BOW WOW WOW

Made famous by their still-going-strong cover of ‘I Want Candy’, the ‘80s new wave band BOW WOW WOW has seen members come and go, and most recently influenced Sofia Coppola’s 2006 feature film ‘Marie Antoinette’. So let’s see how the band went from remaking pop culture to influencing it with some Bow Wow Wow facts…

– Bow Wow Wow was a New Wave band formed in 1980 and managed by former Sex Pistols manager, Malcolm McLaren.

– Group members included Annabella Lwin (vocals), Leigh Gorman (bass), Matthew Ashman (guitar) and Dave Barbarossa (drums).

– McLaren persuaded Ashman, Gorman and Barbarossa to leave Adam Ant of Adam & The Ants to form a new band.

– Manager McLaren came up with the name “Bow Wow Wow” as a tribute to Nipper the Dog, HMV Ltd.’s mascot. (HMV is a subsidiary label of Bow Wow Wow’s then label, EMI).

– Lead singer Annabella Lwin was discovered at the age of 14 while she was working at her local dry cleaning shop. She was singing along to a Stevie Wonder song on the radio.

– In 1982 Lwin’s mother alleged exploitation of a minor for immoral purposes and instigated a Scotland Yard investigation.

– As a result, the band was only allowed to leave England after McLaren promised not to promote Lwin as a "sex kitten."

– The band scored two UK Top 10 hits with “Go Wild in the Country” and “I Want Candy” (a cover of the 1965 Srangeloves hit) before disbanding in 1983.

– In 1983, Lwin quit the group for a solo career and the remaining band members renamed themselves the Chiefs of Relief.

– A second singer by the name of Lieutenant Lush performed with the band soon before it broke up. While Lush never recorded with Bow Wow Wow, he found stardom under the name Boy George.

– Bow Wow Wow has been accused of plagiarising melodies from Zulu jive and pop songs.

-Bow Wow Wow’s recording of "I Want Candy" continues to appear in film soundtracks and media and advertising events such as the 2005 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.

– The band’s most notorious recording was "Sexy Eiffel Towers," an ode to masturbation.

– The group released three full-length albums before going their separate ways in 1983.

– In 1995, guitarist Ashman died at age 35 from complications caused by diabetes.

– Since his time in Bow Wow Wow, Barbarossa has worked on other musical projects such as Beats International, Live with Adam Ant in 1995, Republica, dance band Chicane, the London-based ‘Faith’ music collective and Amber Gate.

– Barbarossa also wrote a novel entitled “We Were Looking Up."

– Gorman continued to perform and has had success as a record producer and composer for films and advertising.

– Bow Wow Wow resurfaced in 1998 with Wild in the U.S.A., which featured remixes and concert performances from the reunion tour. Lwin and Gorman headed the comeback while Dave Calhoun (guitar) and Eshan Khadaroo (drums) replaced Ashman and Barbarossa.

– Bow Wow Wow’s song “A Thousand Tears” made it into the 1999 film Desperate but Not Serious starring Christine Taylor and Claudia Schiffer.

– Bow Wow Wow has many famous admirers including Anthony Kiedis of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, who included the line, "Swimming in the sound of Bow Wow Wow" in the song “Suck My Kiss.”

– On September 20, 2003 Bow Wow Wow, reformed again, performed as part of KROQ’s 25th Anniversary celebration. This time with Los Angeles guitarist Phil Gough and No Doubt drummer Adrian Young (who grew up idolizing the Bow Wow Wows).

– The new band then maintained a touring schedule through to 2006.

– In September 2005, Philadelphia, PA native Devin Beaman was brought in as the new drummer.

– In June 2006, Bow Wow Wow recorded a cover of The Smiths’ song "I Started Something" for a proposed Smiths tribute record. The full-length recording, the first new recording released under the name Bow Wow Wow in over 20 years, was made available on iTunes on January 1, 2007.

– Bow Wow Wow played their most recent show on November 2, 2006 at the Maritime Hotel’s Hiro Lounge in New York City to promote the inclusion of their music on the soundtrack of the Sofia Coppola film Marie Antoinette.

– According to Bow Wow Wow’s manager in 2006, "They actually based Marie Antoinette, from a styling point of view, on Annabella Lwin.”

– Bow Wow Wow has been on indefinite hiatus since 2006 but played London Scala in November 2010 for the Matthew Ashman tribute show.

Victoria Rubino

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