Features / Retrospective

Retrospective | Poly Styrene

So I suppose by now everyone has heard the tragic news of Poly Styrene’s death. Poly Styrene was the lead singer in critically acclaimed punk band X-Ray Spex. Poly died after the breast cancer she was battling spread to her spine. Although her battle with cancer was announced a few months ago no-one could have guessed how advanced it was since Poly was promoted her latest album, Generation Indigo, from her hospital bed.

Poly cut a striking figure in the late 70s punk scene. Her look, attitude and approach to music as a mixed-race, braces wearing was worlds apart from her contemporaries and she will forever be remembered for her opening line to her most famous song “some people think little girls should be seen and not heard but I think…”

Without Poly it would be difficult to think how today’s music scene would be as her influence can be seen in the vocal stylings of everyone from Beth Ditto, Karen O, Kathleen Hanna and Corin Tucker.

Although X-Ray Spex only ever released one album, Germ Free Adolescents, they still are thought of as one of the stand out bands from the punk era due to Poly’s modern lyrics which tackled issues consumerism, environmentalism and identity. Poly Styrene really was one in a million and will be truly missed.


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