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R.I.P. Poly Styrene (of X-Ray Spex)

on April 26, 2011, 8:38am

Poly Styrene, the former singer of acclaimed UK punk band X-Ray Spex, has died following a battle with breast cancer. She was 53.

Styrene, born Marian Joan Elliott-Said, revealed her diagnosis last February. Despite the news, Styrene carried on with the release of her latest solo LP, Generation Indigo, which is set to be released tomorrow, April 26th.

Described by Billboard as the “archetype for the modern-day feminist punk,” Styrene fronted X-Ray Spex from 1976 to 1979. The band’s debut, Germ Free Adolescents, was released in 1978 to critical acclaim. That same year, X-Ray Spex also played the Rock Against Racism concert in London’s Victoria Park alongside The Clash, The Ruts, Sham 69, and more.

X-Ray Spex reunited twice in the 1990s, including in 1995 for the release of their sophomore album, Conscious Consumer. In 2008, the group reunited once more, performing many of the tracks off Germ Free Adolescents at the Roundhouse in London. The concert was later released on CD/DVD.

Below, you can watch an excerpt from BBC’s 1978 documentary, Who Is Poly Styrene?, as well as video of X-Ray Spex performing “I Live Off You”.

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