In my post about Rockets the other day, I mentioned the Italian TV program Stryx. Here’s some more bizarro music performance clips from the show, in its own particular late 70s batshit/fierce style. They really don’t make ‘em like this anymore! According to Wikipedia:
Stryx thematically referred to Hell, devils and underworld. The scenography featured elements resembling Middle Ages-like gloomy castles and caves… The show caused many controversies in more conservative societies, mainly because of its devilish theme and referring to underworld as well as exposing nudity. Due to numerous protests the show was taken off the broadcast and the production of following episodes was cancelled.
So in these videos, all of which are worth watching, we get two huge gay disco icons in the one clip (Amanda Lear & Grace Jones), Patty Pravo giving Gaga a run for her Illuminati wage packet, Mia Martini getting burnt at the stake in a fabulous glittery dress, and some more of those amazing Rockets. My favourite clip is Gal Costa performing “Relance” - it’s quite subdued for Stryx (apart from the dozen or so extras who are lying still at the front of the stage) but is carried by Costa’s no bullshit performance and the incredible gypsy funk of the track itself. But first let’s start with Grace and Amanda:
Grace Jones (introduced by Amanda Lear) - Fame
After the jump, more Grace Jones, Amanda Lear, Patty Pravo, Gal Costa, Mia Martini and Rockets…
Model, painter, disco diva and the absolute fiercest of the pioneering transsexuals (along with Candy Darling), Amanda Learwas born Alain Tap in Saigon, 1939. Or it could have been Paris. Or Hong Kong. The year might have been 1941, 1945 or as she now claims 1948. There is much competing information about her parents, none of it conclusive. In general, not much is known for sure about the early life of Amanda Lear and she would like to keep it that way. She claims to have been educated in Switzerland and she eventually made her way to Paris in 1959, taking the stage name Peki d’Oslo, performing as a stripper at the notorious drag bar, Le Carrousel.
The story goes that the gangly, yet exotic Eurasian beauty Peki had a nose job and sex change in Casablanca paid for by Salvador Dali, who frequented Le Carrousel, in 1963. Amanda, as she is now known, then makes her way to London to become a part of the swinging Chelsea set where she is rumored to have had a relationship with Rolling Stone, Brian Jones. She models for Yves St. Laurent and Paco Rabanne and is a constant muse for the Divine Dali, but her career is held back by rumors that she was born a man.
Roxy Music front man Bryan Ferry sees Lear on the runway during an Ossie Clarke fashion show and invites her to be the model for Roxy’s For Your Pleasure album cover walking a black panther on a leash. They had a fling and that image has become iconic. Lear also has a yearlong affair with David Bowie who sings Sorrow to her in his 1980 Floor Show (broadcast here on the Midnight Special in 1974). Bowie helped Lear launch her musical career and by the late 70s she had become a best selling disco singer and television personality in Europe with hits like Queen of Chinatown and I Am a Photograph. She collaborated with Eurodisco duo La Bionda (who Tara is nuts about and has posted here about them)
Her autobiography, My Life With Dali came out in 1985 and it begins when she would have been approximately 24 or 25 years of age. No mention is made of her life before arriving in London in 1965. When Dali biographer Ian Gibson confronted her on camera about the gender of her birth, Lear angrily—and not at all convincingly—stonewalled him. She has always vehemently denied that she was a transsexual despite it being a well-established fact. She even posed nude for Playboy and sunbathed naked on beaches to dispel the rumors. All this really proved was that she had a kickin’ bod!
Amanda Lear still looks amazing and continues to perform She has a thriving side career as a painter.
Modeling in the 60s with Patti Boyd Harrison and Karianne Muller (later a Roxy Music cover girl herself):