Monday, April 22, 2013

She was only Human on the inside.... R.I.P Christina Amphlett

                                             "Human on the Inside"

Was sad to see that Divinyls lead singer Christina Amphlett succumbed to cancer. I had read she had MS a few years ago. She was a true "rock star" and an 80's icon.

It's a shame that most only remember for one song, that seems like a bit of a novelty hit. The Divinyls had better songs than that.
Guitarist Mark McEntee was Chrissy's main collaborator and partner for the duration of the group's life and they were in a relationship for at least some of that time.

I think I became aware of her and the Divinyls back in 1983. 
"Boys in Town" was their single. Kinda punky but melodic.

I think I saw them on the syndicated concert show "Rock n Roll Tonite"


  Chrissy seemed crazy, dangerous, damaged! I wasn't sure about the sexy part and I wasn't quite sold on her or the band yet..
  The lyrics did seem like they could be autobiographical...

In 1985 they released "What a Life". The first single was "Pleasure and Pain", written by noted songwriters Holly Knight and Mike Chapman (record company pressure for a hit?).
 Chrissy had changed her look a bit and was going for a more sexy image, emphasizing her, ahem, attributes more..

Hey sex (and sensuality) sells and it Worked on me! 
She reminded me of some hot girls I knew that I was intimidated by. lol.

                                                          "Sleeping Beauty"

                                             "good Die Young"

Still having trouble cracking the US market, Chrysalis Records gave it one more shot with 1988's "Temperamental", still probably the band's strongest release.  
Chrissy again, played up the sexpot angle; dangerous, dirty, but she always had some hints of vunerabilty..

                                                            "Back to the Wall"



                                                "Better days"

                                                             "dance of Love"

                     The record didn't do much in the States and it could have been the end for the band but a new record label gave them a shot for 1991's self titled release.

Chrissy and McEntee streamlined the band and used studio musicians to accompany them including Chrissy's future husband Charley Drayton, who had played with Keith Richards and Neil Young, and Randy "Dawg" Jackson on bass. (Yes, that Randy Jackson from American Idol who tries to act like he is Mr R&B. He was a rocker..).

With the help of professional songwriters Billy Steinberg and Tom Kelly, the band had a huge hit with the overly-obvious "I Touch Myself". Chrissy was going for the fullon sex image now..

The masses always like something that stands out like this song. I think it became an albatross though even to this day as the headlines say "singer of "I Touch Myself" dead at 53"...Reducing them to a one-hit wonder in many eyes...

    The album did have some of that Divinyls rock n roll fire. Sort of Stones -meet- Chrissie Hynde -meet the Kinks -sound.

                                                             "Make Out Alright"

                   This success didn't seem to be enough to hang on to a US label, as they never released another full album in the US.
In 1995 they were able to get a track on the "Melrose Place" soundtrack. (Again with the help of Steinberg and Kelly)

                                          "I'm Jealous"

In 1996 they released "Underworld" , but not in the US market.

It also had some strong songs including "Human" (later covered by the Pretenders)
                     "Heart of Steel"

as well as the rocker  "Hard on Me"

after that, the band would reunite occasionally. 

Amphlett married Drayton in 1999.

Again, if you were a fan of edgy new wave rock n roll and liked frontwoman with a real appeal and presence, today was a big loss for the rock world... She was one of Rock's great 'vamps" and I mean that in the best way...

Sympathies to Chrissy's family and friends. And thanks for the music....

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