Poly Styrene, the energetic frontwoman for punk icons X-Ray Spex, has died after a battle with cancer. Styrene, whose real name was Marian Joan Elliott-Said, was best known for the song “Oh Bondage, Up Yours!” which was released in September 1977 and was followed by her only album with the band, Germ Free Adolescents.
Her tenure with X-Ray Spex was brief, but it made a huge impact across many different generations of musicians. As well as helping to inspire the original punk movement, Styrene made a considerable impact on the riot grrrl scene, and singers such as Kathleen Hanna undoubtedly looked to her for inspiration.
Despite undergoing treatment for breast cancer, Styrene had been active up until the end of her life, even giving an interview with the Guardian last month to promote her recent solo record, Generation Indigo. “It’s been a rollercoaster ride, but I wouldn’t change a thing,” she claimed when reflecting on her life in that interview. R.I.P. Poly Styrene.