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Poly Styrene and X-Ray Spex (from "The Punk Years")

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Uploaded on Dec 3, 2006

X-Ray Spex featured singer Poly Styrene (born Marianne Elliot) on vocals, Jak Airport (Jack Stafford) on guitars, Paul Dean on bass, Paul 'B. P.' Hurding on drums, and Lora Logic (born Susan Whitby) on saxophone. This latter instrument was an atypical addition to the standard punk instrumental line-up, and became one of the group's most distinctive features.

X-Ray Spex's other distinctive musical element was Opera-trained Poly Styrene's voice, which has been variously described as "effervescently discordant" and "powerful enough to drill holes through sheet metal". As Mari Elliot, Poly had released a reggae single for GTO Records in 1976, "Silly Billy", which had not charted. Born in 1957 in Brixton, London, of Somali-English parentage, Poly Styrene became the group's public face, and remains one of the most memorable front-women to emerge from the punk movement. Not conventionally attractive, she wore braces on her teeth and once stated that "If anybody tried to make me a sex symbol I would shave my head tomorrow".

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