Steve Strange, the driving force behind the Blitz club scene, began his musical career by forming a punk band called the Moors Murderers with a song titled Free Hindley. Not at all controversial!
He hailed from Caerphilly in Wales and after a Sex Pistols gig in his home town, embraced punk. Absorbing the shock ethos of punk rock, Steve Strange formed a band called The Moors Murderers. Could you even imagine that now?
Add to that their first single was “Free Hindley” in reference to Myra Hindley who murdered five children in the 1960s with her boyfriend Ian Brady. Hindley was a grim icon in Britain. Something that vocalist Chrissie Hynde, later to form The Pretenders, didn’t fully grasp being an American.
Truthfully, I was unaware of this single at the time but we all knew the 1978 Sex Pistols single that referenced Hindley and Brady with convicted train robber Ronnie Biggs on vocals. Wasn’t really a high point for the Sex Pistols and Johnny Rotten had wisely departed by then.
The Moors Murderers didn’t last. But it did allow Steve Strange to make a ripple in London and form the right connections. After another band called The Photons, he went to create Visage with Rusty Egan and Midge Ure. Out of that came the classic single Fade To Grey.
Bands aside, Steve Strange’s main claim to fame was being the boss of Blitz, the Covent Garden club for New Romantics. I have to say that even though I possessed all the right clobber and was a reasonably good looking teenager – I never attempted to get into Blitz. It was famous for its fascistic door policy, even turning away Mick Jagger on one occasion.
He was heavily associated with the Camden Palace club after it opened. In 1983, I went that year with my Liverpool buddy the late Austin Muscatelli and a good time had by all – even if we couldn’t find a night bus and ended up sleeping on Hampstead Heath. Oh, happy memories.
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Mr Strange was interviewed that year and said he’d been offered a part in a new musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber that involved going round on roller skates – Starlight Express?? Anyway, Steve was too busy for that.
He then said he’d been offered a TV film part for a version of My Fair Lady where a Malcolm McLaren type would spot him on the streets, take him to the top of the Post Office Tower (now the BT Tower) and show him London. “One day, this will all be yours.”
I’m trying to decide whether it’s a shame or a relief that film was never made. Still, he’d come a long way from starting out with the Moors Murderers!