lene Lovich (March 30, 1949) is an American singer of Yugoslavian and British parentage.

Biography

Born in 'MOTOR CITY' Detroit, Michigan, USA – Suzi Quatro and Stevie Wonder were about the same age and growing up in Detroit at the same time – her father was mentally unstable and among other things kept threatening to move the family to Russia. When Lene was about 13 – in 1962 – her mother took the four children and fled to Hull, England. As a teenager Lene met up with long time soulmate/guitarist/co-songwriter Les Chappell. In the Autumn of 1968 Lene and Les went to London to attend art school. It was there that Lene first tied her hair into the plaits that later became her most famous visual trademark. She did it to keep her hair out of the clay when studying sculpture.

Over the following ten years or so the Lene attended several art schools, busked around the London Underground, appeared in cabaret clubs as an oriental dancer, went to Spain, and hung around Salvador Dalí's house until eventually she got to meet him. She played acoustic rock around London, sang in the mass choir of a show called "Quintessence" at the Royal Albert Hall, played a soldier in Arthur Brown's show, worked as a "go-go" dancer with the Radio One Roadshow, toured Italy with a West Indian soul band, played saxaphone for Bob Flags Baloon and Banana Band and for all girl cabaret trio The Sensations. She screamed for horror films, adapted lyrics for French disco star Cerrone (including the UK hit "Supernature" - ATLANTIC K11089 and LPs "Cerrone's Paradise" - ATLANTIC K50377 and "Cerrone IV" - S 83282) and worked with various fringe theatre groups. She was also one of thousands of people in the audience at the Lancaster Arts Festival when Chuck Berry recorded the risqué "My Ding-a-Ling" for Chess Records. As the audience was encouraged to sing-a-long technically this could be described as her first appearance on record. The record was a No. 1 hit in the UK and the US.

In 1975 Lene joined The Diversions, a funk group whom put out five singles and an album on Polydor Records without success. In 1978 disc jockey and author Charlie Gillett presented her to Stiff Records boss, Dave Robinson, who quickly signed her to a contract. Her first single for Stiff was I Think We're Alone Now, originally performed by Tommy James & The Shondells.

After participating, during summer 1978, at "Be Stiff Route 78 Tour" with other artists Stiff Records – Rachel Sweet, Eric Wreckless, Mickey Jupp e Jona Lewie – published her first album, Stateless, trained the singles Lucky number and Say when at the first place of british chart (10°), australian (2°) and in New-Zealand.

(following text to translate from Italian language; in Italy Lovich's most popular at the beginning 1980s)

In questo album e nei seguenti, la segue una propria backing band assai stabile, che la asseconda alla perfezione con una sonorità oscillante tra la forza selvaggia del punk, sperimentalismi elettronici alla Kraftwerk e una vena pop eccentrica e stralunata, unita ai suoi particolari vocalismi che ricordano molto da vicino Kate Bush e a un aspetto indubbiamente trasgressivo con abiti vistosi, di foggia variegata e trucco accentuato, che in seguito riprenderà in parte – e con maggiore successo – Cindy Lauper.

Nel 1979 si stabilisce in Olanda e recita nel ruolo da protagonista nel film Cha Cha diretto da Herbert Curiel insieme alla cantante tedesca Nina Hagen. La pellicola rappresenta un vero scossone nella scena underground di Amsterdam. Con la Hagen incide la colonna sonora e stabilisce un intenso rapporto professionale: l’artista tedesca omaggerà la Lovich incidendo una versione tedesca di Lucky number (Wir Leben immer noch) nel suo album Unbehagen, e più avanti, nel 1986, cantano insieme un brano contro il maltrattamento di animali, Don’t kill the animals, apparso su varie compilations.

Alla fine del 1979 esce il secondo album, Flex, di fattura più commerciale rispetto all’esordio, che vola in alto nelle charts britanniche, trascinato dai singoli Bird song e Angels e convince l’artista a imbarcarsi in un estenuante tour europeo e statunitense, che la impegna per tutta la stagione. Nel 1981 realizza un doppio EP con un altro successo, What Will I Do Without You (scritto con Chris Judge Smith, ex componente dei Van Der Graaf Generator) e quattro brani eseguiti dal vivo al Lyceum nel febbraio del 1980. Alla fine del 1981 realizza un altro fortunato singolo, New Toy, scritto in collaborazione col celebre Thomas Dolby, che la fa conoscere anche in Italia, dove entra nelle posizioni basse delle charts (alla 24°), e sbanca le classifiche statunitensi, giungendo fino al 3° posto.

No Man's Land (1982) è l’ultimo album che la Lovich realizza per la Stiff Records, con un suono più annacquato rispetto ai due memorabili lavori precedenti, nonostante una speciale partecipazione di Nina Hagen nel brano It’s you, only you (Mein Schmerz) e un altro buon successo, Blue Hotel.

Dovranno passare otto anni fino all’incisione di March (1989) scritto e prodotto negli Stati Uniti insieme a Les Chappell – diventato nel frattempo suo marito – dalla visione più tranquilla e raffinata. In seguito la Lovich farà parlare di se nel 1991 per la collaborazione con gli Erasure (Rage), e nel 1999, quando il duo beat dance elettronico di Manchester The Chemical Brothers la inviterà come guest-star nel brano Shape Shifter.

According to The Stereo Society http://www.stereosociety.com/body_lenelovich.html, "Lene's new CD is complete and will be released September 27, 2005. The lady is in action again."

Discography

Album

  1. Stateless (1978)
  2. Flex (1979)
  3. No Man's Land (1982)
  4. March (1989)
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