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Poly Styrene

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Poly Styrene
Poly Styrene cropped.png
Background information
Birth nameMarianne Joan Elliott-Said
Born3 July 1957
Bromley, Kent, England
Died25 April 2011(2011-04-25) (aged 53)
Sussex, England
GenresPunk, rock, New Wave, dub
Occupation(s)Vocalist, songwriter
Years active1976–2011
LabelsUniversal, EMI/Virgin, Future Noise Music
Associated actsX-Ray Spex

Poly Styrene (3 July 1957 – 25 April 2011),[1][2] was a British musician. She was best known as the singer in the early punk rock band X-Ray Spex.

Early life

She was born in 1957 in Bromley, Kent, and raised in Brixton, London.[3] Her mother raised her alone.[4] Her father was a Somali aristocrat.[5][6] She ran away from home as a teenager and lived in empty houses.[4] She saw the Sex Pistols perform on her birthday in 1975.[7] That gave her the idea to start her own punk band X-Ray Spex. She was an unusual music start because she wore braces, was mixed race, and dressed differently.[8]

Personal life

Poly Styrene's real name was Marianne Joan Elliott-Said. She lived in St Leonards, East Sussex.[5] She joined the Hare Krishna movement in 1983.[9]

In 1991, Poly Styrene was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.[3] She had breast cancer which metastasised to her spine. She died of breast cancer on 25 April 2011 at the age of 53.[1][2][10]

List of solo recordings



  • Gods & Goddesses (Awesome, 1986)


  • "Silly Billy"/"What A Way"—as Mari Elliot (GTO, 1976)
  • "Talk In Toytown"/"Sub Tropical" (United Artists, 1980)
  • "City Of Christmas Ghosts"—Goldblade featuring Poly Styrene (Damaged Goods, 2008)
  • "Black Christmas" (2010)[12]
  • "Virtual Boyfriend" (2011)[13]
  • "Ghoulish" (2011)


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Punk icon Poly Styrene dies at 53". BBC News. 26 April 2011. Retrieved 26 April 2011. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Poly Styrene dies, aged 53, Digital Spy, 26 April 2011
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Poly Styrene". 26 April 2011. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 "The return of punk's first lady". The Independent 21 November 2008
  5. 5.0 5.1 Philby, Charlotte (April 19, 2008). My secret life: Poly Styrene, Singer, 51. London. Retrieved April 26, 2011. 
  6. Abbene, Jillian (2008). on the record with Poly Styrene. Retrieved April 26, 2011. 
  7. "x-ray spex official site/diary3". 
  8. "Poly Styrene Music News & Info". Retrieved 26 April 2011. 
  9. "When 'gay' Boy George was rejected to be part of Hare Krishna movement". 27 July 2009. Retrieved 26 April 2011. 
  10. "X-Ray Spex's Poly Styrene dies of cancer". New Musical Express. Retrieved 26 April 2011. 
  11. "x-ray spex official site - poly's solo activity". 
  12. X-Ray Spex Poly Styrene to release solo album. October 29, 2010. Retrieved April 26, 2011. 
  13. "Poly Styrene Takes Aim at Technology's Failings in 'Virtual Boyfriend' Video". Spinner UK. 9 February 2011. Retrieved 26 April 2011. 

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