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Lene Lovich

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Lene Lovich (born 30 March 1949) is an American singer of English descent based in England, who first gained attention as part of the New Wave music scene of the late 1970s and early 1980s. Her most popular hit single was "Lucky Number", first released in 1978.


Early years [edit]Edit

Lovich was born Lili-Marlene Premilovich in Detroit, Michigan, to an English mother and a Serbian father. After her father had health problems, her mother took her and her three siblings to live in Hull, England. Lovich was 13 years old at the time. She met the guitarist/songwriter Les Chappell when they were teenagers, and he became her longtime collaborator and life partner. In autumn 1968, they went to London to attend art school. It was there that Lovich first tied her hair into the plaits that later became a visual trademark, though at first she did it to keep her hair out of the clay when studying sculpture.

Over the following decade, Lovich attended several art schools, busked around the London Underground and appeared in cabaret clubs as an "Oriental" dancer. She also travelled to Spain, where she visited Salvador Dalí in his home. She played acoustic rock music 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, and played saxophone for Bob Flag's Balloon and Banana Band and for an all-girl cabaret trio, The Sensations. She recorded screams for horror films, wrote lyrics for French disco star Cerrone (including the sci-fi dance smash "Supernature", later recorded by Lovich herself) and worked with various fringe theatre groups. She was also one of thousands of audience members invited to sing along at the 1972 Lanchester Arts Festival at the Locarno Ballroom in Coventry when Chuck Berry recorded "My Ding-a-Ling" for Chess Records.

1975-1986 [edit]Edit

In 1975, Lovich joined The Diversions, a funk group that put out five singles and an album on Polydor Records, without success. In 1976 she released a 7" 3-track "maxi-single" in the UK under her own name, aimed at the Christmas market: "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus/The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas To You)/Happy Christmas" (Polydor 2058 812).

In 1977, Lovich, along with recording engineer Alain Wisniak, provided lyrics for "Supernature", a song featuring music composed by French percussionist and disco music performer Cerrone. The song, with its surreal lyrics describing a world in which nature has risen to fight against desecration and destruction by humanity, is indicative of Lovich's interest in animal rights issues.

In 1978, disc jockey and author Charlie Gillett presented her recording of "I Think We're Alone Now", a cover version of a song originally performed by Tommy James and the Shondells, to Stiff Records boss, Dave Robinson. Robinson immediately proposed to release it as a single on Stiff, for which Lovich and Chappell had to write and record a B-side at short notice. They came up with "Lucky Number", which was then released as an A-side and became a Top 3 hit in the UK.

Invited by Robinson to participate in the forthcoming Be Stiff Route 78 Tour in 1978, Lovich quickly recorded her first album for Stiff, Stateless, which contained "Lucky Number" and another Top 20 hit, "Say When". Lovich's musical style combined her own quirky inventions with contemporary punk rock and new wave styles. She then recorded the albums Flex and No-Man's-Land for Stiff over the next few years, as well as an EP titled New Toy, the title cut penned by touring band member Thomas Dolby. She also recorded vocals for "Picnic Boy" by The Residents as "Sandy Sandwich".

Lovich co-wrote with Chappell and Chris Judge Smith and performed Mata Hari, a play/musical at the Lyric Hammersmith, London, October/November 1982. During this time she was having disputes with Stiff. The success of the show and pressure from Epic, her US label, persuaded Stiff to release and promote No Man's Land. Following her departure from Stiff, Lovich released "Don't Kill The Animals," a single with Nina Hagen, with whom she had previously appeared in Cha Cha, a film that also starred Herman Brood; together, the three created the film's soundtrack.

1989 album [edit]Edit

In 1989, after an absence of several years due to raising a family, she recorded the album March on Pathfinder Records. It was only moderately successful and was not released until nearly a year after the album's single "Wonderland" had been issued and had become an American dance hit. She also toured the US three times immediately before, during and shortly after the release of March, giving US fans their only glimpse of her for many years to come. All three tours culminated with benefit concerts for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Her tours supporting March were done with a semi-full band, featuring the electronic duo Tanz Waffen as her backup band in addition to herself and longtime partner Chappell.

Lovich contributed to the opera The Fall of the House of Usher (1991) by Peter Hammill and Judge Smith, singing the part of Madeline Usher.

Present day [edit]Edit

In 2005 Lene Lovich appeared on Hawkwind's Take Me to Your Leader CD, as well as appearing occasionally on stage with them. Lovich's first album since March, entitled Shadows and Dust, received a limited release on the Stereo Society label on 13 September 2005. She played for the first time in many years with a full band at the Drop Dead Festival in 2006.

In 2007, MVD Visual released Lene Lovich: Live from New York, a DVD featuring a performance Lovich gave at Studio 54 in 1981. In late 2007, both Lovich and Chappell produced a new edge recording of their hit "Lucky Number". The version was performed by rock group Eastroad, and was used by the BBC for its coverage of the 2008 World Snooker Championship.

In 2011, Lovich sang the part of Eurydice in the songstory Orfeas by Judge Smith.

In 2012, Lovich began performing with a new band comprising Subterraneans frontman Jude Rawlins on guitar, bassist Lydia Fischer, keyboard player Kirsten Morrison, and Morgan King on drums. The band made their live debut at London's famous 12 Bar Club on 29 October that year. The band headlined the Drop Dead Festival in Berlin on 4 November, and was the 5th act to be announced for Rebellion Festival 2013.

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