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Punk Legend Poly Styrene Dead at 53

X Ray Spex frontwoman had breast and spinal cancer

April 26, 2011 8:30 AM ET
Punk Legend Poly Styrene Dead at 53
Roberta Bayley/Redferns/Getty Images

Poly Styrene, the frontwoman for the classic punk rock band X Ray Spex, has died at the age of 53. Styrene, whose real name was Marianne Elliot-Said, had been battling both breast and spinal cancer.

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Inspired by an early Sex Pistols gig, Styrene formed the X Ray Spex when she was 18. The band went on to record a string of five singles – including the enduring punk anthem "Oh Bondage Up Yours!" – and one highly influential full-length album, Germ Free Adolescents, before breaking up in 1979. The band briefly reunited in 1995 for an unsuccessful second album titled Conscious Consumer.

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Outside of X Ray Spex, Styrene released a small handful of solo recordings inspired by her Hare Krishna faith, including her relatively mellow debut Translucence in 1980 and a New Age album titled Flower Aeroplane in 2004. Her final album, the hard rocking Generation Indigo, was released last month.

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