Lili-Marlene Premilovich, better known as Lene Lovich, is a true New Wave pioneer and musical treasure. An artist on the legendary Stiff Records label, Lovich blended her extensive art and dance training with Slavic shtick and New Wave inventivness to create a unique body of work. Quite simply, nobody else has a voice like hers.
Born in Detroit, expatriated to Hull, England when she was thirteen, Before signing to Stiff, Lovich rubbed shoulders with such random and diverse people as Salvador Dali, Arthur Brown, and French disco star, Cerrone. Her first appearance on record may have been as an audience member on Chuck Berry’s sing-along live recording of “My Ding-A-Ling.”
It was when Lovich started releasing music made with her musical and life partner, Les Chappell, that ears perked up around the world. With a five-octave range and a voice that could range from delicate and operatic to bombastic and powerful, Lovich made a huge mark on the outsider music scene.
It’s been ten years since her last new CD (my review of Shadows and Dust, written for the Gazz.com’s now-defunct “New Sounds” blog has been reprinted by her record label HERE), but she has formed a new touring band and will be playing festivals in the UK in 2016. She’s also formed a new label to reissue her back catalog. You can learn more about that at her website and on her Bandcamp page. The above concert was recorded at Studio 54 in 1981, and features an embryonic Thomas Dolby as one of her keyboardists.