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Siouxsie & the Banshees

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Siouxsie and the Banshees were originally formed in order to fill an empty space on the bill at the first 'international punk rock festival' organised by Malcolm McLaren at the 100 Club in London's Oxford Street on September 20th, 1976. For this auspicious event their line up consisted of Bromley Contingent members Siouxsie (real name Susan Dallion), Steve Severin (aka Steve Spunker/Havoc), Marco Pirroni (later of Adam and the Ants and Rema Rema[?]) and Sid Vicious (real name John Simon Ritchie), later of the Sex Pistols, on drums. On this occasion their set consisted of a lengthy and chaotic unrehearsed improvisation of "The Lords Prayer", which also included lines from songs like "Knocking On Heavens Door[?]", "Smoke On The Water[?]" and "Twist And Shout[?]". "God it was awful" and "excruciating!" were two eye-witness accounts of their performance. This was not a unanimous view, however. A recording of the piece which circulates, though of poorish quality, demonstrates that the group gave a performance which commanded and repaid attention.

Siouxsie courted much controversy in the early days due to her dress, often wearing 'bondage' clothes and fetish wear. She was also heavily critisised for wearing swastika armbands, although always maintained that this was intended to be for 'shock value' rather than any form of display of political sympathies.

The infamous 'Bill Grundy' incident, which led to notoriety for the Sex Pistols in December 1976, was sparked when TV presenter Grundy attempted to 'chat up' Siouxsie on prime time TV, as can be heard on this clip [1 (http://www.punk77.co.uk/audio/billgrundy.wav)].

By February 1977 the Banshees were taking themselves seriously as a musical unit. They recruited Kenny Morris and John McKay to their line up, which was by now gigging regularly and had attracted a solid fan base. It was not until 1978 that they finally obtained a record contract with Polydor Records, where upon they released their first single "Hong Kong Garden", shortly afterwards followed by the album The Scream.

Their second album, Join Hands, was released in 1979, and included a lengthy version of the aforementioned "Lords Prayer" track.

(Can somebody bring the story more up to date from hereon in, something more substantial than the following would be nice...)

While probably best known by the mainstream for songs like "Kiss them For Me", Siouxsie and the Banshees has done everything from punk (in the 70s) to goth to new wave. How to classify this band depends on what era/song/album one is talking about.

See Gothic rock, Nocturne



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