Poly Styrene, at age 53; singer for punk band X-Ray Spex

British singer Poly Styrene was photographed in London. British singer Poly Styrene was photographed in London. (Associated Press/File 1979)
By Jill Lawless
Associated Press / April 29, 2011

E-mail this article

Invalid E-mail address
Invalid E-mail address

Sending your article

Your article has been sent.

Text size +

LONDON — Poly Styrene, the braces-wearing singer with the band X-Ray Spex, has died at the age of 53.

Ms. Styrene, whose real name was Marion Elliott-Said, had been suffering from cancer.

A statement on the singer’s website and Twitter feed said that “the beautiful Poly Styrene, who has been a true fighter, won her battle on Monday evening to go to higher places.’’

Boy George was among those paying tribute on Twitter, writing, “Oh, bless you, Poly, you will be missed! Legend!’’

X-Ray Spex released just one album, 1978’s “Germ Free Adolescents.’’ But its aggressively catchy single “Oh Bondage, Up Yours!’’ became an enduring punk anthem.

Ms. Styrene later said the song, a gleeful nonconformist shout-out, was inspired by the iconic bondage trousers designed by Vivienne Westwood.

“Some people think that little girls should be seen and not heard,’’ Ms. Styrene sang, before letting everyone know exactly what she thought of that idea.

Of British and Somali heritage, Ms. Styrene was born in 1957 in the London suburb of Bromley, a quiet corner backwater with a strong rock ’n’ roll streak that was also the childhood home of David Bowie, Billy Idol, and Siouxsie Sioux.

As a teenager she released a reggae single before being inspired to form a punk band after seeing the Sex Pistols play in 1976. X-Ray Spex stood out because of its female singer and for including a saxophone player.