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New Wave Band:

Lene Lovich

by New Wave Dave


Cross new wave sensibility with semi-Gothic campiness and you get another of my faves, the fascinating (and underrated) song stylist Lene Lovich. Born in the USA, raised in England, she brought new global consciousness to the possibilities of new wave artistry.

At age 13, Lili-Marlene Premilovich moved from Detroit to Hull, England. She later attended art school in London. In her late 20s, after trying a variety of artistic endeavors, she finally devoted herself to music. Her first single as a solo artist, in 1978, was "I Think We're Alone Now" — a cover of a Tommy James and the Shondells hit. She co-wrote the B side, "Lucky Number," which climbed as high as #3 on the UK charts.

That same year, those early successes led to her first album, Stateless, which contained both of those tracks and a host of other songs that showcased her quirkily impassioned vocals. Most of the numbers are uptempo ("Home," "Telepathy," "One in a 1,000,000," etc.), but she also has an idiosyncratic style on slower ballads such as "Too Tender to Touch." If you haven't heard this album, be ready for a quickly unforgettable mix of catchy rhythms and Lene Lovich's unique voice.

Her next album, Flex, arrived the next year; though not as well known now, it actually reached a higher position on the UK charts (#19). However, her next enduring single was the title track of a 1981 six-song EP, New Toy. Written by Thomas Dolby (famous for his smash hit "She Blinded Me With Science"), this track provided an ideal setting for Lene's quavering New Wave singing. (The repeated lyric "I want a new toy" preceded Huey Lewis's declaration "I Want a New Drug" by two years.)

Later albums failed to earn as much attention, and Lene took time off to raise a family. She still records and [rarely] performs live, but her career has reached a point where it can be encapsulated by greatest-hits collections. The latest is 2004's Lucky Number (don't let the cover picture scare you off!).

Not one of the biggest New Wave names, Lene Lovich is still one of the most fascinating, thanks to her unique style and catchy melodies. Check her out!